Saturday, January 28, 2006

Sentence Structure in Mathematical Poetry

Here is a detail of the equation from above

Today I would like to share part of a conversation I had with Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino dated December 2, 2005 …

Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino said:

You have to find the analogy between math and the grammar of the sentence, and make your "math" work within that grammar.

Kaz Maslanka said:

I am not sure if I understand exactly what you are saying but I find grammatical similarities in physics equations all the time. For example F = ma ---- force is equal to mass times acceleration. “ma” could easily be seen as a clause where mass is the subject and acceleration is the predicate. Many of my polyaesthetic pieces rely on physics equations to supply a sub-context for the piece. Lets look at the piece from “Karmic influences on the double helix” First we must talk a bit about physics. This piece utilizes the physics equation for Energy. E = Fd Energy is equal to force multiplied by distance. In other words the Energy expended on an object is equal to force applied to that object continually spread over a distance. The latter sentence obviously has grammatical qualities and is synonymous with the equation. We also know that F = ma. Now lets break force into its components of mass and acceleration and substitute (ma) for ‘F’ it in our equation that defines energy.

E = (ma)d or E = mad

In other words the Energy expended on an object is equal to the accelerated mass of that object applied continuously over a distance. (Notice again that we are using words to be synonymous with the actual equation)

Even the equation can easily be mapped with sentence structure. The energy in question is equated to Fd or (ma)d where ‘m’ is the subject ‘ad’ is the predicate and d is the object of the verb ‘to accelerate’ To reiterate the mass is the subject and ‘acceleration over a distance’ is the predicate where ‘over the distance’ is the object of the verb ‘accelerate’

Before we look at the poem lets take a look at the distance formula (in two dimensions) used in analytical geometry. In a nutshell the distance formula is the Pythagorean theorem mapped onto a Cartesian coordinate system. e.g. the hypotenuse of a right triangle is the distance we wish to solve and we can do so by using the difference in the y values as one leg of the triangle and the difference in the x values as the other leg of the triangle. This whole mess is a lot easier to see visually. Click here

Now let us look at the poem.

The energy in question is “Karmic Energy” which is equal to the ‘mass’ being the phrases: the conscious embryo, rampart, through the viridian passage” multiplied by the ‘acceleration’ which is “misfortunate paranoia” and multiplied by the distance between the concepts of the difference between the concepts of “the discovery of the wheel and extra-dimensional travel” and the difference between the concepts “single cell intelligence and the discovery of the wheel”

You can see that the poem follows the exact sentence structure of the physics equation, Furthermore the physics equation serves as a paradigm or metacontext for the poem to ‘ride’ or ‘be carried ’ in.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Distance and Visual Poetry

The piece, “DISTANCE”, shows how the concepts of velocity and time tessellate a plane in an infinitely woven tapestry of distance.

The piece above “distance” is a little different for me for it is influenced by new information I have learned from the ‘visual poetry’ movement. The piece has elements of visual poetry that I have never used before. It functions in two different ways. One way it functions mathematically as a visual paradigm for a physics tenant of kinematics. Notice a paradigm is not a metaphor it is a simile. The Second way it functions is mathematical vispo because it performs math operations on text. The bottom line is that I would not call it mathematical poetry as such because we are not performing mathematical operations on words as meaning with the intent for connotation. However we are performing math operations on text and I reiterate that I feel this is in the realm of mathematical vispo. Check out Geof Huths amazing blog if you want to understand all the branches of visual poetry.

On a side note here is a visual poem I made for Gregory Vincent St. Thomasino titled “church” It is inspired by and uses his math poem, “change + purse = church”

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Four-Dimensionally Centered

This piece was inspired by the beauty in New Mexico and its relationship to the spiritual ideas of its native people. It is a four dimensional point metaphorically pointing at the atonement archetype.
There are four axes in this Cartesian system: the first axis is that of east and west the next axis being north and south the third axis being up and down and the last axis being inward and outward. Mathematically speaking the point described uses the analytic geometric midpoint formula to define the midpoint in each of the four axes. Metaphorically speaking The point described is at the center of everything and nothing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Joint Mathematics Meeting Report

American Mathematical Society

I just returned from the Joint conference on Mathematics in San Antonio and was extremely pleased with the Art Show. Many of the ‘Bridges’ mathartists participated in the show and some attended the conference. Here is a picture of my good friend Reza Sarhangi the nucleus of the Bridges conference (left) standing with Slavik Jablan an extremely important and interesting figure in the Mathart movements in Europe.

Here is a picture of my friend Paul Hildebrandt (left) and Ivars Peterson dining on good Mexican food. Paul is the president of Zometools and Ivars is extremely important figure in the proliferation of fun filled mathematical ideas and is the creator of “Math Trek” for Science News.

Here is a snapshot of Robert Fathauer standing next to his mathart. Robert is president of Tessellations company and he also is involved in the curation of many mathart shows.

Here is a snapshot of Francisco Lara-Dammer with his beautiful Cayley diagrams

Here is a snapshot of Gwen Fisher who does amazing mathematical beadwork.

Here is a snapshot of Anne Burns and her beautiful mathematical landscape

My apology to to Bradford Hansen-Smith for missing the opportunity to shoot his picture (he also attended the conference)

Remember the Alamo!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Mathpo Beauty?

I snagged this quote off of the new-poetry list, submitted by Jeff Newberry

"Life is doubt, and faith without doubt is nothing but death."
Miguel de Unamuno

When I look at this quote I easily see it also as a mathematical metaphor.

Life = Doubt
Faith - Doubt = Death

What hits me so obviously is how much more beautiful the verbal language is relative to its 'seemingly cold' mathematical counterparts. However, the beauty in mathematical poetry is being able to see within an instant all the mathematically synonymous permutations and synergistically experience them as a whole integrated with the poetic beauty and power of the verbal language.

Doubt = Life
Doubt = Faith-death

Life = Faith-death

I wonder if Mr. Unamuno put much thought into the following quote:

Doubt is life, and life is faith without death

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

The Evolution of a Math Poem

Bob Grumman has recently posted another mathpoem worth thinking about. Its history goes back to early March 2005 when Bob was blogging about his version of the Basho haiku which concerns a frog jumping into an ancient pond.

Bobs blog 401

Bobs version:
old pond--abruptly, the sound
of a frog's splash-in

on March 10 2005 Bob reveals that a math poet named El Konde had sent him his interpretation of that same Basho Haiku poem.

Bobs blog 403

Which was:

Old pond / silence = frog splash!

Bob replied, “I like the idea of dividing the pond (arithmetically), but it would be more logical, it seems to me, to divide silence by the frog to get the old pond.” Or:

Silence / frog splash! = Old pond

I would like to analyze these two different syntactical forms of the same Basho poem and see how they relate to Bobs recent poem “Mathemaku for Basho”

First of all we must talk about what takes place when we create and equation in the form:

A = B multiplied by C

When we multiply 2 subjects together those subjects are integrated into a new subject that has its identity is founded in both of the previous subjects.

Lets looks a something we are familiar with If you drive your car 100 miles down the Jersey turnpike from New York to Philly at 50 miles per hour you would get there in about 2 hours (assuming someone doesn’t shoot you for driving too slow)

Distance is equal to velocity multiplied by time. d = v t

The very idea of distance is founded on the ideas of time and velocity at least as far as our equation is concerned. It is also interesting to me that we can use different syntax to make this mathematical expression synonymous in three ways.

d = v t (Distance is equal to velocity multiplied by time.)

v = d/t (velocity is equal to distance divided by time)

t = d/v (time is equal to distance divided by velocity)

Now let’s look at El Konde’s version of the Basho poem:

old pond / silence = frog splash!

Which is mathematically synonymous with:
(silence)(frog splash!) = old pond
old pond/frog splash! = silence

What we have done is to integrate the break of silence with the frog splash to define the old pond. Or the (the break of) silence is defined as the old pond divided by frog splash Furthermore we could also read it as the old pond divided by frog splash! Defines (the break of) silence.

I realize that I have added my own interpretation to El Konde’s intention of ‘silence’ in his poem by redefining 'silence' as ‘the break of silence’ but I think it is arguable that Basho was talking about the break in silence as opposed to silence itself. I believe my addition makes El Konde’s version much more clear.

Now let’s look at Bobs change to El Konde’s Poem and its mathematical synonyms:

silence / frog splash! = old pond

silence / old pond = frog splash!

(frog splash!) (old pond) = silence

So what Bob expresses by his change is that the break of silence is defined by the integration of frog splash! and old pond or that the old pond is defined by the break of silence per frog splash and last but not least … frog splash is defined by the break of silence per old pond

Now that we have broke it down, you the reader can make your own decision on what version makes the most sense to you.

Note: (Bob’s intention may have been to think of 'silence' standing as itself, not as 'break in silence', but I doubt it especially since he has ignored it altogether in his new poem)

In conclusion lets look at Bob’s Mathemaku for Basho:

(pond)(frog) = (((((((haiku)))))))

So it shows that Bob is consistent with multiplying pond and frog but he has 'defined haiku' as opposed to defining 'the break in silence'.

By putting parenthesis around the word haiku he has incorporated a vispo technique in his mathematical poem to imply splashing water waves.

So much for evolution,
R Mutt

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