Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ummmm.... Math

Geometry to be more exact. I knew these concepts cropped up in the weaving fora/lists around '95, but I don't know if they are still popular.

Yesterday I went to a lecture on Sacred/Divine Geography, Golden Mean/Section/Ratio, or whatever else they call it. The only thing I knew was Fibonacci sequence taught at Randy Darwall's workshop, but I was aware artists old and new used some kind of math to structure their work, but since I'm allergic to organized religion, (the word "divine"?), I didn't know what to expect.

For those who are unfamiliar, I haven't digested the subject enough to explain well, but suffice it to say there are certain numbers, ratios, and patterns often found in nature, and by applying these to art, including music, we can produce pleasing results.

On such number is Phi (Φ, pronounced "fee", not rhyming with "pie"), or very crudely, around 1.62. For example, a rectangle where the two sides are 1:1.62 is more pleasing in comparison to where the two sides are 1:2, or even 2:3.

The math itself, where it pertains to design, isn't complicated, but extraordinarily useful, I found. The lecture was structured much like A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science by Michael S. Schneider. Also a very quick look found Summum to be the most comprehensive, and prettiest, website to start reading, if you are interested. And then of course, Wiki.

I didn't know there is an entire industry around these concept; a quick look around Amazon reveals dozens and dozens of books on the subject. Our lecturer, Wim Oosterhoff, is Dutch, so the references were overwhelmingly Western/European/Judeo-Christian, but I understand other writers refer to Eastern and pegan philosophies as well. If you are like me, turned off by biblical references but interested in the math, it's probably worth just skipping over the references; the whole point of this new style of math is to demonstrate how it ties in with nature and historical writings based on empirical observations. I think.

I also discovered there are groups who gather and studyspirituality in Nelson; I found this interesting and scary, because "spirit" still resonates Holy Trinity to me. And yet, the would-have-been Philosophy-major in me finds all this curiouser and curiouser.

So, I come home in torrential rain and tell Ben a little about what I found, and he says, "that's what I've been telling you about cropping pics all this time", but in far fewer words and ending with a grunt.

Have you done much in this area, especially pertaining to your work?

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Wim was the first person I met who openly and repeatedly stated he is a Freemason. Last night, Eyes Wide Shut was on TV. Connected? I opted for a teen comedy I normally wouldn't near and to lament the passing of Heath Ledger instead.

2 comments:

  1. After years of studying the natural world, science and then architecture I just do it without thinking. Then when I actually sit and review a piece of my work that I think is most succesfull...there it is the golden rectangle, spirals or fractals.

    Fun how it all ties together, or is it just DNA and archetypes?

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  2. Lynne, hubby is like that; he just sees it.

    Last night we downloaded a trial version of PhiMatrix and applied it to his pics and from over 50 or so, there was one that wasn't spot on, because he was trying to capture a bird, I think, flying away. Otherwise, he did a pretty good job.

    Meanwhile I read and study and go to lectures and try to apply them in my work and hobby and, well, get it right some of the times.

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