Friday, July 04, 2008

My Response To a Critic

I would like to address a comment made in reference to the piece “Peano’s String; A History of Spiritual Stories”(displayed above) … the following (text in green) is a copy of a comment from my blog entry “New Work Accepted At The Bridges Show In Leeuwarden Netherlands Aug 2008”:

This is a strange place. Im all for maths, dont get me wrong. Anyone who's any good at maths needs to make it part of themself but democrats? Abraham? maths is made a cliche with these comparisons. Everything can be expressed in maths but some things shouldnt. Just make a billboard with euler's formula

My response:

I appreciate you giving me some feedback to my blog and I would love to engage you in discourse on any concerns that you may have. I am certainly not going to imply that I am always correct in my assumptions of anything. Furthermore I consider myself a student.

I want to note that I may not defend mathematical poems made by others so if you wish to criticize the axiomatic poem concerning Barack Obama and the democrats you may wish to address your concerns to its author. I also wish to make this same disclaimer concerning any mathematical poetry posted on this blog that is not authored by me. However, I will be happy to address any concerns or criticism involving my work. My Job at this blog is to promote interest in mathematical poetry not criticize it. Yet, I may someday express criticism of someones work if I feel “the discipline” of mathematical poetry is being subverted.

To get to your concerns let’s look at the term cliché and what Wikipedia has to say about it:

A cliché (from French, pronounced [klɪ'ʃe]) is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. The term is most likely to be used in a negative context.

It seems that you have applied this term ‘cliché’ to my axiomatic poem titled, “Peano’s String; A History of Spiritual Stories”. So I can only assume that there is something about this mathematical poem that you would consider overused. It is hard to imagine that you may be referring to mathematical poetry in general since there is so little of it. What is it that is overused here? Is your concern related to my references to biblical history? Are you feeling that I have taken biblical references out of context in jest? I can only say that while I can see how one may find this mathematical poem humorous, the root of it can be taken very serious. Maybe, what you may really be trying to say, is that mathematical poetry is aesthetically trivial. This may be is a little more difficult for me to defend due to my belief that just because I find something beautiful I can never assume that anyone else would find it such. However, I do find mathematical poetry extremely beautiful especially in its use of dual aesthetics. My fear is that you, or anyone else for that matter, will discard this entire proposition and never really answer the following questions.

1. From a cognitive scientific point of view what is a metaphor, what are the parts within the structure of a metaphor and what are their relationship to mathematics in general and mathematical equations in particular?

2. What is the difference between connotation and denotation and how do they apply to the language of mathematics?

3. When looking at the structure of a mathematical equation how does that structure relate to other phenomena that can be described with that same mathematical structure?

4. Are the commonalities between identical mathematical structures purely linguistic? Or are they physical?... Or maybe spiritual? Could there be something such as archetypical equations?

5. What are the differences between the aesthetics of mathematics and the aesthetics of poetry or art? How can those differences be delineated when analyzing a mathematical poem?

6. How does mathematical poetry relate to the history of art, poetry and applied mathematics? Can mathematical poetry be considered a legitimate field of applied mathematics?

And now let’s address this mathematical poem in particular:

7. What is the relationship of Natural numbers to linear historical events?

8. What do the descendents of Abraham have to do with current cultural events especially ones that concern the military of the United States of America? Who are the children of Abraham and what is the historical and spiritual relationship that they share.

9. How are cultural stories passed from generation to generation?

10. How are mytho-spiritual (religious) stories created? How does deities and deification come to be? What is the source of the ‘so called’ divine inspirations that create works of poetry and art? And what is their relationship to this piece of art in particular.

11. What is the relationship of cats in mytho-spiritual literature? What is the meaning of cat when applied to a human being? What is the meaning of a cat when applied to a God?

12. When looking at the proofs using these axioms what can be said poetically from the proofs.

13. What are the proofs that can be created from Peano’s axioms?

14. How do questions 7 through 13 relate to questions 1 through 6?

I am not going to discount that you may provide an argument to the idea that my work is cliché and trivial but I would hope you address the latter questions within your argument.




.. said...

I would like to jump in to your arguments , Discussions I should say, with an idea that cliché is valid only when one reasons out logically. However poetry is beyond logic . mathematical metaphors are the poetical presentation of the known but unexplainable features mother nature . By that I mean the number theory is quite an ideal assumption and for that matter it is the best reflection of the truth( reality ) than an any logical proof can hold a mirror up to . The beauty of mathematics owes much of its character from the fact it is and isn't a fact by itself. It is that logical in its birth is nothing but an imagination . Thus we can't explain anything with out an imagination of some sort. there is a myth in every mathematical number. We can see that in zero number . The Eastern mythological symbols represent it as both nothing and everything . In the west the basic idea of derivation Calculus is came from idea that one approach one becomes both zero and infinite. That seems contradictorily overused or cliche
and there is no way we can show that in logical means with out corrupting the integration of the number zero. so, I need to say that Kas should keep dancing beyond the limit for the truth is up there . the pull of the suitors is everywhere and you need to welcome it always like this one but never stop from flying and don't allow someone to tell you how far you should and fly my friend , the gods are up there waiting for you

Angie in Divide said...

Kaz, I'm sorry that I may have helped to stir this up. As I thought I had pointed out in my comment before and assume the critic would have seen. I am not a mathmatician and although I do dabble in poetry I cannot declare myself a poet either. It was my intention neither to subvert mathematics nor undermine the creativity of your work. I just find the concept intriguing and wanted to have a go. It was not a political statement as I am not a democrat. I am not even an American. It was simply a product of the barrage of "news" that surrounded me at the time. I apologise if my attempt served only to trivialize your art in anyone's eyes and bring on this strange objection.

Thank you,


Kaz Maslanka said...

Oh Angie don’t even think about apologizing. I believe the person who made this comment really didn’t think much about what I have presented here. Furthermore many people really don’t think about nor understand many different varieties of aesthetics. Preconceived notions about art multiplied by a fragile ego = A major stumbling block when experiencing the arts. (Myself included)

.. said...

it is funny the way you--mr. Kaz respond here to your critic whom you were blaming for criticizing you . I read your post and I felt you need someone to encourage ( save ) you. Now all of a sudden when your critic says sorry you present me as a sacrificial lamb---what hell is that ? --you didn't have a critic before --and when you got one you were so happy you posted it here . read what you posted first before you flip flap --it easy write mathematical poetry a kid can do that e.g Dad/Mom = baby---or what master ---love?
try write poetry or do math then you mask your little ego in a mathematical poetry --which I encouraged you to keep writing so that I can laugh

anandi said...

Hi Kaz,
I read the whole criticism and your defense and arguments. I also read the comments given by the people here. It is so interesting to notice that people interpret the same things with so much variety. I remember the day when I finished my "FUSION" and went to the Indian Institute of Science to show it. Abi was very excited, but he suggested that you'll have to face criticism as all the other artworks do. Moreover, I'm still honing my skills. The point is - every art piece will be interpreted in different manner by different people. So we have to be ready for the criticism. As for me, I interpret the painting as a classic example of TAUTOLOGY (something I read in Discrete Mathematics in the 3rd year of my engineering).
Whatever is the case, I love what you do. I ll soon try to make some mathematical poetry as you already know that I write poems. ;-)

Kaz Maslanka said...

Dear Mr. Melaku,
I am sorry that I did not respond to your first comment however, I really am not sure what you are describing. You’re meanings for your terminology are so different from my understanding of the same terms that I am too confused to reply. As far as your second comment is concerned … you must re-read what is said by who. Angie is not the critic that you deemed her to be for the critic was a anonymous coward that attacked Angie’s first attempt at mathematical poetry. So again you seem to be coming from a place alien to me. I presented you as a sacrificial lamb? Hmmm again I am confused … I never intended to do anything remotely like a sacrifice … The only fault that may possibly be mine is that I did not respond to your comment in the amount of time that you wished for. I am pleased that some of your second comment I understood. I am happy that you find writing mathematical poetry easy. However, writing poetry, music, a novel or anything else is also easy. Anyone can write a symphony as well. The big question that remains is whether the poem or writing or the symphony is of aesthetic value. Does your poem Dad/Mom = Baby have any value? … why did you not say Dad times Mom = Baby? or Dad + Mom = Baby? … what argument can you provide to say that out of the three choices presented that yours is the most aesthetically interesting? When you provide me with a good argument based on pre-existing aesthetic criteria or even any criteria that you wish to introduce then I will consider it ‘easy’ and worthy of studying.
Thanks for dropping by,

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Anandi,
I think the problem with so many different variations of opinion is that there are so many people who approach a piece of art work with preconceived notions of what they are looking at in such a way that they don’t have the patience to study it. So they never find out that there may be more to it than they originally thought. There are always experts in the arts and so many of them were born with their expertise, never having to work for it.

You are going to have a great time in Holland soon … I am happily envious.
Have fun! And say hi to Reza, Gary Greenfield, and Paul Gailiunas, John Sharp, Mark Pelletier, and George Hart.


Kaz Maslanka said...

Oh Anandi I forgot ... I would love to see any of your mathematical poems!


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