Mathematicians and Philosophers have long utilized it for elegant argumentation. After all, discarding details can make ideas much clearer.
|The geometry, color, lines of a crisp, winter afternoon.|
The holiday bustle of downtown
Santa Cruz is off frame.
Artists, from the time of the Modernists on, have experimented along this path too. Reduce Art to its elements, they thought, and extract it's essence.
I was just considering a Mark Rothko today. With luminous color fields as his subject, he sought to bring forth poetry from the canvas. Go sit and ponder, preferably in the museum, and let me know if you see it too.
|Mark Rothko at the SF MoMA|
This image does not do justice to
the colors emanating from the canvas.
Not to be left out, novelists also pen thought-provoking abstract ideas, sometimes with great humor. One of my favorite books, "Flatland," is by a Victorian mathematician/writer with a gift for social satire. (Warning: Oncoming geek out.) Imagine flattening Victorian society onto a two-dimensional plane -- England with no depth. The inhabitants appear as geometric shapes associated with their status in society. Triangles line the bottom. Squares and greater-sided polygons rank higher. Circles comprise the Elite, for aren't circles just regular polygons with so many sides, they've managed to smooth their kinks out. Note, all these descriptions apply only to Men. Women do not even get to be polygons. They are merely line segments!
Due to the limitations of two dimensions, identifying each member of Flatland society is done with some difficulty. Along comes a three-dimensional Sphere - with the ability to see all their shapes. It doesn't take much to point out how dull, blind and lacking these ridiculous Flatlanders are! Imagine how much more enlightened a four-dimensional Being would be looking at the world.
|Black, white, and red.|
The tiles were an installation at the SF MoMA.
50% black, 50% white, 100% randomly laid out.
If I've gotten your head completely whirled with talk of polygons and planes, ignore me (and take an aspirin). I'm simply distracted and abstracted. And thinking of all those dimensions I am blind to, so far.