shapes
Nils Dougan dot com
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Essays

On the Critique of Art
One of the first things to recognize when attempting to critique a piece of art is that we are actually critiquing two things: the work itself as well as the artist that created it. This is critical to realize because there are two very different things to gain from the separate experiences.

On Fractals
One of the interesting things about fractals is that an absolute, agreed upon definition of them does not exist. There are similarities between them, for sure, but there always seems to be an exception, an example that falls outside of the standard that forces the term to be used more broadly while becoming more nuanced. This is fitting, in my opinion, because this dance between specificity and content, the refusal to be pinned down precisely, is exactly what fractals are about.

On Japan
Japan, like any country, has a complex and nuanced culture that contradicts itself as much as it coheres. It's layered and flows, only exposing itself in fits and bursts to someone like me, a visitor, a layman, a gaijin. I certainly wouldn't claim to be an expert on the things I attempt to talk about, but these are my experiences and thoughts.

Short Fiction

Beached
Adam was already at the boat by the time I came in view of the river; his foot prints in the snow turning from hastened steps into nothing more than crushed white powder from the circles he had walked around our little wooden vessel. He was shoveling with his hands, now bare to better reach under the boat and free it from land. His fingers were almost crimson, matching the dark red circles on his cheeks that spoke to how much longer he had been outside than me. I removed one of my gloves and held my bare hand to my face, feeling it still warm.

Sifting
It makes more sense to work at night, so that’s what they do. Sona does a double check on her guages to make sure her exosuit is sealed and then hits the release for the door. Even now, well past when the sun has set, her celsius indicator shoots up as it adjusts from the capsule temperature to the outside.

Little-Man Complex
The crowd stirred, restless though not impatient, as they waited for the empty podium to be attended by the evening's first speaker. Some were there physically, but for others who couldn't afford the technology, they watched from distances measured in layers. It was the usual sort of mix in a talk that was this academic: those interested in it for the politics or education, present in the form of the various species that cared about either of those things. There was a gentle quieting as everyone became aware someone was stepping up to the platform.