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‘dymaxion car #4’ at ‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov

bucky fuller & spaceship earth is the title of a new exhibition looking at the work of buckminster fuller being held at
ivorypress art + books in madrid. the show is running from september 1 to october 30 and is curated by norman foster
and luis fernández-galiano. the exhibition features drawings and models including the recently completed recreation
of the dymaxion car. foster worked with fuller for the last 12 years of his life and explains that fuller  ‘had a profound
influence on my own work and thinking’. the new dymaxion car was commissioned by foster based on fuller’s own
drawings and prototypes. the prototype was built in east sussex by the car restoration company crosthwaite & gardiner.

http://www.ivorypress.com
http://www.fosterandpartners.com


‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov


‘wichita house model’ at ‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov


‘bucky fuller & spaceship earth’ exhibition at ivorypress art + books, madrid
© sebastian marjanov


dymaxion car #4
©gregory gibbons


dymaxion car #4
©gregory gibbons


dymaxion car #4

The disturbed artist intuited the deep forms of fluid flow.

by Philip Ball
news@nature.com

Vincent van Gogh is known for his chaotic paintings and similarly tumultuous state of mind. Now a mathematical analysis of his works reveals that the stormy patterns in many of his paintings are uncannily like real turbulence, as seen in swirling water or the air from a jet engine.

Physicist Jose Luis Aragon of the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Queretaro and his co-workers have found that the Dutch artist’s works have a pattern of light and dark that closely follows the deep mathematical structure of turbulent flow.

The swirling skies of The Starry Night, painted in 1889, Road with Cypress and Star (1890) and Wheat Field with Crows (1890) — one of the van Gogh’s last pictures before he shot himself at the age of 37 — all contain the characteristic statistical imprint of turbulence, say the researchers.

Starry Night

Starry Night, 1889

These works were created when van Gogh was mentally unstable: the artist is known to have experienced psychotic episodes in which he had hallucinations, minor fits and lapses of consciousness, perhaps indicating epilepsy.

“We think that van Gogh had a unique ability to depict turbulence in periods of prolonged psychotic agitation,” says Aragon.

In contrast, the Self-portrait with Pipe and Bandaged Ear (1888) shows no such signs of turbulence. Van Gogh said that he painted this image in a state of “absolute calm”, having been prescribed the drug potassium bromide following his famous self-mutilation.

Measured chaos

Scientists have struggled for centuries to describe turbulent flow — some are said to have considered the problem harder than quantum mechanics. It is

Road with Cypress Star, 1890

Road with Cypress and Star, 1890

still unsolved, but one of the foundations of the modern theory of turbulence was laid by the Soviet scientist Andrei Kolmogorov in the 1940s.

He predicted a particular mathematical relationship between the fluctuations in a flow’s speed and the rate at which it dissipates energy as friction. Kolmogorov’s work led to equations describing the probability of finding a particular velocity difference between any two points in the fluid. These relationships are called Kolmogorov scaling.

Aragón and colleagues looked at van Gogh’s paintings to see whether they bear the fingerprint of turbulence that Kolmogorov identified. “‘Turbulent’ is the main adjective used to describe van Gogh’s work,” says Aragn. “We tried to quantify this.”

Darkness and light

The researchers took digital images of the paintings and calculated the probability that two pixels a certain distance apart would have the same brightness, or luminance. “The eye is more sensitive to

Wheat Field with Crows, 1890

Wheat Field with Crows, 1890

luminance changes than to colour changes,” they say, “and most of the information in a scene is contained in its luminance.”

Several of van Gogh’s works show Kolmogorov scaling in their luminance probability distributions. To the eye, this pattern can be seen as eddies of different sizes, including both large swirls and tiny eddies created by the brushwork.

Van Gogh seems to be the only painter able to render turbulence with such mathematical precision. “We have examined other apparently turbulent paintings of several artists and find no evidence of Kolmogorov scaling,” says Aragon.

The Scream, 1893

The Scream, 1893

Edvard Munch’s The Scream, for example, looks to be superficially full of van Gogh-like swirls, and was painted by a similarly tumultuous artist, but the luminance probability distribution doesn’t fit Kolmogorov’s theory.

The distinctive styles of other artists can be described by mathematical formulae.

Full Fathom Five, 1947

Full Fathom Five, 1947

Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings, for example, bear distinct fractal patterns.

Visit our newsblog to read and post comments about this story.

1 Aragón I., et al. Preprint http://www.arxiv.org/abs/physics/0606246 (2006).

Article Copyright © 2006 MacMillan Publishers Ltd. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Black Hole

Black Hole

black-hole-illusion-large

Naked Singularities

Naked Singularities

Hadron

Hadron

black hole diagram

black hole diagram

Hourglass Nebula

Hourglass Nebula

Sphere Streamlines

Sphere Streamlines

Imagine a tunnel, a point in space that leads you from A to B. An endless journey of wonder. Perhaps you may encounter some likely characters and perhaps not.  Signifier and signified can often defy any known symbols in this vernacular. A new vocabulary must be developed, not to explain the way things are but rather, to re-imagine the way in which we generate systems to describe it.

Does a vortex in fact occupy space or would you call it anti-space? How do you describe the idea of infinity? If our bodies are finite, how is it even possible to fathom the infinite?

Given that black holes (may) exist, where do they lead to? Are they portals to another place or simply a way to arrive at more black holes?

Perfect circles do not exist in nature and yet we use them as symbols of perfection as if they describe the truth. What is perfection? Does symmetry truly describe beauty? Why is the golden ratio appealing to the human eye?

Does the elusive number Pi contain a hidden message that we have yet to uncover? Perhaps buried in its 11 dimensions.

Words to think about:

Hidden Variable: assumes that quantum events are determined by a subquantum system acting outside or before the universe of space-time known to us. It has been suggested that the hidden variable is consciousness or information.

Nonlocal: Not depending upon space and time. A nonlocal effect occurs instantaneously and with no attenuation due to distance.

Infinite Regress

Schrodinger’s Cat in a box

Information

Singularity

Geometry

Tunnel/Vortex/Black Hole

Symmetry

Fractal/Repetition

Also known as the Golden Ratio, The Golden Section, The Golden Number, The Divine Proportion, The Fibonacci sequence, The Fibonacci spiral, The Fibonacci ratio and Phi, this irrational number has eluded man for centuries. But the most elusive thing about it is how frequently it appears in our world, from the nautilus shell, to the branching patterns of leaves to the complex galaxies in our universe.

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