Tuesday, December 26, 2006


Stephen Beck has been building video synths and making multimedia art since the late 60's, and he's our latest video thing hero (I'm going to kill those ads and bring back the hero links this week, btw).
His work 'video weavings' actually got displayed on theDiamond Vision giant video screen at Shea Stadium during a Mets game in 1982.

It comes from the magic squares devised by Arabian thinkers of the sixth and seventh centuries, when they mastered algebra and applied algebra to their art. The religion of Islam forbids any representational image. It's a totally different concept of visual expression than what we have; you're just not permitted to portray an object of creation. It's largely based on portraying what we would call mathematical harmonies. Their wonderful arabesques and domes and patterns are all manifestations of mathematics, which in our day and age we would find in some equation in a book, which perhaps makes it less vivid, and less important to many people. People ask me sometimes, 'Is this mathematical? How does this relate to mathematics?' And I say, 'It is mathematics, just like music is mathematics.' You have implicit structures of harmonies and ratios. Instead of music, where there is vibration of air, here it's the vibration of light, with different colors and patterns. You don't have to relate to it as a drab mathematical theorem or equation. It takes on a much more vivid presence.

Found Via Cory Arcangel

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