Math rock officially rocks my world.

I have friends who claim to be great music connoisseurs but when mentioning Math Rock and The Ruins, they gave me puzzled looks. While initially being equally ignorant to Math Rock’s existence, I can now retell the tale of how I was introduced to the genre from the creator himself. While I’m not a musician and I can’t identify a dissonant riff from a fire truck siren, I was still blown away by the performance. I was pleasantly surprised at how complex the rhythmic composition was. At one point I thought it was the end of the piece and the music would stop but he kept building up the sound. I thought the looped parts, which he mentioned were improvised, were inspiring.

It’s interesting how music can share the same complexities to a math equation. It’s even more fascinating how something like the Golden ratio can be used in architecture, in potentially determining beauty, and in nature. In learning that Leonardo De Vinci was informed by the Golden ratio, I became interested in seeing how other artists have been influenced. Wikipedia, not one of the most reliable sources but a great starting place for information, mentions a few artists who were informed by the Golden ratio. Mondrian created his geometrical red, blue, and yellow artworks, Dali skillfully painted the Sacrament of the Last Supper, and Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s The Roses of Heliogabalus is a beautiful painting that is almost a perfect golden rectangle.

More recently, artists like Billie Ruth Sudduth, an artist who crafts baskets, uses the Golden ratio and Fibonacci Numbers as the basis of her designgolden ratios. You can see her work here. Kees van Prooijen is also influenced by the Golden ration and music within his art work. His website can be seen here. I also found a large collection of work from the website which includes paintings, photography, and collage, all inspired by Geometry, fractals, and the Golden ratio. Another contemporary artist, Andrew Rogers, creates earthworks and sculptures which seem to be largely determined by harmony, rhythm, form , and composition. In Jerusalem, he installed a piece titled “Golden Ratio”, a stack of stones with gold edging in a Fibonacci sequence along a street. It is a great example of minimalistic sculpture that is not only using the Golden Ratio in an artistic practice but is purely about the concept of the Golden Ratio.

While doing my research, I stumbled upon this. It has an informative article titled “Design By Numbers” which reiterates everything we have learned in class so far. What really grabbed my attention was another article about John Maeda, who I hadn’t heard of, but is apparently a “world-renowned graphic designer and computer scientist”. Maeda believes that the computer is not a substitute for a paint brush but is its own medium. Design By Numbers is a book he wrote explaining the philosophy and how-to of programming for artists. Unlike in Linda Dalrymple Henderson’s article, who doesn’t bother to even adequately explain non-Euclidian math, Maeda assumes his readers/artists will be mathematically challenged and takes the time to explain minimal math concepts. Maeda has also built a programming language named DBN (design by numbers) and is very basic and suppose to be easy to use, once again catering to “visual people” with limited computer skills. You can download it for free here. Enjoy.



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