Monday, April 21, 2008

Building Blocks (Or Some Such Structural Element)

Once in a very blue moon, a book, movie, album or other piece of inspiration comes along and simply shakes everything you know.

Recently, a co-worker of mine passed just such a thing along to me.

The book is called A Beginner's Guide to Constructing the Universe: The Mathematical Archetypes of Nature, Art, and Science (A Voyage from 1 to 10) and was published in 1994 by HarperCollins (a newer edition is available which includes the numbers 11 and 12, though the cover is the same and still leaves a little to be desired.) The author, Michael S. Schneider, illuminates the importance of numbers by delving into geometry, physics, art, architecture and spirituality. For any thinker, but specifically design-thinker, structuralist or artist, this book makes poetry out of the math inherent in our surroundings. Michael S. Schneider's knowledge and observational power is staggering. But what's more is his uncanny ability to draw forth and clarify all the connections around us.

The ideas within this book are imperative for any student of design, because it starts you(one) down the path of realizing the interconnectivity of musical, structural and visual harmony.

This same webwork was recognized by Brooklyn's Byron Kalet, firestarter and editor of the Journal of Popular Noise, who made the jump from merely discussing the relationships of musical and typographic harmony to proving them in his beautiful and complex periodicals. Each issue of the journal is comprised of a gorgeous letter-pressed poster which folds in a very curious and sophisticated manner to house 3 records by 3 different artists, who are each tasked with constructing a recto and verso based on some predefined structural constraints.

This notion of interconnectivity is profound – something I champion daily – and it is reassuring to see true visionaries expounding on this idea.

Michael S. Schneider and Byron Kalet's contributions should be experienced. The links above will take you further.