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Individually, we have in our possession the most powerful technology humankind has ever seen, the smartphone. Historically, we live in our homes, work in offices and go places for recreation and to interact with family and friends. Being in these physical locations gives us a sense of place, of history. But more and more we find ourselves not so much in a physical location interacting with the world in real time, but in a virtual place, with our phones navigating our psyches. And social media has overwhelmingly become the facilitator of this new journey we are collectively traveling in. In its path, language is being reduced, with symbols replacing words and abbreviations replacing sentences. The hash symbol has become the symbol most representing the zeitgeist in this new terrain. When we publish a hashtag, were attaching metadata that links us to the world. We become searchable. We can be found. The work #43hashtags, as the name says, has 43 hash symbols. Each one is different representing diversity; that behind each hashtag is a person. The number 43 came about when trying to create a cloud like shape and 43 was just the amount needed to accomplish it. This reference to the mysterious place where the data is, the CLOUD, is metaphor for the place where our virtual selves reside.
Living with a lifelong passion for Geometry and year-long isolation from the devastating pandemic Covid, artist and curator Mark Starel of Warsaw Poland brought the two together (geometry & mask) with his newest exhibit COVIMETRY.
Today human survival is dependent upon our using an “antivirus” mask covering our most noted communication tool, our mouths, along with noses and much of our face. The mask has hindered our ability to read others expressions and feelings. By adopting the mask as a template and canvas, it now becomes a form for expression- even if just a fragment of a bigger picture of our times metaphorically.
Starel also brought together over 300 artists, uniting continents and likeminded geo-zealots. His intention is to grow the exhibit until it reaches 1000 artists, representing every country as a global community. Different artistic strategies are conveyed, exploring the shape and structure of the mask through the inclusion of a variety of media, styles and techniques that allow for contemporary notions of how geometry is being investigated today.
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How I tackled my entry was to look at the hexagon and how it might fit in relation to the shape of the mask. I had just finished the artwork CIRCULUX I, a celebration of spinning circles at the corner points and centers of hexagons. Superimposing CIRCULUX I on top of the mask, I aligned two sides of the hexagon with the side corners while centering a hexagon between them. The V rests on top of the central hexagon locking it’s geometry to that of the mask.
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This work is inspired by Islamic art in my own modern way. It is constructed with nine rings of eight Khatim-Sulayman stars. Khatim-Sulayman stars are eight pointed stars that first began to appear in Islamic art in the middle ages. Khatim-Sulayan means “seal of the prophets” and are known to denote life, from birth to death. The eight pointed stars would continue to appear symbolically in spiritual traditions in many cultures around the world through history.
Here, each star is constructed with eight kites. When put together, the eight kites inscribe another eight pointed star in its center. Inscribed within this ring of eight, eight pointed stars, is a large eight pointed star with an octagon at its center. Also, inscribed in the interstitial spaces between the nine rings are four more large eight pointed stars and octagons.
“Isosceles Follies I” is composed solely of these two isosceles triangles.
From Euclid’s Elements – Book I – definition XX:
Of trilateral figures, an equilateral triangle is that which has its three sides equal, an isosceles triangle that which has two of its sides alone equal, and a scalene triangle that which has its three sides unequal.