Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Art and Science Forum Presents Kaz Maslanka

Presents: Kaz Maslanka "Polyaesthetics and Mathematical Poetry "
Thursday,October 4, 2007 6:30 PMThe Salk Institute - The Trustees Room
10010 North Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037

Polyaesthetics is a term Kaz Maslanka has used in connection with his artwork, as it embraces three different aesthetics; the aesthetics of verbal language, the aesthetics of visual language, and the aesthetics of mathematical language. Kaz’s artwork can be regarded as a blend of ‘visual poetry’ and ‘mathematical poetry’.
Kaz Maslanka’s definition of ‘mathematical poetry’ is that it is an artistic expression arising from performing mathematical operations on words or images as if they were numbers. One may find this baffling at first because it appears as though mathematical poets are confused about knowing the difference of the states of quality versus quantity. However, it is through the fusion of this dichotomy that mathematical metaphor is spawned.
Although there have been a few people write mathematical poems before Kaz Maslanka, it is arguable that none have pushed the genre’s boundaries farther. Kaz has lectured and published numerous papers on topics involving the aesthetics as well as the mechanics of Polyaesthetics and mathematical poetry. His polyaesthetic work has been shown internationally as well as across the United States. Furthermore, he continues to write about his mathematical poetic explorations as well as that of others on his blog at His polyaesthetic works can also be viewed at his website
Kaz states, "I infuse ideas into physics equations in ways that transform an equation into a metaphor, which helps in studying how we construct language and its cultural relationship between the physical and conceptual. I am also interested in exploring archetypes in a contemporary context by expressing my own mythology in relation to my struggle to comprehend my path, in nature's system, which directs and guides my life's moral and ethical decisions."
As usual, following this presentation there will be ample opportunity for lively discussion.
Ron Newby

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Collaborative Substitution Poem

This post is one of the most important (if not the most important) post I have ever written to this blog and I have been wanting and waiting to write it for a couple of years I just needed the right time.

The most important aspect of mathematical poetry in my ‘humble’ opinion is collaborative substitution poems. Collaborative substitution poems can evolve eternally and infinitely like no other form of poetry. Even non-poets can make mathematical poems using existing mathematical poems. I get very excited whenever I think about how these poems could evolve. The mathematical poem is very special in the sense that its structure lends itself very easily to substitution of terms/variables.

Just like in the equation from physics which states that force = mass multiplied by acceleration. F = ma. (image above) Since acceleration can be defined as the change in velocity per time we can substitute delta v divided by delta t into the equation to yield F = mass multiplied by delta v divided by delta t or F= mass delta(v)/delta(t)

What this means for mathematical poetry is that all variables are capable of being substituted by another poem. This gives a poem infinite flexibility in that future poets can substitute the variables within it in ways that could turn a small poem into a giant rhizome of ideas with roots that extends itself into many directions similar in shape to the black dotted arms spreading across the tabletop of the domino game. Today we are making the first step (that I know of) in this process.

On August 13, 2007 Cherryl Floyd-Miller posted a similar triangles poem titled death. It just so happens that I created a similar triangles poem posted May 17, 2007 also titled death.

Here is another look at Cherryl’s poem “Death”

Here is another look at my poem “Death”

If I solve for the term “death” in my poem (actually it is already solved for “death” in the original posting) and replace the variable “death” from Cherryl’s poem with my poem (solved for death) then we get the following expression. I have kept the color of the words so that they can be easily seen within both contexts shown below.

I have solved the expression above for the term Life and this leaves us with the following poem.

Now that we have seen it together in the later image I present the final image Here is our “collaboration poem”

One of the things I really enjoy about this poem is the conflation of the original contexts. Cherryl’s poem had a context of corporal finality where the context of mine was more about the process of spiritual growth. In this poem both ideas can be seen.

Now the next thing that could happen is that another mathematical poet describes one of the other elements in this poem such as “pulseless” or “heresy”. Then they take their poem and substitute it for “pulseless” or “heresy” and viola we have a new collaborative poem made from three poets. And so on and so on and so on …

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Philosophic Cocktails by Thierry Brunet

Here is a mathematical poem by Thierry Brunet which has elements of a similar triangles poem (with a Boolean twist) and a metamorphic mathematical poem.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


The mathematical poem today is a similar triangles poem inspired by the text below which appeared in the delancyplace blog Tuesday, August 21, 2007 08/21/07-The Guillotine
In today's excerpt--Dr. Guillotin's invention, the guillotine, which debuted in Paris in 1792 and was still being used for capital punishment in the 1950s. Guillotin's motive was to introduce a more humanitarian form of capital punishment, and his success in that was evident from the very first use of the guillotine when "the crowds, accustomed to bloody bouts with the ax and sword, thundered in disappointment, 'Bring back the block!' " Yet almost immediately, guillotine executions became Paris's favorite form of entertainment, with families bringing picnic lunches and reveling in the carnival atmosphere that surrounded them. During the French Revolution, with a virtual civil war raging in the provinces, "at least half a million people were slaughtered on local guillotines or in battles between opposing forces." Here is a description of France's last public guillotine execution, which occurred in Versailles in 1939 when convicted murderer Eugene Weidmann, a German, was decapitated:
"Weidmann's execution was slated for June 17, and throngs had been pouring in from Paris and elsewhere for days, lending a holiday mood to the town. Permitted to stay open all night, bistros overflowed with customers as elated by the event as fans on the eve of a football match. The guillotine, which had normally done its deed inside the jail, was moved to the street outside, and proprietors of apartments above were cashing in by renting seats in their windows. From his cell Weidmann could hear loudspeakers blaring jazz interspersed with commentaries on his impending demise. ...
"Despite his years of experience, Desfourneaux [the executioner] was slow and jittery. Only after three tries did he manage to squeeze Weidmann's neck into the lunette, and he also fumbled with the lever. The operation lasted twelve seconds--twice the normal time. The crowd, which had been waiting in hushed anticipation, stormed the police barrier as the blade fell. Men shouted anti-German epithets; elegant ladies, avid for souvenirs, rushed to dip their handkerchiefs in the blood; and, for the rest of the day and far into the night, revelers chanted songs and swilled wine. ...
"Perched on rooftops, photographers recorded the tumult, and their pictures quickly appeared in newspapers around the world and became a staple of postcards. The fiasco shocked even the most intransigent proponents of capital punishment, and also cast doubt on the doctrine that public executions deterred crime. Fearing that future outbursts would damage France's image abroad, Premier Edouard Daladier decreed that guillotinings were henceforth to be conducted within prison enclosures."
Stanley Karnow, Paris in the Fifties, Three Rivers Press, Copyright 1997 by Stanley Karnow, pp. 161-162.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Dodecaorthogonal Space Poem

A few days ago, Pablo Kagioglu shared a power point presentation that he made in where he had constructed a verbogeometric coordinate system, which displays 12 contiguous orthogonal space poems that share a common axis system. This is important for what I see him having done is creating is a crystal-like dodecaorthogonal space poem! He has shown us another beautiful mathematical poetic structure. Now I must say that his philosophy may be controversial and I have to admit that I find some of the poems a bit problematic. However, I really am not interested in critiquing what he has said. What I find extremely important here is that he has discovered a new mathematical poetic form that we all can use, build upon or do what ever our creative hearts desire. Furthermore, I want to congratulate him on doing so!

As I said, I am not going to analyze his content I am going to post it just as he sent it to me. He has graciously allowed me to post the following for everyone to enjoy.

Planes of Truth and Perception by Pablo Kagioglu

As I have become more interested in what goes on around the world, I have also become somewhat frustrated by the actual lack of true information available; this in a world that is literally flooded with news. Long ago there were only Newspapers, then Radio came along, then Television. Each time adding the medium more immediacy to the availability of information, but not necessarily more relevant content. So, in the age of 24-hour news channels, it is amazing how miss informed most people are about important world events…

I have traveled around Europe and the Americas quite bit, and listened to the opinions of many people, watched their newscasts, read their newspapers. On occasion, I was asked about my own opinions, and as I gave my opinions I slowly came to this realization:

“The futility of formulating an opinion on important events based on what we see on news broadcast alone”

- Our perceptions or opinions are constructed in the same manner as a drawing a picture using dots with numbers
- Different newscasts give us only a partial number of the dots required to come up with the correct picture
- Some of the newscasts number give us properly “located” dots, but numbered with the incorrect sequence
- If you are unfortunate enough to watch an unreliable source, you will get wrong positioned dots altogether.
- Newscasts keep giving us the same dots over and over, instead of additional (new) dots.
- Over time, we never get enough (properly numbered) dots to formulate the complete “true’ picture of what is really happening.

In general, it can be said that “true” information is broadcast all around the world, but no one is likely to get the “whole package” delivered to them from one source, specially only watching local/national news.

If one searches really hard, and looks at all possible “good” sources, you still may only end up with only half the dots anyway (the more controversial the subject, the fewer the dots you are likely to get).

In the end most people sit around and argue because some drew a House while others drew a Pyramid, when it reality it is probably neither.

So, I wondered if Truth and Perception could be plotted in a 3-dimensional space somehow, using various concepts as the 3 axes.

Words pairs that come to mind are: Truth/Lies, Knowledge/Perception, Openness/Deception, Order/Chaos, Guilt/Innocence, Censorship/Approval

What follows is the construct of the various planes of demarcation for Truth or Lies, Knowledge or Perception.

Mathematically Defined Phantom Words

The mathematical structure that we use when making similar triangles poems provides an interesting result when used in conjunction with the creation of verbogeometric prisms. It appears that we can mathematically define a point in a verbogeometric space whereby we know the meaning of the word in that location however; there is no word in the dictionary for it. It seems to be some kind of phantom word that exists by a set of rules however, no spelling for it.
Let us look at the image above. We can see the points X1 and X2 in the image and notice there are no words in the dictionary to cover their meanings however, we know that it is a direct negation of the words sterile and Barren. These words could be described as "unsterile" and "unbarren" however it may be more fun to flavor them poetically as shown in the examples below.

Alternatively, even more fun … we can really emphasize the flavoring of X1 by using the expanded similar triangles form and including all of the antonyms and synonyms.

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