Universal Periodic Chart (detail)- Walter Russell
Outsider scientific-mystic Walter Russell developed a lifelong philosophy based on the unifying principles of forces within the cosmos – what seems like a kind of pseudo-scientifically framed offshoot of non-dualism. The most interesting elements his work are the diagrams and charts illustrating his books. They document an idiosyncratic understanding of natural phenomena such as light, magnetism, thermodynamics, waves and vibration.
Esa Ruoho has collected together many illustrations from Russell’s key works in Flickr sets – images from the books The Secret of Light, The Universal One and Atomic Suicide. The ‘In the Wave’ set contains charts with painted colour spectra and elliptical prismatic shapes denoting light waves, electrical vibrations and magnetism.
A strong theme running through Russell’s schematics, especially evident in his ‘Home Study Course’ is the correspondences of geometric equivalences and orders. The charts resemble sets of musical scales, denoting frameworks of periodicity and harmony within particular natural systems. Many of the diagrams, at first glance, might easily be be misinterpreted as modern musical notation. ‘Stages of Growth in the Nine pairs of Radar Mirrors’ is a prime example. The top half insinuates a time-line while the bottom half connotes a wiring schematic for a multi-channel electro-acoustic performance!
Controlled Power Multiplication Principle as Recorded by Gravity Bar – Walter Russell
The pseudo-science and religious ideas served up by Russell, and his wife Lao, at the University of Science and Philosophy paint a patchwork pattern of fuzzy utopianism, idealism and at times naivety. As Art-Brut is to Art, so characters like Russell and Lao are to traditional mainstream science and so they are essential. It might just be the case that Walter Russell’s genius, and his diagrams, can only be decoded at a later moment in time. His friend Nikola Tesla had advised him to lock away his work in a safe for 1000 years – because humankind was not yet mature enough for it.
‘The glory of becoming a transcendent being is the only reason for living’ – Lao Russell
‘Mediocrity is self-inflicted and genius is self-bestowed’ – Walter Russell