It feels to me as if something is coming close to an end. I can’t quite figure out what it is, is it the impending hand-in date for this journal? Or is it the now ever-constant coverage of global warming that’s getting me down? Or could it be the ever-dwindling student loan in my bank account combined with a scarily low number of days before the end of my University year. It all seems to have just sneaked into my consciousness without much prior warning.
Ending. Owned by my friend Fred it is memories of this guitar that are my first memories of any guitar. It seems to have been around for ever and I’m sure has inspired many; well at least me and Fred. This is a ritual burning of it, after it was rendered useless by a short drunken Scottish man.
I’m currently on a skiing trip in Vallandry, a small alpine village near Albertville in southern France. I’ve been here a few times before, but not for 3 or 4 years. Nothing has changed though, except here there is, too, a new-found awareness of global warming issues. The risk of the skiing trade disappearing has just jumped from nothing, to everything (in the property investors minds, anyway).
Climate change is a serious issue, but as it is patently clear; we’ve created a big problem. We now have to tackle the problem with gusto – I can’t think how better to put it! Believe it or not, when I phoned up my school friend Lindsay when I was 13, really distressed about the fact the world was “going to fuck up” imminently, I reflected (at the time) that I was overreacting. I guess I wasn’t really.
I just read in a newspaper that British Airways looses 23 bags out of each 1000 they load on to a plane – the worst in Europe.
Compliance. After jumping through hoops, doing obstacle courses, burning enough fuel to power the city for a day and a financial outlay equal to a small country’s national debt; I finally received my valid UK passport. It was ordained with this insightful label.
I’m on holiday with my immediate family – a Christmas present to to us all from my Dad – and also with my auntie, uncle and two of their friends. Its quite a giggle and definitely a stark contrast to my cleshay-ridden and wholly student-like existence. Without going into too much detail describing my friends and family’s background; being on holiday with such a concentration of knowledge and intellect, that is rooted in such different methods and concepts to that of my peer group, is very uplifting. Inspirational in a way.
Last night a conversation arose about sudoku, it turns out my auntie is an avid player, while my uncle doesn’t really play at all. I’m quite a fan of sudoku, despite the huge amount of time it takes me to complete even an easy grid. Its a real art form. Apparently, this is the number of combinations you could have for a 9*9 sudoku grid.
Six sextillion, six hundred and seventy quintillion,
nine hundred and three quadrillion,
seven hundred and fifty two trillion,
twenty one billion, seventy two million,
nine hundred and thirty six thousand,
nine hundred and sixty.
Its definitely one of those things where the actual number doesn’t matter. You just know; its a lot.
I also read an amazing article in the New Scientist last night (New Scientist makes excellent holiday reading, although I forgot this week and had to borrow my brother’s copy!) that talked about number patterns just like sudoku. Mathematicians in the Europe only discovered these magic ways of arranging number in the last few hundred years, even though the Chinese have been aware of them for over 4000 years. Fancy that. It turns out that these magic squares, which are the same as sudoku squares, are actually invaluable tools for writing computer error-checking codes. By utilising these squares, a computer or electronic circuit, can transmit a message over an extremely “noisy” wire and actually decode it at the other end. By using the square, a computer can convert an extremely poorly transmitted message with missing or incorrect characters in, such as; ” e i br n rox he zlay uog” into the correct message “the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog”.
The same kind of techniques are used already for the Internet, digital TV and CD/DVD drives, but by utilising the sudoku squares scientists can transmit high-bandwidth digital signals over electric power lines – the hardest thing to send a message through because of the extreme high voltage and crudeness of the lines. Its quite an odd thing to write about in the context of art, but for one it gave me that warm feeling I get when I see a movie that I really love, or an inspirational piece of art work, or listen to an amazing piece of music. But secondly, the point that really grabbed me was that mathematicians discovered these number patterns some time ago, but never really understood them and just thought of them as a game. Now they’re being used at the cutting edge of technology to do something truly influential. The article included the sentence “maths can, once again, be seen as an art form.” I think that’s kinda cool.
Origami by Joe Gilardi. This is a dollar bill, creased, folder, cut up and put together again in this form. Another musing I arrived at whilst reading the New Scientist was the crossovers that exist between high-level mathematics, magical illusions and art; they’re rife. I doubt I could be a magician, but it’d be cool to explore any artistic magical possibilities that arise.
During our conversation about Sudoku, however, my uncle (a psychiatrist, psychotherapist and author) raised a question of what it is to guess? Also how to distinguish between this and an estimate. I wish my alcohol-impaired brain could remember the exact context of the question; it was to do with the human way (as opposed to a computer) of completing a sudoku grid- almost everyone makes assumptions that they’re not sure of in order to see if they’re correct. Just like guessing a word in a crossword; you may be wrong but even if it is it may well lead to some other correct answers. I thought it’d be cool to do some work reflecting on humans ability to guess and estimate. I’m sure that most guesses are actually more informed than the “guessee” thinks at the time.
Irrelevant Pomp. I created a WikiPedia page for my Dad… it says it “Lacks Relevance”. In fitting with that sentiment, here is a photo that lacks relevance, but one that I think captures the spirit of an instant in London.