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nearest neighbors

November 16, 2009

I refreshed my memory on “nearest neighbor analysis” per Wikipedia, and it’s not at all what I was imagining when I used the term in my post of 10.27.  What is closer, but still not quite right, is “cluster analysis” or “clustering”. But I prefer a term using the word “neighbor” because it has such a friendly, relational feel to it. To me, it implies membership in a community. So I may find myself creating a name, using the word neighbor, for a particular type of design I’m interested in exploring.

In the past week, I’ve continued creating variations of mosaics using “rainbow” or “color wheel” colorways, with the tiles apportioned out using the Fibonacci series, and configured into all sorts of shapes within the grid. On 11.13, I tried a new method, using what I think of as a “neighborly” approach, and hit the jackpot. It strikes the right balance between random-looking, but actually depicting communities at various scales within the mosaic. For the first one, I began with a pattern of the most-common colorway (purple, 55 tiles) around the perimeter and I worked my way inwards. With the second one, I began by placing the least-common colors, and worked my way outwards. Both look beautiful, but are also meaningful, so I’m ecstatic. I’ve since done a third variation that’s a rectangle (the first two are squares).

As I added each new color, I considered which neighbors a given color might prefer; in other words, how heterogeneous should a “neighborhood” be? I figured everyone would like to have someone nearby that they were +/- similar to, but for the least-common colors, I tried to minimize putting analogous colors next to each other. So it’s more likely that say, yellow is kitty-corner from yellow-green, not adjacent.  In the first mosaic, I widely separated the red and red-orange tiles (1 of each). For the second mosaic, I decided to put them kitty-corner to each other, and I think they’re likely happier that way. 🙂

No matter how a neighborhood is constituted, there will likely be a majority of purple or blue squares, due to sheer numbers. But I have few neighborhoods that are almost-all purple or blue. I wanted no enclaves of homogeneity because my ideal community is diverse and not just allows but encourages cross-pollination, and I think these new mosaics reflect that. Yay!

nearest neigbhors 1 & 2

mosaics created 11.13.09

nearest neighbors 3

mosaic created 11.13.09

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