Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Craftman´s model- Macrocosm

Craftsman’s Model- Macrocosm
Paper, Graphite, Tape, Pasteboard, Light tubes, Salt, Transformators, Wire, Stainless steel.

Macrocosm is the first of the three-parted- Macro, meso and microcosm Installation-project under the name of “Craftsman’s model” presented at my final graduation show at the Aki (art academy Enschede).
Now this is obviously a mighty old work to have here on the blog, but it somehow still deals and refers to a lot of issues that I have been dealing and still do nowadays and I got ambitious to dig it up again. Talk about that.
The idea behind -Macro, meso and microcosm is an ancient Greek schema of seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level), towards forms and measures of everyday life (this represents the visual and haptical relevant and conceivable objects within the living environment called-middle or mesocosm) and all the way down to the smallest scale (microcosm or sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level).
This concept matches with the inside we gained through chaos theory and its observations in the field of fractal geometrics.
As popular example serves that the satellite images of coastlines of Norway seem to resemble the shore lines of the Norwegian coastal mappings that than again seems to resemble the structures that one can observe while walking Norway’s rocky shores (Fjords).
By setting up the Craftsman’s model I was blessed by a patron that provided me with a 400-m2 industrial loft in witch during a six-month period had the chance to set up a field laboratory- to study the different dimensions by using mathematical (Macrocosm), optical (Mesocosm) and chemical/ mineralogical (Microcosm) level.
The exhibition title “Craftsman’s model” derived from Plato’s Timaeus. C.360 B.C. in which he compares the creating force (God) with a Craftsman modeling with the materials that are available
to him- towards the ideal and eternal bodies.
The ideal eternal bodies are associated each of the four classical elements (earth, air, water, and fire) with a regular solid (geometrical bodies).
Earth was associated with the cube, air with the octahedron, water with the icosahedron, and fire with the tetrahedron. Thinking from a sculpture’s perspective one can hardly come up with a more plastically- logical thinking. There are five elements, whose shapes inhered the idea and very soul of matter. As you follow his reasoning, you can see what I am bragging on about.
There was intuitive justification for these associations: the heat of fire feels sharp and stabbing (like little pyramid shaped tetrahedral). Air is made of the octahedron; its round shape and minuscule components are so smooth that one can barely feel it. Water, the icosahedron, flows out of one's hand when picked up, as if it is made of tiny little balls. By contrast, a highly un-spherical solid, the hexahedron (cube) represents earth. These clumsy little solids cause dirt to crumble and break when picked up, in stark difference to the smooth flow of water. The fifth Platonic solid, the dodecahedron, Plato obscurely remarks, "...the god used for arranging the constellations on the whole heaven". Aristotle added a fifth element, aithêr ("ether" in English) and postulated that the heavens were made of this element, but he had no interest in matching it with Plato's fifth solid.

Well let’s talk about the Macrocosm, which refers to the celestial bodies we can observe in the night sky. Western astrology has had a profound influence over the past few thousand years on Western and Eastern cultures. In the middle Ages, when the educated of the time believed in astrology, the system of heavenly spheres and bodies was believed to reflect on the system of knowledge and the world itself below.
In the 16th century, the German astronomer Johannes Kepler attempted to find a relation between the five known planets at that time (excluding the Earth) and the five Platonic solids.
In Mysterium Cosmographicum, published in 1596, Kepler laid out a model of the solar system in which the five solids were set inside one another and separated by a series of inscribed and circumscribed spheres. The six spheres each corresponded to one of the planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn). The solids were ordered with the innermost being the octahedron, followed by the icosahedron, dodecahedron, tetrahedron, and finally the cube. In this way the Platonic solids dictated the structure of the solar system and the distance relationships between the planets.
I am not very familiar with the here quoted discipline and even though it has been inspirational influence my interest towards the macrocosm came from other angles. The idea of the Craftsman’s model exhibition was all about first hand experience and experimenting. Thinking about Kepler´s approach it becomes quite obvious that dealing with the stars is always linked to a fascination with geometry and structure.
Think about a pitch-black nigh sky. Stars radiant like needle puncture points in tar sheets.
A first imprinted impulse we feel is connecting the most radiant points with lines. It’s just a human approach that we want to grasp substance and shape within the sheer fathomless deepness.
The installation Macrocosm is showing four geometrical bodies that play with concept of space. Just like the platonic forms of the crystals also two forms of triangles construct these shapes. While the geometrical shape of for example crystals arise through the process of evolution - the objects of the Macrocosm are constructed by the human mind. The four shown constructions are the only possible spatial spherical constructions that can be constructed using the building blocks of the craftsman’s model, that using the same triangles but do not represent the platonic bodies.
The first construction drawing was done with graphite, tape and pasteboard to paper on the wall. For the basic lines that were added later on I used light uses and steel-profiles. It was very important for me to show all steps of the development process in this work. The original drawing became as well as the cables and electric elements part of the final picture.
Seen from different angles the objects might seem to be spatial but they consist out of two-dimensional layers.
Light-tubes are taped from the backside and dimmed by a thin layer of salt crystals. An unintentional but worth to mentioning side effect was that the light-figures stayed for a few minutes as a retina-reflection in the eye of the visitors

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