At Church

A couple of years back, a photographer friend of mine and myself checked out a small abandoned industrial zone in the periphery of Bloomington. We went there on a frosty Sunday morning and likened the experience very much to going to church.

Large storage buildings now serve as meeting halls for lost souls,

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piles of card board provide a scripture without words,

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stained glass windows tell stories of distant suffering,

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unused screws (not nails) draw like grass in the sand,

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and the mandatory relic doesn’t promise any hope.

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The place now has been demolished. Too bad.

Emergence

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In my previous post about snow trilliums, I had lamented this year’s demise of them due to bitter frost after a period of warm days, and documented my claim with a a picture of a plant that looked to me like a very dead trillium. Not so, as a good friend has pointed out. The dead plant was in fact a hepatica, and is back, still with brown leaves, but also with nice little white flowers. Up close:

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And, even better, the snow trilliums I had taken for dead, are out, too.

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A little curiosity today was a small patch of three snow trilliums that had pink veins. Pretty.

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Zion Rock Art

The rock formations in Zion National Park make it almost impossible to take poor pictures. Well, that’s a pretty vacuus statement. Let’s put it this way: Taking decent landscapes photos is way easier in Utah than in Indiana. So, here are images from Zion of a slightly different kind.

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While in my Spheres series I am trying to create abstract 3-dimensional art, here I am trying to squeeze the inherently 3-dimensional concrete landscape into abstract 2-dimensional art.

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I like about this approach that it becomes irritating, because the viewer loses her footing. She neither knows where she belongs in relation to the image, nor how big or small the image (or she) is supposed to be, nor whether she has to orient herself horizontally, upwards, or downwards.

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It also makes it easy to lie. Not all of these photos were taken in Zion. Some are from the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. None, however, are from Indiana. I swear.

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Expanding Your Mind (Spheres IV)

Circles can also intersect perpendicularly in a more complicated way than discussed in Spheres IV. Like so:

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This might look complicated, but is in fact just a transformed version of the easier to grasp dart disk:

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To see how these two images are related, pretend the radial lines in the second image are in fact huge circles that all intersect in the center point. Then they will also intersect in another point, which is, in the case of lines, the ominous point at infinity, but, in the case of circles, becomes just another point in the plane. This other point and the origin are the common points of one family of circles, as you can see in the first image, and the second family of circles intersects the first perpendicularly. The first image can be transformed into the second by what is called an inversion.

If we want to repeat this in three dimensions, it is maybe best to start with the second image, replacing the radial lines by vertical green planes, and the circles by concentric blue spheres. Then, something curious happens. Lines and circles are in some sense the same thing, and so are planes and spheres. But if we look for a third family of surfaces that intersect the planes and spheres orthogonally, we need to step outside the plane/sphere paradigm. It turns out that we need vertical red cones to cut both the blue spheres and the green planes perpendicularly:

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Now, coming back to the 3D version of the first image, we just need to invert the above cones, planes, spheres as to become this:

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The red surface is called a cyclide. It has two cusps that correspond to the tip of the cone and the (still ominous) point at infinity.

Now imagine that you are inside that cyclide, looking around…

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Special Needs

The Best Friends Animal Society has their head quarters near Kanab, Utah. In a world where people kill each other because of a joke, the people here work for the sake of animals whose only privilege it is to be not human. My daughter and I volunteered in Benton’s House for special needs cats (blind, incontinent, you name it) for a few hours to just socialize with animals that would have been euthanized in most animal shelters long ago. I have no more words.

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The Shape of Time (Sand Art II)

No, these dunes are not pink. The Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park is purposefully misnamed, but it is still a place worth visiting.

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The cream-orange colored sand offers home to a variety of life forms, all of which seem to be eager to leave some sort of trace. Here, this is in vain, as the rough high altitude has slowed down time. Any efforts of growth are reduced, and feeble attempts of drawing in the sand have become minimalistic.

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Often, it is impossible to discern whether the specimens are still alive or dead.

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But, even if dead, there is still art that can be shaped.

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Stronger forces are attempting to leave longer lasting traces.

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Fortunately, the State Park officer is armed, and time will reduce these tracks quickly to their proper relevance.

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Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design is the slightly provocative title of a small, overpriced book I wrote, containing black and white graphics that show simple geometric phenomena, with explanations.

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The constraint for the design was that it had to be cut out by a die cutter. I had acquired a Silhouette Cameo which can import AutoCAD dxf files and cut these very accurately (from card stock, for instance). One can then use these cutouts as window art.

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The process puts interesting constraints on the graphics. It needs to be connected (otherwise it will just fall apart), simple, and simultaneously intricate.

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Under these constraints, one can still achieve a modest 3D effect by thickening parts that should be close to the viewer.

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This is a 7-4 torus knot. Look at it from some distance.