Archives for the Month of July, 2015

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

Mark A Reynolds – Intersecting the Void by Intervals

Mark A ReynoldsThe 1.111 Series – Mark A Reynolds [2014]

Mark A Reynolds’s constructivism of intersecting translucent planes is created by modulating primitive shapes and lines based on proportional systems such as the golden section and square root series. Tracings of overlays, which record a process of revision over time create spatial illusions; precision cuts in space that represent an architecture of intervals. Reynolds notes that he is interested in ‘how the mind builds things, how it specifically orders space and records the development of an infinite variety of choices and structures because of the ratios and relationships inherent each system.

Cartography is implicit; the geometry of points, lines and their triangulations, in his works, are possible maps or mnemonics for imagined space; refracted cubist psychogeographic trajectories of structured time. No need to be reminded that geometry (from the Ancient Greek: geo- “earth”, -metron “measurement”) means to measure the Earth.

Mark A ReynoldsMinor Third Series, Fine Structure of Matter – Mark A Reynolds [2008]

Mark A ReynoldsMinor Third Series, A Grouping of Root Fives – Mark A Reynolds [2015]

Mark A ReynoldsMinor Third Series, Vortex Sound – Mark A Reynolds [2013]

Mark A ReynoldsGreater and Lesser Dyad Series, Two Ogee Curves – Mark A Reynolds [2011]

Mark A ReynoldsMusical Ratios Series, 6 to 7 – Mark A Reynolds

Mark A ReynoldsPhi Series, Root 5 Grouping – Mark A Reynolds [2015]

Mark A ReynoldsSquare Series Piston Effect – Mark A Reynolds [2010]

Mark A ReynoldsPhi Series, Phi Square Root – Mark A Reynolds [2014]

Many of the works meld disparate ratios together to create unified systems of mathematical counterpoint and resonance by isolating unifying elements that can bridge domains – in in his own words, to join the incommensurable. Since ratio and proportion are key to his structuring process it’s no surprise that there is musicality encoded into his works too.

Related Posts:

David Wade’s ‘Fantastic Geometry’ – The Works of Wenzel Jamnitzer & Lorenz Stoer

John A. Hiigli – Layering the Isotropic Vector Matrix

The Constructivist Cosmologies of Richard Lippold