Christopher Fahey
Since the beginning
Works in Brooklyn United States of America

Christopher Fahey has been making computer games and graphics since childhood, and he continues to experiment with new ideas in computer art and design. He is the creative force behind the online laboratories and Christopher is a founding partner of Behavior, a New York-based interaction design firm, where he serves as the Information Architecture practice lead. He has led many interactive productions as an art director, game designer, interface designer, and information architect. Christopher graduated from the Cooper Union School of Art in 1993 with a focus on interactive sculptures and installations, and has worked in the new media business ever since.
Discussions (91) Opportunities (0) Events (0) Jobs (0)

Re: FW: [dirGames-L] first Flash experience as Lingo programmer

It is totally frustrating that ActionScript is so damn slow. What was
the general response from the Dirgames-L list about *why* Flash is so
much slower than Director?

Personally, and I know I'm being quite superficial here, I find that
Lingo's esoteric syntax just looks stupid ("the milliseconds"?!?)
compared to the sensible, logical, and ECMA-262 standards-compliant
structure of ActionScript.


[christopher eli fahey]
art: <>
sci: <>
biz: <>

-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf
Of Jim Andrews
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 4:01 AM
To: List@Rhizome. Org
Subject: RHIZOME_RAW: FW: [dirGames-L] first Flash experience as Lingo

Thought I would forward the below email written by Marco Christis of the
Netherlands. It was originally sent to the Dirgames-L list, a Director
list. Very interesting and even quantitative comparison of the speed of
Actionscript versus Lingo.

I might add that the conclusion is not 'use Director rather than Flash'.
I find that using them both in the same project is advantageous. I make
my animations in Flash and then import the SWF into Director. Because
animations of Director text are slower than animations of Flash text.
And, also, the Flash animation drawing tools are far superior to the
Director animation drawing tools. If your project uses vector
animations, Flash is superior. But if your project needs a speedy coding
language, Actionscript is too slow. And if you want to manipulate
bitmaps, Director is in every way superior to Flash...there are other
factors to consider depending on the project...


-----Original Message-----
[]On Behalf Of Marco
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2003 10:19 AM
Subject: [dirGames-L] first Flash experience as Lingo programmer


I, as a fanatic Director user, could no longer resist the load of Flash
project offers so I accepted a small Flash assignment. For a mediate or
experienced programmer Action Script is pretty easy learn. So I
translated my Lingo Object Model to Action Script which wasn't too hard
because both languages are OO. And once you've get used to (or accepted)
to Action Script rule #1 ("Errors are non-existent during run time.")
you can call yourself a Flash scripter.
Next I translated my Lingo Physics Engine to Action Script. That also
wasn't too hard because I adopted my Flash Object Model from my Lingo
Object model. But just when I started to enjoy Action Scripting I run
into a (pretty shocking) limitation of Flash which is speed. I already
accepted that graphics in Flash were going to be slow but I didn't
expect the scripting language to be slow also. I couldn't believe what I
was seeing so I did a little test with pure math functions and it turned
out that Action script does the job 30 times slower than Lingo does!
(See the code of the speed test below.)
My Physics Engine is detached from the movie frame rate to make sure it
runs at a frequency that is high enough (at least 60 Hz) to create a
stable physics simulation. Resulting that the frame rate of the Flash
movie drops to less than 2 fps (in my P3 450 Hz). Flash and real-time
(time based) physics, you can forget it! What I've learned from this
project is that when you compare the speed of Lingo vs. the speed of
Flash that the outcome is a factor 50 difference! (slow Action Script +
slow vector graphics)

This means it takes 5 or 6 computer generations before we can do the
same thing in Flash that we can do in Director today. Knowing this I
know that it's only a rumor that Director is going to disappear soon.
People who claim that Director is going to disappear have never build a
high-end Flash application.

Though it leaves me with the question: "Why is Action Script so slow?".
They are both interpreted script languages AFAIK. Does somebody know how
what's causing the significant speed difference??


Speed test code in Lingo:

on startMovie
t1 = the milliseconds

repeat with i = 1 to 5000
a = sqrt(i)
b = atan(i)
c = cos(i)

end repeat

t2 = the milliseconds

put t2 - t1


-- 32

Speed test code in Action script:

this.onLoad = function(){

function init(){
var t1 = getTimer();

for (var i =1; i <= 5000; i++) {
var a = Math.sqrt(i);
var b = Math.atan(i);
var c = Math.cos(i);

var t2 = getTimer();
trace( (t2-t1) );



-= B l i x e m M e d i a =-

Design & Development of New Media
Specialized in Director Lingo

Marco Christis MA
Herengracht 141 III
1015 BH Amsterdam
The Netherlands


Re: another petition: PNG support

> I'll leave it up to you folks to decide for yourself of course, but
> to get true PNG support in Windows IE would seriously rock the house
> for anyone who develops visual things for web browsers for whatever
> reason.

Does Microsoft give any reasons *why* PNG is not supported? What exactly
are we fighting against? Is it simply a matter of their IE-for-windows
team being incompetant, or is it something more sinister like maybe MS
is developing a proprietary image format or something?


[christopher eli fahey]


Nintendo = Vanessa Beecroft

Remember the old days when Vanessa Beecroft's art was really
interesting? Nintendo does!


[christopher eli fahey]


Re: Re: Re: Mirapaul on Dietz Departure

> All previously commissioned works will, however, be
> available in full at an onsite, intranet terminal, situated
> permanently in the Walker's gift shop. The local terminal
> will thus be accessible during normal opening hours, from
> 9am-5pm Monday through Thursday and until 8 pm on
> special-event Fridays.

I know you're joking, but it made me wonder how often internet artworks
from the collections of such institutions are made available *at all* to
people who visit in person their brick-and-mortar facilities. They are
sometimes there for special events, or to mark the "opening" of the
work, but really there is little technical reason why the entire
permanent collection of the Walker's internet/digital artworks couldn't
be featured at a dedicated console in the museum at all times.

I'm not saying that the Walker *should* do this, or that the Whitney
*should* install an Artport terminal in the giftshop. I think it's kinda
cool that the new media divisions don't need to use even one square foot
of valuable museum real estate to show their entire collection.


[christopher eli fahey]


RE: RHIZOME_RARE: New Steps - at NY Digital Salon

Olia Lialina wrote:
> I wrote a message to salon and curators asking how it could
> happen that online works are represented without any link to
> them.
> Screenshots are easy and unpretentious. They can't destroy a
> curatorial concept. They won't bring technical complications.

Interesting thoughts in your email, Olia. It does seem pretty bizarre
that the Digital Salon curators explicity chose to NOT have links to
internet artworks. Your speculations on reasons were pretty right on,
and the curators' own reasons weren't entirely unreasonable either. I
can, however, think of two other reasons why they might have chosen to
use screenshots instead of links (I don't really agree with these
reasons, either):

1) Many of the artists in the exhibition don't have work on the
internet at all, and having links for some and not others runs the risk,
however unfair, of making the "unwired" artists look behind the times.

2) Sites often end up disappearring over time and they didn't want to
have broken links on their site during the exhibition (you spoke about
this a bit, too).

Reason (1) is a bit cynical on my part, but it might be at least a small
factor in the decision.

With regards to (2), I always thought it was cool that Rhizome took the
plunge and chose to include in their Artbase "linked art objects"
(web-based work where Rhizome has no control over the perpetual hosting
of the work). Other digital art curators do this all the time. It seems
to me that any curator who wishes to include web-based work in an
exhibition should assume the same risk that the person who created the
work did: to learn to live with and accept the potential ephemerality of
the work, and even to take some responsibility to keep the work alive
(assuming the work is not intentionally temporary). In the same way that
traditional-media artists and curators take a certain responsibility for
the handling and archiving of actual physical artworks, so should we
internet artists and curators be conscious of (and responsible for) the
fragility and availability of internet-based artworks. And what about
when links fail? As we say on the internet, c'est la vie.

> Step Two: "When Exhibition is over links will be reactivated"
> That is why the meaning of deactivating links is not identical
> to bringing an art object to a storage room.

I agree again. It seems to me that if one wants to be a digital art
curator, one has to either (a) offer to set up a permanent hosting
environment for the work and take on the job of maintaining the work in
perpetuity, or (b) accept the fact that many online artworks are
ephemeral objects (somewhat analogous to old-school performances or
site-specific works) and that if you want to include it in an exhibition
you have to accept all the potential for technical and logistical
failures inherent in linking to someone else's web site.

IMHO, (a) is better, although as an artist who works on the web, I am
willing to take responsibility for (b), too. Plenty of art institutions
do both (a) and (b) today. Not many curators just have screenshots.

The flip side of this coin is that we internet artists have to accept
the fact that real-world gallery exhibitions of our work, such as the
Digital Salon, are almost always going to compromise the nature of the
work... and that we are very likely to be disappointed by the effort.
The Digital Salon curators clearly, and somewhat understandably, see the
online component to the show as secondary to the real-world component,
in much the same way that any curator of painting or sculpture would
(this is ironic, of course, since much of the work is *meant* to be
displayed online and not in gallery spaces). But that's the price we
artists must pay if we want to be shown in more-exclusive, more
glamorous, and better-promoted real-world gallery spaces instead of in
the free-for-all world of the internet where all you have to do to
curate a show is put a bunch of cool links up on a web page (the

Part of me thinks, however, that The Digital Salon can be forgiven for
failing at (a) and (b) because, unlike or the (real) Whitney
or the Walker, etc, they are not (as far as I know) a brick-and-mortar
institution with "collections" and a budget for maintaining collections.

Boy this stuff is complicated.


[christopher eli fahey]