## Friday, September 05, 2008

### What Is The Difference Between Multiplication And Addition In The Context Of Mathematical Poetry?

Before I talk about addition and multiplication in mathematical Visual Poetry I would like to present the following two paintings by Giorgio De Chirico. These were created in the beginning years of the 20th century.

When I was visiting the inner harbor of Baltimore, Maryland I came across a most interesting tower. I later found the name to be "The Shot Tower". (Below)

As you can see, it is tall, cylindrical and has a little flag on the top of it. It reminded me of the towers I have seen in many Giorgio De Chirico paintings. I only included two painting here in this blog post but, there are many more that can be found in art history books.
So I got the idea to take it into Photoshop and turn the scene into a De Chirico-ish image.
I titled the piece: “THE QUESTION OF DE CHIRICO” and it poses the question: “Is the image on the right side of the piece equal to the ideas of Baltimore times De Chirico or is the image equal to the ideas of Baltimore plus De Chirico?

In my original post on this 'kogwork' I received a couple of responses that proved to me that it is an interesting question and the answer is not as esoteric as one might imagine. I will display and discuss the responses at the bottom of this blog entry.
I gave a lecture on Polyaesthetics and Mathematical Poetry last year at the Salk Institute and within the boundaries of my presentation I had a section that addressed this very issue.   From that lecture I am going to borrow a few images to help illuminate this most interesting idea. Let us think about the equation 3 + 4 = 7 and let us look at a pie chart to help illuminate our quest. When we add 3 and 4 together we can distinctly see the separate pieces within the pie as well as seeing the entire seven pieces. (Shown below)

I also want to thank Todd Smith for his wonderful comments as well. I think the point that we all would like to assert is that this idea of adding and multiplying images (or concepts) is easy to understand. I would love to see more from everyone out there.

Thanks. Kaz

Anonymous said...

The pie charts explain it very clearly. great idea!

Kaz Maslanka said...

I find it very encouraging that we all saw it the same way … I would bet that cognitive scientists have already mapped this out from a linguistic point of view however, it is now up to artists and poets to make use of it.

Kaz

anandi said...

hi kaz, really a nice post. It gave me an insight into the very basics of mathematics but with a different perception. I would accept that it is pretty difficult for me to understand everything in the context but yes, it is fascinating. I never knew about de Chirico before this.
But I do have something to say here. We always reach a value after multiplying/adding variables(of any kind). Even in the case of images, we reach some value. But do we have any logical way of specifying that value or should we think in terms of logic/abstractness/axioms/tautology? I think that we consider all the scenarios? is it?

Kaz Maslanka said...

These are great questions Anandi however; I don’t know that there are good answers for them. As far as value in the arts is concerned; I think it is meaningless because these days value is determined by art galleries instead of art critics. It is very possible that many artistic geniuses die in obscurity while other lesser artists thrive due to having talent at playing the games necessary to get their work seen and have their work in demand.

The fact that we have a mathematical structure within mathematical poetry makes this work no more able to discern or express value than any other art form. What is important here is not the mathematical answer but the mathematical aesthetic.

anandi said...

Thanks for your answer. By value in art, I meant value found by performing mathematical operations on images/artworks (similar to the pure mathematical fundas). When I think in Algorithmic terms, it becomes much more complex and more intriguing. Sometime back I read about Steganography on Wiki. Here is the link (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steganography)
Just have a look at the two images.
The transition is really beautiful.
In the similar manner, I asked that can we specify rules for perfoming mathematical operations on images? I know it is not proper but yes, can't we still define some rules?

Anonymous said...

Dear kaz
In the NASCAR example, the initial addition equation only works one way i.e. if you put the 8-ball image first (assuming left to right reading) it takes on a macabre and gothic association as its starting point (metaphor), and presumable the result would be a massive toy(?) car pile-up on top of the billiard table. In both versions of the addition equation the pool table and car image are placed next-to-each other (in this case on top of one another) as opposed to an "infusing" into each other.
The multiplication equation, on the other hand "is" reliant on the addition equation that came before it for its full impact i.e. having established a "premise" (the initial association between billiards and car) it goes on to extend itself into the rocket metaphor (by multiplication) i.e. a rocket is better? bigger? than a car, more balls in pockets etc?? and as such metamorphizes into a rocket, completing an act of infusion. If the 8-ball came first in the multiplication table (or was flipped round into first position as its next and subsequent equation) we would have (again) some sort of metaphor of carnage (an infusion into disintegration?).
In this NASCAR example, I don't think we are dealing with a single equation, and as such cannot take the multiplication equation on its own i.e. have it extract for examination from its context (as a couplet?).
I think you are right that the predictivity of metaphor-making is nigh impossible, but I don't think the NASCAR example necessarily contradicts what I said earlier. That's as best as I can do for now tho if its of any use.
TT.O.

James said...

The pie charts are a very nice visual representation, but I don’t agree with the NASCAR analogy in the image. If I were to say I have, in my garage, “a car AND a pool table”, you would imagine them sitting side-by-side; not combined. The fact that they are combined in any way shows that it’s more than simply addition. A car that is also a pool table is more than the sum of its parts. Not to mention, rockets have nothing to do with NASCAR; it’s over extrapolating. The produce the rocket image, I'd use an equation similar to NASCAR multiplied by pool then cubed.

On another note, is the following mathematical poetry?

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archive/phd112107s.gif

Anonymous said...

James,
What it seems to me is that Kaz is working with ‘ideas’ as opposed to ’objects’. If he drew a picture of a car and a pool table and said (one car + one pool table) = (a half of a car and half of a pool table) then you may have an argument. I don’t see him putting coefficients on his ideas. They aren’t objects. Also a car plus a pool table is not the same thing as a car and a pool table.
GB

Kaz Maslanka said...

James,
Your link is extremely appreciated! … yes I would call the result of your link a mathematical poem for two reasons one because it possesses a quality that I call “reflexive didactic” … which means that it makes a statement that asks a question. Furthermore the reason that it possesses a “reflexive didactic is that it is presented in the form of what I call a “mathematical paradigm poem” (see my taxonomy in the sidebar of this blog). If you notice it is extremely close to Newton’s law for the force of gravity. F=G(m0+m1)/r^2 The only thing it is missing is the gravitational constant ‘G’… I need to create a blog entry for this … it is wonderful example of a mathematical paradigm poem.
Thank You!
K

Kaz Maslanka said...

GB,
Thank you for your very perceptive comment!
K

Anonymous said...

hi
i really enjoy
i am alireza pourmoslemi MS in mathematics and a poet
i want to find a mathematician and poet to continue my study
cand you help me to find some one (poet and mathematician) that accept me as a Phd student ?
Reagard

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Mr. Pourmoslemi,
I know of no school that possesses a curriculum on mathematical poetry. However, my best advice would be for you to attend the next Bridges conference organized by Reza Sarhangi. The next conference will be in Banff Alberta Canada next summer. There are many professors who attend and are interested in the connection between mathematics and the arts.

Good Luck,
Kaz

anandi said...

Hi Kaz,
I want some help from you. I have been working on a mathematical artwork which is based on high dimensions. I have taken some hint from the 'E8' figure which is supposed to be the pictorial representation of 248 dimensions. But I am unable to find enough of help on visualizing higher dimensions. Also, I had a talk with Carlo during Bridges. He asked me to look up some pape presented some years back in Bridges. Can you help me out with this? In my artwork, I have 'Coins' as the artistic element. It is named Infinitum - COINS. I hope to present it in the next Bridges.

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi Anandi,
There is an extremely strong group of polytope explorers within the “Bridges School” in which all of the main players hold the late Donald Coxeter in reverence. Coxeter wrote a seminal book titled regular polytopes and it seems that a lot of folks reference it. I think the current King of polytopes on earth is probably George Hart and he has a good PowerPoint on polytopes at this link.

http://www.kazmaslanka.com/Hart-Polytopes-Forms.ppsx

The King of polytopes not on this planet is Jonathan Bowers (Google him) There are many other who have contributed greatly on helping people discover polytopes. Mark Pelletier is definitely one who was a friend of Coxeter as well as Mangus Wenninger. I don’t want to forget Paul Hildebrandt and the Zometool boys in Denver Colorado for they provide us with great tools for building three dimensional projections of hyper-dimensional objects.
I remember being at a great party at Mark Pelletier’s house in Boulder Colorado a couple of years ago where George Hart, Mark Pelletier, Carlo Sequin, Chris Kling, myself and others were brainstorming on ideas surrounding polytopes. I put in my two cents worth by asking someone to design a hyper-dimensional cad system. I am still waiting hehe. Anyway the link I provided will help you out with some ideas how to visualize hyper-dimensional objects. (If there is such a thing as visualizing them)
Cheers,
Kaz

anandi said...

Hi Kaz, Thanks a lot for the information. I guess I missed out discussing the same with George. I'll try to get information on the people and their works as per your suggestion. Thanks once again.
:-)

Anonymous said...

Kaz

You were right - this is a good introductory post. Forgive me if this has already been discussed, but it struck me that the above equations act (grammatically) in the infinitive. So, for example, while de Chirico * Baltimore <> Baltimore * de Chirico in mathematical poetry because the multiplier precedes the multiplicand, the order could be reversed but with the same product if view it in the past tense. Thus, de Chirico * Baltimore could be expressed as Baltimore de Chiricoed.

Kaz Maslanka said...

Hi D.Coys,
This is a fascinating observation that you have made. I love the way everyone brings something to the table to teach us (me in particular). So would the present be a gerund? Baltimore de Chiricoing? Hmmm … To Be Or Not To Be DeChiricoed. Ha!

Thanks so much!!
Kaz

Anonymous said...

A small example of my work.

Jealous Moon

Towering Quintessence
Indulging Interior Essence
of my soul

3×4=12

Syllables per line: 6,9,9,3 “3″
Letters per line: 20,24,28,8 “4″
Words: 12

inner_peace2006@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

It is extremely interesting for me to read that blog. Thanks for it. I like such themes and anything connected to this matter. BTW, try to add some images :).

Kaz Maslanka said...

Thanks Anonymous,
I should have more time for my blog after my March show in NYC.
Thanks for stopping by!
Kaz