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March 25, 2008

The Folds in a Labyrinth

When people walk labyrinths they mark their journeys with evidence of having been at a certain destination. This evidence can be as visible and tangible as the folds in a paper. The fold carries the same weight as a footprint in one's journey. They both suggest a kind of entry. Somehow though, a fold can be more permanent. Footprints often disappear, but in the case of a paper, when we unfold, we can still see what was folded, this is something that is retained. It serves as a form of memory and we are able to see that which is internal and external. When we stumble upon footprints we are tempted into following a track which appears to have already been taken. This is also the case for the fold-- the memory of the crease is strong and when we see it there is temptation to re-fold in the same position. Because it works as a permission to re-enter the prior fold, It makes our return more possible and welcome.

If this is the case, I'd like to explore the directions we are given (or not given) when we walk labyrinths. If we are without footprints, are we to assume that our journey is already pre-mapped? That is, are we to only follow the direction we start in and not make any turns? Do turns even exist in labyrinths? What is allowed?

Posted by pbali at 06:51 PM | Comments (1)

Random Haiku Generator

I'd like to share a few of the haikus I came across on this site:

Traffic slows. The nun
plants the pill beneath the sheets.
I’ve got plenty more.

The chain-smoking niece
calmly sets fire to her hair.
Where did the time go?

His ex-fiancee
covers her eyes with sack-cloth.
It's all circular.

The Czech go-go girl
covers her eyes with sack-cloth.
There is never time.

Posted by pbali at 04:32 PM | Comments (1)

March 11, 2008

Labyrinths: journey to the center

"The way in is the way out"

The notion of labyrinths is that the path to the center, the destination, is circular, and perhaps symmetric. On the contrary, a maze is meant to confuse; its a puzzle which is difficult to navigate. It is somewhat of a bifurcating system. Labyrinths do not welcome dead ends. This is as if to suggest that the only way to the center is via the route provided, which, although isn't a straight line, will eventually lead you back to where you started.

I propose a question that I am currently working on in my semester project. Which is, can there be a maze within the labyrinth we are walking? For instance, is it possible to arrive at the center through another mode? Is it possible that we get sidetracked on our journeys through the labyrinth?

Can we depart from its original path, and surrender into the temptation of deviating for awhile?

For the purpose of seeing what is possible? (Isn't this a valid reason to do anything?)

Perhaps we need to get lost first before we find our way back to the center, and maybe its not even the center that we desire -- what about corners? This idea adds some asymmetry to a perfectly rounded, symmetric labyrinth.

This path may not always guarantee us the destination we desire, but how can we know for sure if we do not try?

Posted by pbali at 07:14 PM | Comments (1)

March 08, 2008

the beads

Here are some observations on our interaction with the beaded strings (or necklaces, or anything else people might seem them as):

1) People interact with them in different ways. And the way they interact with them is a result of how they asses the structure and the whole idea of the beads.
2) When two separate beaded necklaces interact, an interlocking system is formed.
3) This achievement is made possible through a support system — the table — in this case.
4) The meaning of the beads changes as we interact with them. There is a departure from its inherited identity.
5) We experiment with what is possible.
6) There is a need to see each bead as its own and not as a collection, an entity.
7) To say that they are all the same may be belittling the work that goes into the making of the beads.
8) They have the same appearance, but upon our interaction with them we can change them, manipulate their appearance, and experiment with the purposes they may serve. Once we interact with them, or noticeably alter their appearance, they are never the same, and they have become somehow different.
9) Sometimes we can document this change by taking pictures — this is a way to satisfies people’s desire to maintain a degree of permanence.
10) Impressions and markings are made that can’t always be seen.


Posted by pbali at 06:55 PM | Comments (1)

Broadening the Scope of Symmetry

David Wade’s Symmetry: The Ordering Principal, explores the notion of symmetry as it is seen in science, mathematics, art, and culture. The idea of symmetry seems to be applicable to almost anything: “there is nowhere that its principals do not penetrate,” he says. To contain symmetry means to contain balance and proportion. Wade suggests these things cannot exist without “transformation, or disturbance, or movement,” or in a sense — asymmetry. This is a fascinating paradox.

This book led me to ponder the consequences of asymmetry. Can the things that are deemed asymmetric exist just as fully and endure in the same way that symmetric things can? And can what seems to be symmetric actually be asymmetric? (Like the design on the cover of the book, for instance). This is something I discovered last week in class with the paper folding experiment. I began with one diagonal fold, having no intention of maintaining evenness on each side. I folded in no particular pattern, but what I ended up with was a shape that looked like a perfectly structured cone. With its folds, it appeared symmetric. It was only with the unfolding, when the paper became flat again, that the creased lines appeared to have no symmetry at all. So perhaps what we see as containing equality and perfect harmony is only playing tricks on us.

It seems that almost all things may start out being symmetric, but later deviate towards something else, a different pattern. Is it possible for the same thing to be both symmetric and asymmetric? If so, what do we identify it as? Consider the shape of a fork. If this object is cut horizontally and folded over, we have asymmetry. The opposite is true if we divide it vertically.


Five interlocking tetahedra. Is this symmetric?

Posted by pbali at 05:17 PM | Comments (1)