Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius’s Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Carl Friedrich Philipp von Martius’s Historia naturalis palmarum – in which all known genera of the palm family are illustrated and their biogeographies described – is considered a landmark botanical survey. Taking over 27 years to complete, the three-volume work contains 240 chromolithographic illustrations which survey 2,250 km of the Brazilian Amazon and its tributaries (oh, that number thing). Many illustrations are typical of their time but what stands out among familiar stylisations are Martius’s own curious illustrations of the cross-sectional architectures of trunks and brunches. Other graphical systems clearly define the palms signature mathematical morphologies, symmetries and phyllotaxial geometries. The illustrations have been collected in the Book of Palms by H. Walter Lack published by Taschen.

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Historia naturalis palmarum

Related post:
‘You Really Do Not See a Plant Until You Draw it’

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Mead & Conway’s ‘Introduction to VLSI Systems’ – The Ornamental Heraldry of Logic Gates & Shift Registers

Introduction to VLSI Systems

The gridded geometry of VSLI diagramming celebrates the cargo cult of optimum electron flow as ornamental tribal heraldry. Part modernist weaving pattern (Gunter Stolz, Annie Albers), part tribal ornamentation – its geometric constraint aesthetic is squeezed into place by the forces of functional logic and space-filling optimisation. Introduction to VLSI Systems [1978] (PDF) contains finely coloured logic gate designs, NAND & NOR op-art and hieroglyphic transistor abstractions; and offers an early description of the circuit/microchip layout problem.

Introduction to VLSI Systems

Introduction to VLSI Systems

The creation of a geometric script to encode a symbolic layout language might be a modern day equivalent of Islamic Girih tilings or Kilim weave patterns. But rather than floral embellishments and pointed stars of the Girih tradition, VLSI constrains the symbols for input registers, logic blocks and phase clocks to best-fit space constrained by function that is devoid of any explicit aesthetic consideration. The microchip layout problems is part of a large group of much studied topological problems – and so the design of these circuits will hold clues to the solution of their more famous sibling – The Traveling Salesman Problem – and its lesser known one – The Seven Bridges of Königsberg.

Introduction to VLSI Systems

Introduction to VLSI Systems

Introduction to VLSI Systems

‘The task of the integrated system designer is to devise geometric shapes and their location in each of the various layers. By arranging predetermined geometric shapes on each of these layers, a system of the required function may be constructed..[ ]..A simple and common method of producing system layouts is to draw them by hand. This is typically done on a one lambda grid using the familiar colour codes to identify various system layers. One the layout has been hand drawn it can be translated into machine readable form, by encoding it into a symbolic layout language.’

Introduction to VLSI Systems

Introduction to VLSI Systems

Related Posts:

Microchic: Cara McCarthy’s Diagramming Microchips & Theo Kamacke’s PCB Hieroglyphics
Ulla Wiggen – Conductive Abstractions

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John Whitney’s Digital Harmony – On the Complementarity of Music and Visual Art

“The dream of visual dynamism is the same; to leave behind earthbound stasis and to fly into that liquid space of numerical architecture without gravity” – John Whitney

Digital_Harmony

John Whitney’s Digital Harmony – On the Complementarity of Music and Visual Art [1980] can now be read or downloaded at the ever brilliant Archive.org. Good news since second-hand copies of this out-of-print classic often fetch up to a few hundred pounds each on Amazon. A classic textbook for those working in audiovisual composition, the book explores technical, philosophical and conceptual aspect of software-based visual music. The computer code contained in the book is obviously well outdated but there is much to learn from Whitney’s insights into his methods for composition.

Digital_Harmony

The main tenet of the book is the idea of ‘harmonic resonance’ – that the harmony of music corresponds to the harmony of visual design. Whitney explores how graphic harmony can be generated using periodic relationships, modulation, tension vs equilibrium, interference, resonance and counterpoint in audio-visual systems. He demonstrates how interesting results from ‘the nature of patterns in time in the human perceptual experience’ can be attained without relying on the obvious mechanical synchronization of sound and image. Technologies able to translate sound into video or vice-versa (in anywhere near real-time) were scarce outside scientific laboratories in 1980 so Whitney made metaphorical and perceptual bindings using mathematical relationships in his modal systems. The book contains many full colour stills from Whitney’s films and also revealing step-by-step diagrammatic annotations to his process. He cites precursors in the field such as Len Lyre, Viking Eggeling, and Hans Richter, but he also mentions less obvious sources of inspiration such Schoenberg, Pythagoras and even Chomsky.

Digital_Harmony

“Computers will do no such thing – art is a matter of judgement not calculation / No one expects a piano to write really good music” [p124]

“Symmetries generated by kaleidoscopes and snowflakes are not unwelcome – but like medication, overuse quickly becomes overdose” [p109]

“Using chromatic scale to concatenate tonal reflection upon tonal statement, at exactly the right time, that is how Debussy gave elegance to the shape of time” [p85]

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Digital_Harmony

Related Posts:

Permutations & Arabesque – John Whitney
Emma Kunz – Cardinal Points

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Selected Tweets #24: Sunspots, Fulgurites & Pathological Fractals

Georg_von_WellingIllustrations from Opus mago-cabalisticum et theologicum – Georg von Welling [1719]

Selected tweets from my Twitter stream @MrPrudence

Group of Sun Spots and Veiled Spots – E. L. Trouvelot [1873].

Chromatic Drawings – Ivan Wyschnegradsky.

Polyomino II – Jose Sanchez and students. Combinatorial patterns generated in Unity3D.

Illustrations from Opus mago-cabalisticum et theologicum – Georg von Welling [1719].

Hacker Slang and Hacker Culture – AI Koans, Hacker Folklore in The Jargon File, circa 2000.

A Cognitive Computation Fallacy? Cognition, Computations and Panpsychism – John Mark Bishop.

The Analog Art – Joost Rekveld traces the history of analogue computing leading to his current film work #59.

No Code: Null Programs – Nick Montfort [PDF]. The null program or lack of code as a functioning program.

Marginal, Local and Time-Bound – Sydney Lévy [PDF]. Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Babbage & the machinations of the mind.

Hadopelagic – Hideki Inaba. Fischingeresque time and motion study in candy coloured pop.

CarpentryIllustration from Carpentry : Being A Comprehensive Guide Book for Carpentry and Joinery – Nicholson, Peter, [1848]

EKO ComputeRhythm – a drum machine that used punched paper cards from 1972.

Art of the Airport Tower – Carolyn Russo. The airport tower as monumental abstraction.

Illustrations from Elektricität und Licht – Otto Lehmann [1895].

Incomprehensible Brainfuck talks formal L-Sys.

Commodore 8580 chip. Hi-res [133MB]. Plus many more at http://www.visual6502.org/ 

Ilya Prigogine on The Arrow of Time – Is time a fluid reversible cosmic commodity? – Omni Mag, 1983.

“The arrow of time is an arrow of increasing correlations.” Natalie Wolchover on entanglement as entropy.

Frolicsome Engines: The Long Prehistory of Artificial Intelligence – Jessica Riskin.

‘Others seek and achieve notoriety, Hinton has achieved almost total obscurity’ – Borges on Howard C Hinton and his Fourth Dimension.

Imaginary city landscapes by Georg Bohle.

the-trouvelot-astronomical-drawingsGroup of Sun Spots and Veiled Spots – E. L. Trouvelot [1873]

Theosophical images from Europe from the 1930’s at Lexicon magazine.

‘Some fractals were rejected by mathematicians and labelled pathological and monstrous.’ Infinite Space and Self-Similar Form – Laura Strudwick

Enlivening The Grid. On Channa Horwitz’s grid-system Sonakinatography.

Joe Banks, author of ‘Rorschach Audio’ on the visual construction of ‘reality’.

Chance and Order Group VII, Drawing 6 – Kenneth Martin. Lines between randomly defined points.

The strangely relaxing abstractions of Aeroese poetry – “Establish localiser two-seven-right”.

Geometric stimulation arrives from unlikely sources: 17C carpentry & joinery manuals.

Illustration from Man Visible & Invisible – Charles Leadbeater [1903].

Geodesic Model – William Donovan [1980] Made from ‘nit sticks’ used to check for head lice.

Théâtre Mobile – Pascal Häusermann.

One Response to “Selected Tweets #24: Sunspots, Fulgurites & Pathological Fractals”

  1. Radio Playlists writes:

    My favorite is Sydney Lévy’s book machinations part.

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Günter Haese – Antenna Wired for Air Vortex Transmissions

 Günter HaeseChronos – Günter Haese [2004]

In Günter Haese’s Chronos [2004] an array of radio antenna appear to be wired for aeolian transmissions. Carried to their receivers by micro bifurcating air vortexes the turbulent noise of air flow is the signal in this instance. In the cubic lattice of Kalogo [1999] an freeze frame animatronic of photons appear to be propagating through a crystal slowed down by a factor of a trillion seen through a compound eye. Yoshiwara II [1972] appears to be a point cloud materialized, but sagging under the weight of its own indifference to the environment and its audience.

German artist Günter Haese made a little over 400 hundred fragile mobile kinetic sculptures from brass wire, cogwheels, coils and clock springs in his lifetime. His wireframes of vibrating constellations and quivering parts were powered entirely by the flow of air. In Golf [1997] it’s clear to see the Paul Klee influences that Hasse was keen to mention in his work, but there are also strong hints of Duchamp enclosed inside this cubic trap.

 Günter HaeseGolf – Günter Haese [1997]

 Günter Haese Quirin – Günter Haese [2012]

 Günter HaeseResponsa – Günter Haese [1965]

 Günter Haese Janus – Günter Haese [1992]

 Günter HaeseKalogo – Günter Haese [1999]

 Günter HaesePinkus – Günter Haese [unknown]

 Günter HaesePokos – Günter Haese [unknown]

 Günter HaesePythagoras – Günter Haese [1997]

 Günter HaeseTransit – Günter Haese [1993]

 Günter HaeseYoshiwara II – Günter Haese [1992]

 Günter HaeseBaghdad – Günter Haese [1965]

One Response to “Günter Haese – Antenna Wired for Air Vortex Transmissions”

  1. paolo crosina writes:

    Dear Sirs,

    the Guenter Haese work titled Pinkus has been made in year 2007.

    Kind regards,

    Paolo Crosina

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Irvin Geis – Molecular Aesthetics as Network Idolatry

Irvin Gies Myoglobin [1961] – Irvin Gies

In Irvin Geis’s graphic molecule paintings the lightness of the wireframe structures perfectly counterpoints the cast iron logic of each molecules cryptographic configuration. Myoglobin, his most famous illustration published in Scientific America in 1961, took 6 months to complete. It’s frozen lattice of lushly hued paths abstractly coalesce into a connectionist idol; molecular aesthetics as network idolatry. Ribonuclease, with its graphic specular lighting and constructivist blue and red tones, presents molecules as scaled-up utopian architectural constructs rejecting the tyranny of utility.

 Lysozyme2 -  Irvin GiesLysozyme – Irvin Gies

 Lysozyme -  Irvin GiesLysozyme 2 – Irvin Gies

 Crambin -  Irvin GiesCrambin – Irvin Gies

Geis was trained as an architect. But the great depression of the ’30’s threw a curved career ball and he found himself working in the golden age of hand illustration for Fortune Magazine in 1930’s and then with Scientific America in the 1950’s. ‘According to Richard Dickerson, the UCLA biochemist who co-authored a number of major books on biochemistry, Gies’s genius wasn’t in depicting a protein exactly how it looked, but drawing it in a such a way that showed how the molecule worked, an artistic process that Geis called, ‘selective lying.’

Ribonuclease S -  Irvin GiesRibonuclease S – Irvin Gies

B-DNA -  Irvin GiesB-DNA – Irvin Gies

Cytochrome C -  Irvin GiesCytochrome C – Irvin Gies

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

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Form Constants of Optical Mineralogy

form constants of optical mineralogyChromatic Polarisation of Light (German, unknown) [1895]

The Virtual Museum of the History of Mineralogy contains a large collection of scans from monographs on crystallography and mineralogy, arranged by author in alphabetical order, from 1450 to 1912. The chromolithographs of optical interference figures, mostly from the 19th century, record the passage of light through crystal lattices to reveal a corresponding geometric figure. Visualising the interference and chromatic polarisation of light during short mineral detours allowed mineralogists to decrypt the chemical constitution and locate the geological origin of each wafer-thin sample; photons moving at light speed were coaxed into perusing time-spans of billions of years. The proto-op art configuration of the figures echo the morphologies of Kluver’s Form Constants, Purkinje’s taxonomy of visual subjective phenomena and Chladni’s figures (which are, after all, also captive remnants of the properties of wave vibration). These intelligible ornaments deserve a place in collective unconscious for optical and spectral phenomena.

form constants of optical mineralogyPlate from Mineralogia Generale – Luigi Bombicci Porta [1889]

It was David Brewster, ‘the father of modern experimental optics’, who founded the sci­ence of optical mineralogy and first annotated these patterns. Knowing all too well of the allure of the prismatic figures he discovered during his polarisation experiments he invented the Kaleidoscope in 1816. This most famous of all optical toys encodes the laws and properties of light for amusement, as well the mechanics of symmetry and tessellation. Polariscopes and Conoscopes, the more serious utilitarian siblings of the Kaleidoscope, were the optical devices used to view and annotate the interference figures found in this post.

form constants of optical minerologyPlate from Physikalische Krystallographie – Paul Heinrich Groth [1885]

form constants of optical minerologyplate from Mineralogie – Franz Wolfgang Ritter von Kobell [1864]

form constants of optical minerologyPlate from Physikalische Krystallographie – Paul Heinrich Groth [1885]

form constants of optical minerologyPlate from Mineralogie – Gustav Adolf Kenngott [1890]

form constants of optical mineralogyOptical effects during the heat treatment of glass – David Brewster [1815]

form constants of optical mineralogyThe Phenomenon of Light (German, unknown) [1895]

Related posts:
Primal Generative: Form Constants & Entoptic Geometry
The Logic of Crystals – William T. Astbury & Kathleen Yardley’s Space-group Diagrams

2 Responses to “Form Constants of Optical Mineralogy”

  1. Whewell’s Gazette: Year 2, Vol: #03 | Whewell's Ghost writes:

    […] Data is Nature: From Constants of Optical Mineralogy […]

  2. Whewell’s Gazette: Year 3, Vol. #08 | Whewell's Ghost writes:

    […] Dataisnature: From Constants of Optical Mineralogy […]

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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 Music of Nomography – Laurence Hewes’s & Herbert Seward’s ‘Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas’ and John Cage’s scores

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

Laurence Hewes’s and Herbert Seward’s manual on the design of nomographs, published in 1923, is an unintentional masterpiece of analogue calculation aesthetics. The topologies and contours of these charts echo the systems they encapsulate. Fluid lines plot the parameters of hydrodynamic flow. Arcing parabolas delineate ballistic trajectories. Most lead double lives as (unperformed) musical scores.

Invented in 1884 by the French engineer Philbert Maurice d’Ocagne, nomographs are graphical analogue calculating devices that allow the computation of linear or non-linear functions. Now superseded by computers and electronic calculators, these diagrams were once the preferred method for calculating solutions to practical problems when a few variables were already defined within a complex system. Ron Doerfler’s The Lost Art of Nomography is a good essay on the history of these charts, it also explains exactly how they work.

The musician/performer David Tudor used the term nomograph to describe a notation he created for the performance of John Cage’s Variations II – we might wonder if Cage ever used the term himself ? Cage created scores that not only bare an uncanny resemblance to nomography but also use a nomographic process to generate musical events within his partially deterministic musical space-time. The projection of lines into two and three-dimensional space, and their resulting intersections with other lines and points, were used to define musical events in his works of the 1950’s such as Concert for Piano and Orchestra [1958].

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

manual of nomographsIllustration from The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

In the visual arts Agnes Denes used nomographs for the basis of some of her philosophical drawings which she argued represented the metaphysical aspect of mathematics conveyed through aesthetics. She wrote, “I love mathematics because I could humanize it, and in turn it gave me perfection and beauty”. In her work The System [1970], she embellished the well known Smith Chart – a nomograph designed for solving radio frequency problems with transmission lines and matching circuits in radio frequency engineering.

Score Page from Concert for Piano and Orchestra - John CageScore Page from Concert for Piano and Orchestra – John Cage [1958]

Score for Fontana Mix - John CageScore for Fontana Mix – John Cage [1958]

SmithChartSmith Chart – Phillip H. Smith

Further Viewing/Reading:

The Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas and the Theory of Nomography – Laurence Hewes and Herbert Seward [1923]

The Lost Art of Nomography – Ron Doerfler [PDF]

David Tudor’s Realization of John Cage’s Variations II – James Pritchett

48 seconds on Mathematics – John Cage

Manifesto Mathematics – Agnes Denes [PDF]

Agnes Denes: Early Philosophical Drawings, Monoprints, and Sculptures

4 Responses to “The Music of Nomography – Laurence Hewes’s & Herbert Seward’s ‘Design of Diagrams for Engineering Formulas’ and John Cage’s scores”

  1. Andrew writes:

    Another excellent post. Congratulations on your wonderful website. Keep up the job work!

  2. Robin Parmar writes:

    I’m in love with nomographs. Excellent post!

  3. cocky eek writes:

    thanx Paul, since a long time im looking at your blog again, and it gives me a very nourishing feeling, as if coming home:)

  4. 08/16/2016 – Comics Workbook writes:

    […] From the Archive: Data is Nature: Everything You Wanted to Know About Nomographs But Were Afraid to … […]

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Cypraea mappa – The Mollusc Cartographer

CypraeaCyprea (Cowry) Shells from Thesaurus Conchyliorum – G.B Sowerby (Cyprea mappa shown in center)

Remi Rorschach, one of a few dozen or so characters in George Perec’s immensely complex and ingeniously constrained masterpiece ‘Life a Users Manual’, has a series of seemingly incongruous occupations –  first a clown and circus manager, then an international shell trader before finally becoming a TV executive. As a cowry shell trader he travels across Africa hoping to make his fortune by off loading a cache of Cypraea to local tribes where the shells were (really) used as money.

Rorschach’s surname might have been all the more appropriate if Perec would have chosen Cypraea Mappa (The Map Cowry) for his trading enterprises as this subspecies is named for its shell patterns being perceived as resembling antique maps. Using groups of activator inhibitor cells this marine gastropod mollusc secrets pigments incrementally into its shell row by row, as it grows, like an inkjet printer rendering a pointillist reaction-diffusion facsimile of a faded ancient map. Study the faded contours of these shell maps and you will find rivers, estuaries and peninsulars, Some shells may even represent the terrains Remi Rorschach journeyed in pursuit of his fortune.

CypraeaCyprea (Cowry) Shells from Thesaurus Conchyliorum, or, Monographs of genera of shells – ed. G.B Sowerby

CypraeaCyprea mappa, The Map Cowry

CypraeaCyprea (Cowry) Shells from Thesaurus Conchyliorum, or, Monographs of genera of shells – ed. G.B Sowerby

Cowries of all subspecies are common finds in archaeological digs. Aside from their importance as currency, they have been used in tribal masks, worshipped as fertility emblems, used in fortune telling and divination. In India they have been used in astrological predictions. They are considered precious enough that clever fakes have been made by etching elaborate patterns using chemicals or creating less sophisticated hybrid morphologies by glueing fragments of different shells together.

Further Viewing:
Thesaurus conchyliorum, or, Monographs of genera of shells – ed. G.B Sowerby
Historic shell illustrations, found in the Biodiversity Heritage Library collection

Related Posts:
The Writing of Stones – Roger Caillois

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