Monday, September 17, 2012

Project Sparking

After reading Dalia's response to Weight, I think I might have the seeds to a project. Trying to understand wholeness, I've become attached to the idea of the multidimensional. In response to Dalia's post, I replied:

The way I see how stories are, in their wholeness, likens to the concept of counting. We can count from 1 to 3 and know that a 2 is between them. However, when we begin to acknowledge the infinite numbers between 1 and 3 with the introduction of a decimal point... I guess that's when things get interesting. We could spend a whole life time recording those numbers and never be close to its infinity.

Enumeration of Cantor's Diagonal Argument, Image: Guillermo Martínez
The concept of an infinity existing in a (seemingly) finite space confuses and fascinates me. I'm obviously not the first to find it beautiful. The mathematician Georg Cantor published his proof of the diagonal argument in 1891 illustrating and describing these numbers as "uncountable." You really can find poetry in anything, but like my friend once said, "Everything can be poetry, but not everything is poetry." Maybe we are tasked with finding poetry in the density of things. I like to think of curiosity as such. It seems that I need to read up on mathematics concepts to make some more (other) sense. Something I really appreciate in empirical studies are their often boring diagrams and charts. For me, it makes more sense to visually see ideas rather than getting lost in foreign vocabularies. Infographics have become more popularized now that they're featured in the New York Times. These graphs require the proper ratio of the quantitative and visual. It's a serious art form, study of design, and, really, psychology.

Mark Lombardi, Chicago Outfit and Satellite Regimes
c. graphite on paper, 48 1 / 8 x 96 5 / 8 inches, Image: Francesco Franchi
Luckily, I have a collection of books, still unread, or partially read. My study of design has inspired my affinity for Edward Tufte, a statistician and designer of information visualizations. I recently revisited his book, Envisioning Information, for an astronomy class (that's been way over my head). It seems like nothing short of necessary to make sense of , or interpret, information. It's like blinking; we do it without realizing when, where, and how we're doing it.  I'm interested in how we tangibly visualize our connections. I think I'll test out how far I can take this mind-mapping and research the Method of Ioci, the memory palace. I recall Mark Lombardi, an artist who specializes in mapping conspiracy theories.  It may be the obsessive compulsive tendencies talking, but his maps are so clean and orderly. Ideas are messy.

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