Friday, June 26, 2009

Circle of Firsts

To finish off my discussion of this year's BKLYN DESIGNS show is a designer I've posted about before, Takeshi Miyakawa. He was showing a number of new pieces that were all very cool. The one I wanted to talk about, though, is a sort of shelving installation piece called "Rite of Spring":
Click for larger.

The more I continue to study the History of Music over the past 500 years, the more I grow to see just how very few true revolutions there have been. Igor Stravinsky's 1913 ballet was, I believe, one of them. To this day, I can't listen to this masterpiece without chills running from my head to my toes and having a difficult time breathing. Not that what he did to music came out of nowhere, quite the contrary, but I consider this piece to the the birth of Punk. Certainly many more things would have to have happened before 1976 would be possible. But the power that music has to not only rile its audience to emotional heights, but to also scandalize the listener into a profound, riotous fury was suddenly proven by The Rite of Spring. After this point, it would happen over and over. This reconstruction of the original ballet also shows the unbridled genius of Sergei Diaghilev:
One can only hope and pray that for the hundredth anniversary of The Rite of Spring four years from now, New York City Ballet, arguably the step-grandchild of Diaghilev's Ballet Russes, will gather together all the greatest artists at its disposal and unveil a startling new production of it.

I think what I love most about Miyakawa's work is that, whether or not it does explore complex mathematical principles precisely, it often looks like it does.
And with a mystical kind of reverence for mathematics: there's the spot in the middle of the upper and lower sections where the box resulting from the steadily diminishing size has just...disappeared. It's as if the formula dictating the size of the boxes eventually divides down to zero, leaving an empty space where the box should be in the center. It's the same reverence one might have for how a circle, in some ways the most perfectly self-contained of all geometric shapes, gives rise to Pi, which is presumably unsolvable and infinite.

Although this new piece is stunning, I think I'd like to see Miyakawa push this a step further and start exploring more complex geometries. For instance, I'd be interested to look at the ways that nature uses geometric rules with the flexibility to produce similar but only ever utterly unique individual objects and organisms, or explore geometries that appear chaotic from one vantage point and very strictly ordered from another. Nevertheless, this is a designer whose work I believe is going in a very exciting direction, and I intend to keep my eye on what he's up to.

©2009, Ryan Witte

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