The Institute for Figuring
Thursday, 20 October 2005
Institute For Figuring
The topology of The Institute for Figuring is definitely worth close eye exploration. Spanning a range of topics dealing with the ‘figure’ in culture, the sentient geomantra or ongoing cultural matho-mytho reflexion utilizing pattern. It’s hard to find articles at this location not worth a read.
‘The Institute’s interests are twofold: the manifestation of figures in the world around us and the figurative technologies that humans have developed through the ages. From the physics of snowflakes and the hyperbolic geometry of sea slugs, to the mathematics of paper folding, the tiling patterns of Islamic mosaics and graphical models of the human mind, the Institute takes as its purview a complex ecology of figuring.’
A lot computational art, generative and otherwise, its seems is just another form or manifestation of folk art – the transcendence of concept through craftsmanship. So it’s poetic anarchy to find a kinship between crafts such as knitting and textiles and some of this techy pattern orientated computational art. Marius has already mentioned the obvious similarity between knitting patterns and computational rule-sets such as L-systems. The Institute contains references to the knitting of the hyperbolic plane. Such adventures should be fully congratulated to my mind.
The online exhibition of hyperbolic geometry begins with questioning the validity of Euclidean space in architecture, as it should, then vacates for a flight through a brand new pair of hyperbolic trousers!
I was intrigue by ‘Crystal Clear: An interview with Shea Zellweger’ by Christine Wertheim a little while back at the online version of Cabinet Magazine – an entrÃ©e in to logic crystallography. The IFF was involved in an exhibition of Philosophical toys presenting Shea Zellweger’s logic toys as well as FrÃ¶ebel’s original learning toys.
From the site:
‘In 1953, while working a hotel switchboard, a college graduate named Shea Zellweger began a journey of wonder and obsession that would eventually lead to the invention of a radically new notation for logic. From a basement in Ohio, guided literally by his dreams and his innate love of pattern, Zellweger developed a visual system – called the “Logic Alphabet” – in which a group of specially designed letter-shapes can be manipulated like puzzles to reveal the geometrical patterns underpinning logic. During the 1970’s Zellweger built a series of physical models of his alphabet that recall the educational “gifts” of Friedrich FrÃ¶ebel. Just as FrÃ¶ebel was influenced by the study of crystal structures, which he believed could serve as the foundation for an entire educational framework, so Zellweger’s Logic Alphabet is based on a crystal-like arrangement of its elements. Where the traditional approach to logic is purely abstract, Zellweger’s is geometric, making it amenable to visual play.’