Thomas Sopwith’s Stratigraphic Models

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-XI – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

First produced in 1841 Thomas Sopwith’s wooden models were some of the earliest three-dimensional representations of Earth’s geological strata. Layered, glued, hand carved and polished, his models demonstrate the abilities of a skilled woodworker and isometricist. Sopwith began his apprenticeship as a cabinet maker and so his interests in carpentry and geology collude to create functional objects with sculptural qualities in their own right. Rather than represent specific locations the models were generic visualisations of typical stratigraphy found in the mining districts of England in the early 1800′s. Some of the models could be could reconfigured, like small puzzles, so that subterranean features such as dislocations, inclines and folds could be viewed from different angles reducing the need for multiple drawings.

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-X – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

In reality the layering of strata can be a messy business. Often, as an affront to the the law of superposition and general common sense, much older rocks can be found layered above younger ones. These anarchic non-conformist strata present themselves in, what’s known in the business, as thrust faults. Other chronological discontinuities, generated through folding and erosion, complicate things further. The book of stratigraphy is a cut-up novel containing a narrative of cryptic topographies – pages have been ripped out, shuffled, and replaced inside the wrong chapters. Since Sopwith’s models many great breakthroughs in geological cryptanalysis have been made. The grand theories of continental drift and plate tectonics allowed geologists to unravel the puzzle in order to understand how these layers of rock came to be so disordered as if to imply, at times, that the earth’s crust might have been created with time running backwards.

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-VII – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-VI – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-IV – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-II – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-VI – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-V – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-VII – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-IV – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-IV – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-V – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-VI – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-IV – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Models Illustrating Denuded Strata- Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Thomas Sopwith – geological models Model-II – Thomas Sopwith [1841]

Related Posts:

Agates – Time Compiled
The Writing of Stones – Roger Caillois
Where Time Becomes Nervous: John Mcphee’s Annals of the Former World
Hypogean Wildstyle: Dominik Strzelec’s Byzantine Geology

 

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‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’ – Botanical Wall Charts at the Academic Heritage Foundation

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Bontanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed has gathered a massive collection of botanical wall charts that were used as teaching aids in the Netherlands and the rest Europe from 1870-1960. The collection, over 3000 images, includes stylised morphological diagrams, sketches of microscopic anatomy and early botanical data visualisations. It’s clear from this collection that the act of illustrating was as much an act of observing. These lithographs record a kind of meditative microscopy; each a postcard sent from a journey into the minuscule world of tissues and cells. As Goethe is quoted as saying ‘You really do not see a plant until you draw it’. The highly detailed plant morphologies in German botanist Leopold Kny’s Botanische Wandtafeln are virtually cosmic in their nebulous configurations while Dutch geneticist Hugo de Vries’s data visualisations tend towards the lyrical.

Note: many of the thumbnails appear to be missing from the page although the full-sized images are correctly displayed.

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBladstanden – A.A.Van Voorn

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsFixeeren, Accumuleeren, Affoleeren – Hugo de Vries [1898]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsRussisch Billard Volgens Galton – Hugo de Vries [1898]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsCurve der Vruchtlengte van Oenothera Lamarckiana – Hugo de Vries [1898]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsKurkhuid – J.G. Meijer [1880]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsCelwand Reactiën – J.G. Meijer [1880]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsKernschede – J.G. Meijer [1880]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical Wallcharts Bloei van Knautia Sylvatica – J.G. Meijer [1904]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsDodel Port Atlas – J.F. Schreiber [1893]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsDodel Port Atlas – J.F. Schreiber [1893]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Stichting Academisch Erfgoed Botanical WallchartsBotanische Wandtafeln – Leopold Kny [1874-1911]

Related Posts:

René Binet – Esquisses Décoratives & the Protozoic Façade of Porte Monumentale

The Rhetoric of Weird Wonders Gleefully Carousing in Morphospace : The Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr Collection

Floraskin – Eilfried Huth & Günther Domenig

Patabotany #1: [At the Libarynth] The Forest is a College, Each Tree a University.

3 Responses to “‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’ – Botanical Wall Charts at the Academic Heritage Foundation”

  1. Rob Kesseler writes:

    Hi Paul, someone sent me a link to your feature on botanical wall charts as I had recently been featuring them in a lecture. I am currently in discussion with a botanical institute in Pittsburgh who rescued a collection including some by Kny from a skip. We are hoping to do an exhibition featuring the charts alongside some of my images in 2017. I will let you know if it comes off.
    Great site you you have and beautiful movies. If you are ever passing through London maybe I could tempt you in to give a talk at Central Saint Martins where I am currently chair of Arts, Design & Science.

  2. Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #51 | Whewell's Ghost writes:

    […] Data is Nature: ‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’ – Botanical Wall Charts at the Academic Heri… […]

  3. paul writes:

    Rob, I would certainly be interested in the show you mention that may happen in 2017. Thanks for the comment and keep me posted.

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‘It Must Give Off and Receive Light Like a Tiny Space Station’ – Kenneth Snelson’s Atoms

titlePortrait of an Atom – Kenneth Snelson [1984]

‘I’ve longed to see a life-sized replica atom, perhaps with robotic controls, to watch it perform its virtuoso assortment of tricks and tasks; of transmitting light and, catching it again, expanding and contracting….to see it demolished only to self-reconstruct…to watch its host of electrons flashing about the nucleus, forming the frictionless perpetual motion machine that a real atom is.‘ From Portrait of an Atom – Kenneth Snelson

From the classic motifs of Rutherford and Bohr’s planetary models to Schroedinger’s electron position probability clouds, the history of visualising the atom is one of a series of models, each one superseding the previous through new insights in quantum behaviour. After Heisenberg’s Uncertainly Principle the visualisation of atomic configurations, in reality unworkable due to quantum indeterminacy, had pretty much reached a dead end.

In the 1960′s sculptor Kenneth Snelson began to model the atom’s electronic structure based on symmetry laws for circles by correlating circle groups with quantum numbers that described the properties of electrons in atoms. Though the hunt for the ‘real’ atom, had been rejected by science it remained in Snelson’s mind that ‘we might one day find out what an atom would be like in a photographic facsimile or a sculptured replica’

‘It must give off and receive light like a tiny space station. It can remain stable and resist collapse under great pressure. It collects and organizes its electrons in shells around the nucleus. It puts to use all of its electrical, dynamic and magnetic forces in it structure. It can attach itself to other atoms in molecules and crystals with astonishing virtuosity. And though its electrons are in rapid and perpetual motion, it can sit in tranquility in a rock for eternity’ – Kenneth Snelson

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonRing Assemblies Representing 4 Complete Electron Shells – A Design for the Atom [1963]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonStudy for a Big Atom – Kenneth Snelson [1965]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1978]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1978]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1978]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonStudy for Atomic Space 3 – Kenneth Snelson [1964]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtom Piece – Kenneth Snelson [1964]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonThree Shell Magnet Piece – Kenneth Snelson [1976]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonStu’s Atom – Kenneth Snelson [2009]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1966]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1966]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1966]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonAtomic Model Patent – Kenneth Snelson [1966]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonStudy for Atomic Space 6 – Kenneth Snelson [1965]

Portrait of an Atom - Kenneth SnelsonStudy for Atomic Space 5 – Kenneth Snelson [1965]

Related Posts:
Robert le Ricolais’s Tensegrity Models – ‘The Art of Structure is Where to Put the Holes’
Spatiologies – Vittorio Giorgini

2 Responses to “‘It Must Give Off and Receive Light Like a Tiny Space Station’ – Kenneth Snelson’s Atoms”

  1. Bookmarks for May 26th | Chris's Digital Detritus writes:

    […] ‘It Must Give Off and Receive Light Like a Tiny Space Station’ – Kenneth Snelson&r… – […]

  2. ben writes:

    amazing. thank you for that find! ben

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The Logic of Crystals – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley’s Space-group Diagrams

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

William T. Astbury and Kathleen Yardley’s 230 Space-group diagrams, published in 1924, form a complete notation of all possible atomic lattice configurations in crystals (not including quasi-crystals). The figures formed the basis for what eventually became the International Tables for X-ray Crystallography. A crystal is three-dimensional tessellation of ‘unit-cells’. Each cell is a fundamental pattern of atoms or molecules repeated, rotated, folded. Depending on its symmetry, the unit cell of any given crystal can be classified according to one of those 230 space groups.

Deciphering these geometric sigils, without fundamental knowledge of their crystallographic logic, may be tricky but the plates have a rigorous aesthetic that stands up by itself. Non textual oblique strategists may already be mapping these tridimensional diagrams to create irrational marriages; for rendering micro-crystalline morse-code music or for use as guides to direct their psychogeographical drifts. The 230 space-diagrams designed to navigate crystal space might also be used to negotiate space taxonomies of other kinds.

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

Well aware of hidden language of crystals, Shea Zellweger employed their lattice configurations as a model for his Logic Alphabet – ‘a set of symbols that systematically represents the sixteen possible binary truth functions of logic’. Zellweger arranged the letter-shapes according to the structure of a crystal so that their interrelating symmetries could more easily visualised and manipulated.

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

230 Space-Groups - William T. Astbury & Kathleen YardleyPlate from Tabulated Data for the Examination of the 230 Space-Groups by Homogeneous X-Rays – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley [1924]

Inspired by X-ray crystallography, and under the direction of Helen Megaw (a crystallographer who determined the structure of the ice crystal), the Festival Pattern Group developed textiles based on the atomic lattice of insulin, china clay, and hemoglobin for the Festival of Britain in 1951. In 2008, the Wellcome Collection, in London, curated an exhibition on the Festival Pattern Group called ‘From Atom to Patterns’.

Further Reading:
Logic Alphabet Project – Shea Zellweger

Related Posts:
The Melodies and Megaliths of Pseudocrystalline Terrains

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The Hindu Temple as a Model of Fractal Cosmology – Forecasting Architecture with Recursive Instruction

Indian Temple FractalsKandariya Mahadev Temple [Madhya Pradesh] (source unknown)

The self-similar, cascading architectural forms found in Hindu temple architecture appear to have been pieced together by a hyper-industrious Minecrafter hooked on Hofstadter. Jagged waves of blocky ornamentation, rhythmically repeating, create diminishing echo’s of the temple’s form; tiny versions of itself repeating towards a proposed infinity. Baroque three-dimensional Cellular Automata. Cantor Set masonry. Malevich’s Architectons upscaled and iterated to the nth degree, often smothered with a teeming mass of deities and denizens, each one competing for your retina.

Indian Temple FractalsKandariya Mahadev Temple [Madhya Pradesh] – RM Nunes

It’s not just that these temples appear to be algorithmically generated, the ancient Vastu Sustra texts provide procedural rules or recipes for their design, layout and build (including the positions of ornaments). The texts transmit recursive programs, by verbal instruction, to masons so that according to Kirti Trivedi, the Hindu Temple becomes a model of a fractal Universe. A model which represents ‘views of the cosmos to be holonomic and self-similar in nature’. The idea of fractal cosmology is no stranger to western academia. In 1987 the Italian physicist Luciano Pietronero argued, in his paper, that the Universe shows ‘a definite fractal aspect over a fairly wide range of scale’ based on correlations of galaxies and clusters, their spatial distribution and average mass density.

‘According to Hindu philosophy the cosmos can be visualised to be contained in a microscopic capsule, with the help of the concept of subtle element called ‘tammatras’. The whole cosmic principle replicates itself again and again in ever smaller scales’ – Kirti Trivedi

Indian Temple FractalsYellamma Temple [Karnataka] – Paul Prudence

Indian Temple FractalsArchitecton Series – Kazimir Malevich [1923]

Indian Temple FractalsTemple Plan for Barwasagar Temple [Uttar Pradesh] from Geometry Measure in India Temple Plans

The initial temple plan is based on a grid form known as the Vastu-Purusha Mandala. Tellingly Trivedi remarks in his paper that the Vastu-Purusha Mandala is ‘not a blueprint for a temple, but a ‘forecast’, a marking of the potential within which a wide range of possibilities are implied’. The significance here, should not be underestimated. A ‘potential for possibilities’ within a predefined rule-set predisposes architecture to be governed by a degree of emergence. While emergence in parametric architecture arrived, recently, with computers and algorithms, India has been enacting emergent masonry for thousands of years thanks to the open rules of the Vastus Sustra.

Indian Temple FractalsShweta Varahaswamy Temple [Karnataka] – Paul Prudence

Using a system of measurement called the ‘Tala’, dimensional relationships of proportions rather than exact structural specifications are defined. Initial decisions (why not call them algorithmic seeds?) combined with rule sets are used to define the final outcome of the building. The ‘Tala’ system is scale invariant, just like fractal mathematics, so that a building of any size can be created, and decorated without compromising the model of self containment. The temple, as a whole, is built by interweaving fractalization processes with repetition and superimposition. An example of a typical recursive instruction, verbalised, is:

The layer of prahara (projection) will be above the chadya (eave of the roof). This is to be repeated again and again on the spire over the spire. A fraction of the prahara is to be constructed and again the spires are to be constructed. Each of the upper spires will be sprouted out with a measurement equal to half the size of the lower spire – Ksirarnava, 7.113

Indian Temple FractalsSri Meenakshi Amman Temple [Tamil Nadu] – Paul Prudence

The Kandariya Mahadev, in Madhya Pradesh, is one of the best examples of recursive temple architecture in India. The rising towers (Shikhara) of this structure are said to mimic the forms of mountains which are themselves self-similar. Shikhara literally translates to the word mountain.

Inspiration by way of a recent trip (one of many) to Karatanka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala.

Further Reading:

The Hindu Temple is a Model of a Fractal Universe – Kirti Trivedi [1993]
Infinite Sequences in The Constructive Geometry of 10th Century Hindu Temple Superstructures – Sambit Datta [2010]

Related Posts:

Stanley Tigerman & G. T. Crabtree – The Formal Generators of Structure
Breed – Driessens & Verstappen: Evolutional Diffusion Lattices
Yuri Avvakumov – Agitarch Structures: Reconfiguring Utopia

12 Responses to “The Hindu Temple as a Model of Fractal Cosmology – Forecasting Architecture with Recursive Instruction”

  1. Kevatha writes:

    Can I use this article for my talks and research ?
    I come from the lineage that built with the Vaastu parusha mandala our clan is called the vishwakarmans

  2. paul writes:

    @Kevetha, feel free to mention this post in your research/talks. A reference back to here would be appreciated, if possible. I’m going to look up on the ‘Vishwakarmans’, thanks.

  3. k p umapathy acharya writes:

    Nice article.

  4. Marta Leite Ferreira writes:

    Mr. Prudence,

    I’m writing about this issue in Observador, a portuguese online journal. Can you give me permission to use your photos with proper credits? Thank you.

  5. paul writes:

    Hi Marta, the three images that were taken by me you are free to use. Feel free to email me for more images.

  6. La fractalidad del universo se reitera en estos templos hindúes (y en estos fractales de templos hindúes) - La Tlayuda News writes:

    […] vía de Data is Nature, encontramos este fascinante concepto de los tammatras, que parecen ser las unidades que componen […]

  7. gregorylent writes:

    the third generation vastu shastri whose family constructed ramana ashram in tiruvannamalai would have recognized your ideas of recusiveness and fractals but his language and understanding derived from mysticism and sadhana .. spiritual practice .. important to remember that these things were created from the “inside out” ..

  8. Templos hindus, cosmologia fractal e uma arquitetura muito peculiar | Alameda 9 writes:

    […] No final de contas, este templo hindu reflete o modelo do Universo fractal, como explica o Dataisnature. […]

  9. Jasmine Shah writes:

    The article by Kirti Trivedi that is quoted here was presented at a Vastu Vedic Trust Conference organized by Dr. V Ganapathi Sthapati of Mamallapuram. It was Dr. V G Sthapati’s father who built the temple inside the Ramana Ashram. Dr. Stahapati has written prodigiously on this subject and worked tirelessly to preserve and present it to the modern world. It is truly thanks to him that today we are discussing this in this contemporary context!

  10. Whewell’s Gazette: Vol. #43 | Whewell's Ghost writes:

    […] Dataisnature: The Hindu Temple as a Model of Fractal Cosmology – Forecasting Architecture with Recursive Instruc… […]

  11. paul writes:

    @Gregory, I take your point here. This post could have expanded on the implicit vs explicit fractalization process in art and architecture. Quite often the explicit use of fractal processes can be quite worn, boring and generic. Fractal ‘emergence’ a the result of philosophical ideas or physical constraints are much more interesting not only because of the resulting aesthetics, but also the trickle down effect of how certain ways of thinking can become externalised in form, as you say ‘ important to remember that these things were created from the inside out’

    Other great examples of philosophical or physical constraint based fractalization processes include those found in the Shipibo textiles and African tribal design:

    African Fractals: Modern Computing and Indigenous Design [PDF]:
    http://monoskop.org/images/f/fc/Eglash_Ron_African_Fractals_Modern_Computing_and_Indigenous_Design.pdf

    The Generative Song & Sound Pattern Matrixes of the Shipibo Indians:
    http://www.dataisnature.com/?p=596

  12. paul writes:

    @Jasmine, thanks for the extra info on Kirti Trivedi’s paper and also the leads on Dr. Stahapati’s work.

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The Rhetoric of Weird Wonders Gleefully Carousing in Morphospace : The Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr Collection

EchinothuridenPlate from Anatomie der Echinothuriden – Walter Schurig [1906]

The Biodiversity Heritage Library is a consortium of natural history and botanical libraries that cooperate to digitize the legacy literature of biodiversity held in their collections and to make that literature available for open access and responsible use as a part of a global biodiversity commons.

Scientific illustration, especially of a biological kind, reached an apex in terms of draughtsmanship and delicateness during 19th century before photography become widespread. Though the emphasis on these illustrations was on accuracy, utility and facsimile of biodiversity, the personal aesthetics of the artists inevitably wrestled their way into the frame.

Ernst Haeckel’s brilliant illustrations are the canonical example of this kind of treatment. The imperfect geometries of real world protists and radiolarians were rectified to a crystalline precision and made perfect. Haeckel’s organisms are made to appear to behave like tiny machines. Their colours are over saturated and amplified to the point of psychedelic hyperreality. The revisions in his illustrations were sometimes made to fit theories that defined his own slant on Darwinian evolution. This was taken to the extreme in Haeckel’s embryology illustrations that he hoped would popularise his ‘ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny’ theory.

Biologische_Untersuchungen02Plate from Biologische Untersuchungen – Gustaf Retzius [1890]

Biologische_Untersuchungen02Plate from Biologische Untersuchungen – Gustaf Retzius [1890]

MedusaPlate from Die Medusen – Otto Maas [1897]

MedusaPlate from Die Medusen – Otto Maas [1897]

crinoid_genus_ScyphocrinusPlate from On the Crinoid Genus Scyphocrinus and its Bulbous Root Camarocrinus – Frank Springer [1917]

Æolididae0Plate from Æolididae e famiglie affini del porto di Genova pt.1 – Salvatore Trichese [1879]

Rummaging through the BHL Flickr account will give you an idea of how much material is available for research – more than 2000 albums of plates from manuscripts and proceedings. It amounts to well over 100,000 images. Each album contains annotations and links to the original publications which can be downloaded or viewed online. The title of this post, ‘The Rhetoric of Weird Wonders Gleefully Carousing in Morphospace’, is fragment of a sentence taken from Richard Dawkins’s excellent book The Ancestor’s Tale.

radiolarianPlate from Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) – Ernst Haeckel [1862]

radiolarianPlate from Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) – Ernst Haeckel [1862]

naked_eye_madusaPlate from A Monograph of the British Naked-Eyed Medusæ – Edward Forges [1848]

Plate from Denkschriften der Medicinisch – Ernst Haeckel [1879]

Here’s a pick from the collection (the illustrations above are taken from these monographs):

A Monograph of the British Naked-Eyed Medusæ – Edward Forges [1848]. Monograph can be found online here.

Æolididae e famiglie affini del porto di Genova pt.1 – Salvatore Trichese [1879]. Monograph can be found online here.

Die Medusen – Otto Maas [1897]. Monograph can be found online here.

Die Radiolarien (Rhizopoda radiaria) – Ernst Haeckle [1862]. Monograph can be found online here.

An Account of the Indian Triaxonia – Franz Eilhard Schulze [1902]. Monograph can be found online here.

Anatomie der Echinothuriden – Walter Schurig [1906]. Monograph can be found online here.

Spongiaires de la mere – Duchassaing de Fontbressin & Giovanni Michelotti [1864]. Monograph can be found online here.

Denkschriften der Medicinisch – Ernst Haeckle [1879]. Monograph can be found online here.

On the Crinoid Genus Scyphocrinus and its Bulbous Root Camarocrinus – Frank Springer [1917]. Monograph can be found online here.

Biologische Untersuchungen – Gustaf Retzius [1890].

Further reading:
Pictures of Evolution and Charges of Fraud: Ernst Haeckel’s Embryological Illustrations – Nick Hopwood [PDF]

2 Responses to “The Rhetoric of Weird Wonders Gleefully Carousing in Morphospace : The Biodiversity Heritage Library’s Flickr Collection”

  1. Ernst Haeckel’s brilliant illustrations | irrepressible parasites writes:

    […] source: http://www.dataisnature.com/?p=2111 […]

  2. exquisite circles | art and awareness writes:

    […] cruising around facebook I came across a post on the awakened eye that pointed to a piece called ‘The Rhetoric of Weird Wonders Gleefully Carousing in Morphospace : The Biodiversity Heritage … The name alone seemed a mouth-full and would normally have had me scrolling past with judgement of […]

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Selected Tweets #23: Polyhedra, Primes, Pathogens.

Selected tweets from my Twitter stream @MrPrudence [Summer 2014] with occasional addition annotations:

Going Into Detail - Peter RichardsonGoing Into Detail – Peter Richardson

Going Into Detail – Peter Richardson on metaphorical and geological boundaries illustrated with height-map globes.

Basrah Zoom – Jonathan Cecil’s satellite imaging data of geologic & urban structures reconfigured into a planetoid.

Mathematical Equations as Architectonic Forms. Bldgblog on the Altgeld Math Model Collection.

Max Brückner’s Vielecke und Vielflache, from 1900, includes plates of intricate models of complex polyhedra.

Non-Sequitur. Anthony MoreyNon-Sequitur. Anthony Morey

Poema de los Números Primos. Esther Ferrer’s geometric drawing configurations generated using prime number sequences.

100 Drawings. Alex Maymind’s quasi-scientific architectural classification systems.

Non-Sequitur. Anthony Morey’s series of plan abstractions with volumetric explorations and axonometric matrices.

titlePlate from Vielecke und Vielflache – Max Brückner

Nanoinjector. The tiny nanoeasthetics of DNA sequence transfer from BYU.

Outbreak. Rogan Brown’s hand cut paper reliefs of cells, pathogens & neurons.

On the Origin of Species: The Preservation of Favoured Traces. Ben Fry visualizing the unfolding of Darwin’s ideas

Iannis Xenakis – Music and Architecture: Architectural Projects, Texts, and Realizations [PDF].

PolytopePolytope – Iannis Xenakis

The Optics of Ibn Al-Haytham [c935-1039]. Where the earliest known correct schematic of the human visual system is to be found. [PDF].

Jean François Niceron’s La Perspective Curieuse [1638]. An early treatise on perspective distortion [Plates are to be found at the end of the book].

Capsules of time and space. Drafts/drawings of early soviet spacecraft interiors [1965-66].

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The Schematics of the Light Prop – László Moholy-Nagy & Stefan Sebök

The Mechanics of the Light PropThe Mechanics of the Light Prop – László Moholy-Nagy & Stefan Sebök [1930]

László Moholy-Nagy’s Light Prop for an Electric Stage, a kinetic light sculpture device capable of real-time expanded cinema projection, is well known and widely documented online. Lesser known are a series of associated drawings which were used as plans for the device, some of which were made in collaboration with the engineer Stefan Sebök. It was Sebök who was actually responsible for the design and build of the Light Prop mechanism. The plans for the Light Prop present graphic abstractions of the exploded view schematic where arrows indicate the movement of gear mechanisms and notate the choreography of the machine’s internal parts. The cubist-like multiple and distorted perspectives confound the positions and relationships of the components, perhaps intimating on the way in which light and shadow would be expanded, refracted, deflected and compressed by the device itself. The plans indicate Moholy-Nagy’s intentions to ‘produce a great range of shadow inter-penetrations and simultaneously intercepting patterns in a sequence of slow flickering rhythm’ with ‘discs made of polished metal slotted with regularly spaced perforations, and sheets of glass, celluloid and screens of different media’.

Construction Scheme for Light DisplayConstruction Scheme for Light Display – László Moholy-Nagy [1922-30]

According to a passage in The Visual Mind II, edited by Michele Emmer, Moholy-Nagy never actually used the term ‘Light Space Modulator’ to describe his optokinetic device even though this term is more commonly used than ‘Light Prop’ in literature. Moholy-Nagy did, however, use the title ‘Space Modulator’ for a number of drawings, collages and works for some time after Light Prop was finished, and until his death in 1946.

Light Prop - László Moholy-NagyLight Prop – László Moholy-Nagy

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Laplacian Sigils – William George Armstrong’s Electrical Discharge Experiments [1899]

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge ExperimentsWilliam George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments [1899]

The colour prints created by The Autotype Company to accompany William George Armstrong’s lectures and papers in the late 1800′s are probably some of the earliest electrical discharge visualisations created and widely disseminated. Their earthy colours and explosive textures are the result of applying an electrostatic discharge to a plate dusted with lead and sulphur. In this literal alchemical transaction, materials are transformed into delicately fine Laplacian aggregations known as Lichtenberg figures. The images were tellingly annotated by Armstrong in a paper presented at the Royal Society in 1899:

‘I have already spoken of electricity as organised motion, and we have here an example of it carried apparently to the verge of life [...] we see arborescent forms, showing trees and undergrowth, in which stems, branches, and leaves find their approximate representatives [...] even the root is indicated lying at the foot of the stem’

Fittingly, Armstrong used two materials strongly associated with alchemical practice and symbolism. So these fractal figures might be seen as sigils of a real elemental transmutation of fire, earth and metal governed by a process of self-organisation. In the computational realm electrical discharge patterns can be accurately modelled by applying stochastic procedures to Diffusion Limited Aggregation and Laplacian Growth algorithms.

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

William George Armstrong Electrical Discharge Experiments

Images discovered at: Prints.royalsociety.org

2 Responses to “Laplacian Sigils – William George Armstrong’s Electrical Discharge Experiments [1899]”

  1. Poulomi writes:

    Thank you – wonderful prints and history.

  2. Laplacian Sigils – William George Armstrong | polklemme.blogs writes:

    […] via dataisnature […]

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Agates – Time Compiled

Agates – Time CompiledAgate – Pascal Petit

The linear patterns in agates are a kind of Earth process data visualization, their intricate coloured bands, much like the tree rings in dendrochronology, are encoded recordings of palaeoclimatic environments, oscillating temperature and pressure events as well chaotic chemical interactions. The patterns are partly generated by self-organization through chemical feedback processes – a cybernetics of geology where fractal patterns appear as lithic printouts of non-linear dynamical chemical processes. Each band in these geological chaos diagrams represent a chemical reaction phase before it stabilises and shifts direction. Agate Patterns can be accurately modeled using fractal functions modulated with Brownian motion algorithms.

Agates – Time CompiledCrazy Lace Agate – Agatehill

Agates – Time CompiledSumatran Agate – Agatehill

Agates – Time Compiled Laguna Agate – Agatehill

Agates – Time Compiled Mexican Lace Agate – Agatehill

Thermal pulsing combined with the presence of iron and manganese metal oxides generate the rich colouration. Sometimes bacterial decomposition of organic matter consumes some of the iron oxide, modifying the reaction still further. Fitting then that some agates contain microbacterial-like patterns as if the stones themselves were bacterial colonies fossilized. Imagine an Agate playback device capable of translating these million year long earth recordings into intelligible data representing all those interacting processes.

Agates – Time Compiled Algorithmically generated ‘Musgrave Agate’

Agates – Time Compiled Czech Agate – Michal-Z

Agates – Time CompiledLaguna Agate – Agatehill

A selection of agate photographs can be found in this Flickr gallery

Related Posts:
The Writing of Stones – Roger Caillois
Hypogean Wildstyle: Dominik Strzelec’s Byzantine Geology
Banded Agates, Sonic Hydrodynamics & the BZ Reaction

4 Responses to “Agates – Time Compiled”

  1. David Haworth writes:

    It’s 4:30am & I’m writing a chapter of my PhD on Caillois & The Writing of Stones. I take a quick break, open up Facebook on my phone & there you are with your “lithic printouts”… Inspiring & beautiful.

  2. paul writes:

    Thanks for the comment David.

    A PhD chapter on the Writing of Stones, now that is something I’d like to read. In fact I am curious about the subject of your PhD in general? You probably noticed the link to a previous post on Caillois’s amazing book.

    http://www.dataisnature.com/?p=1990

  3. David Haworth writes:

    Hi Paul,

    Yes the Caillois post was my introduction to your amazing website. My PhD is in its early stages, but I’m looking at the idea of nature as an artist in people like Caillois, Haeckel, and some writers. Ideas of anthropomorphism, algorithms and apophenia abound. I will be looking through dataisnature very carefully for inspiration!

  4. Recent reads. | perry street palace writes:

    […] Agates – Time Compiled. Prudence, P., Dataisnature (Nov. 2014). [Ooooh. Pretty. -Ed.] […]

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