Additive Text Composite B

Graphics   2014

The sketch ‘Additive Text Composite B’ deals with the fascinating phenomenon of emergence. It describes the formation of patterns, structures and symmetries, that is to say the appearance of novel properties in the cosmos - f.i. the patterns created by wind on sandscapes, the fractal structures of ice-crystals, flower buds, trees, capillary-systems of blood vessels or of river courses, social networks, self-regulation and trends at the marketplace or the evolution of technology.

In the sciences of physics, biology, systems-science and evolutionary theory emergence is based on a complex interaction of two or more components. How this works is only beginning to be understood. The significance and mystical quality of this phenomenon is that it expresses the fundamental faculty or function of nature at large to self-organize and to self- assemble.

In this way, the entirety of evolution as well as the miracle of life can be conceived of as an emergent phenomenon based on the interaction of particles: from the physiosphere, that is matter, emerged the biosphere, that is life, from which emerged the noosphere, that is mind. Mind respectively now has born its own evolutionary strand in the form of technology (sustained by its own developmental progress). It would be shortsighted to assume that the contemporary state of consciousness and of insight would be the final expression of intelligence, which won’t develop further. Indeed, the development of multi-perspectival (self-) awareness is arguably the most important process in this area that has been ongoing since several decades or even longer.

I have used the following texts for this image:

1. A. H. Maslow - A Theory of Human Motivation

2. Alick Bartholomew - The Startling Insights of Viktor Schauberger

  1. 3.Abelson, Sussman, Sussman - Structure and Interpretation of Computer             


4. William Rockhil - Diary of a Journey Through Mongolia in 1891

5. Hakim Bey - T.A.Z. - The Temporary Autonomous Zone

6. Susan Blackmore - The Meme Machine

7. Adele Faber - How to Talk So Kids Will Listen

8. Joseph Tainter - The Collapse of Complex Societies

9. Jean Bottéro - Cooking in Mesopotamia

  1. 10.Khenpo Rimpoche - Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness

So, why do I throw these different topics together that have nothing to do with each other superficially? Well, I think considering very different notions in relation to each other can reveal entirely unconceived possibilities. That brings us back to the idea of emergence - this time in terms of the written word. What novel information about the nature of things can be read out? Are we able to retrieve some kind of meta-information or discover coherences or recognize patterns?

The work postulates and experiments with this idea quite literally. If text represents highly referential information traversed via many trains of thought, isn’t a combination of several texts an extreme amount of potential knowledge,

I claim that instances of emergence are appearing in the area of signification-processes and sign-communication. I present as an example the study ‘Additive Text Composite B’. In this work I have used diverse books and publications and have assigned different colors to them. Then I formatted these into the so-called LED font and finally layered them on top of each other. I used an additive colormix for doing that, which means that the individual colors gradually add themselves up to white as they get layered.

After repeatedly layering text this way eventually an underlying structure emerges – as you can see here - a matrix of eights with a kind of star inside becomes visible. This happens when I drive the original information quantitatively towards infinity. Curiously a tipped figure eight has been used as a symbol for infinity. In this sense it’s appearance and meaning seem to co-incidentally converge semantically. Of course, the potential for this structure is inherent in this font as it was designed to represent any number or glyph on a grid. Depending on which element is “on” or “off” the glyph is visually constructed.

bigger than the sum of it´s parts? To what level can we expand our cross-referential capacities and realize underlying patterns?

In information theory the information of a message can be valued with regards to the highest possible amount of information it can provide (besides and beyond as to whether message is non-ambiguous). In this sense there is some common ground with art, where we wish to create works that keep on vibrating with ever new layers of meaning.

Emergence is also often associated with transgressions from chaos to order and vice versa. If we first encounter the “All”-state in this image, where all or almost all possible events are displayed simultaneously, we think all information and meaning is lost. Nonetheless we can also try and perceive this state as remarkable, because here we actually witness a meeting of the polar opposites in a form of absolute: there is no information at all, yet there is all information at once. Zero equals One. Yes equals No. Laughing means crying. It is a paradox,yet a unity. A force-field of potential.

Additive Text Composite B Detail