December 26, 2006

New Art: Density Our Destiny

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Density Our Destiny. Colored pencil, graphite, and digital printing collage on paper. Maquette for a sculpture. © 2006 Jerome du Bois

by Jerome du Bois

This is a drawing for a ten-foot by eight-foot sculpture, which may or may not be made. The sculpture itself, mounted on a wall, would be constructed of wood, rope, and fabric, and would be different from the drawing, in that the "pencils" on the top row would be in seventy-two colors, instead of eight repetitions of nine. The bound bundle of rope at the bottom would rest on the floor.

Further explanation and description follows the jump.

This meme -- density our destiny-- goes back, for me, about twenty-two years, while I was reading The Next Economy by Paul Hawken. Hawken, an environmental entrepeneur --or bioneer, in the new lingo-- founded Erewhon, the natural foods distributor, way back in the day. By 1983 he was already deep into Smith & Hawken, the high-end gardening-tool company he also founded. In the book, he used the tools he sold as examples of dense information carriers. That is, every hoe, shovel, and pick in their catalog was the end product of centuries of development and user feedback. Over thousands of years, humans have learned, through trial, error, and reason, about the best woods, the best metals, the best ways of fitting the two together, and the best edges, to make the best tools. So that the S & H tools were most distilled, refined products of that information sifting. They were the smartest tools, because they were dense with all that engineering history.

Hawken applied that reasoning to information itself, just on the cusp of the burgeoning personal computer revolution, and years before the internet took off. His point: The more intelligence you could pack into the smallest amount of recoverable space, the better.

I had just got my first IBM PC, I was studying computer programming at the time, so that resonated with me. So I wrote down in his book somewhere, "Density Our Destiny."

I have always been interested in portability; don't ask me why. When I was a teenager I conjured the notion of "pocket stones," thumb-sized shapes with Braille-like embossing that you could rub and thereby recover a poem, or a bit of wisdom.

A year or so after I read Hawken I saw Back To The Future. In that movie, the tongue-tied teenage nerd George McFly, mangling words given to him by his future son Marty, declares to his future bride Lorraine, "You are my density."

The year after that came Barrow and Tipler's The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, which contains the seeds of the Omega Point Theory, which is all about density being our destiny.

So I carried the idea around, for years, then finally began shaping it out, for years. The original piece was just going to be two fabric-covered slabs of wood with fabric-covered cut-out wooden letters glued to their surfaces. Then I got the idea of hanging free-swinging wooden dowels, also fabric-covered, from the bottom one. Just a few weeks ago they turned to rope, and the dowels grew all the way up through both wooden slabs, turning colors as they grew.

Now the piece evokes candles, a menorah, weaving, sewing, quilting, color-blending, a tree, the tension between suspension and support, and wordplay. It has come a long way. It's denser now.

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December 25, 2006

O CHRISTMAS BIRD!

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Nature Photography by Catherine King. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.

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December 22, 2006

DAY OF THE PARROT

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Nature Photography by Catherine King. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.

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December 12, 2006

Gingerbread Gothic

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Gingerbread Gothic. 2006. Digital net art © Catherine King. Do not reproduce in any form.

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December 05, 2006

THE TREE OF EVERLASTING LIFE

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The Tree of Everlasting Life. 2006. Digital Net Art by Catherine King. Do not reproduce in any form.

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December 01, 2006

BEHOLD SPOT BEHOLDING

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Spirit Photography by Catherine King. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce in any form.

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