Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Thought For The Day

Only those things are beautiful which are inspired by madness and written by reason. -Andre Gide, author, Nobel laureate (1869-1951) 

Monday, December 05, 2011

Robert Fathauer Show in Hungary

My friend Robert Fathauer is having a show in Hungary check it out here

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Seems To Me

Morality is not a product of religion. Religion is a product of morality.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Connie Tettenborn's New Website

I would like to announce that Connie Tettenborn has a new site you can access it here

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Catalog Page For The Rhythm Of Structure

I had the pleasure to be a part of, "The Rhythm of Structure" poetry event in NYC in the summer of 2010. The John Sims project has had many branches and events over the last three years and is having a closing symposium at the Antioch College in November of 2011. Here is the page for the catalog that I originally made for John. The page shows four mathematical poems of which the bottom one is a substitution poem made by solving the previous two poems for the word "thinking" and setting both of those poems equal to each other and then solving for "Hell."


Here is a "Orthogonal Space Poem" titled Warmonger.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Celebrity

Here is a polyaesthetic piece with a proportional poem inside it. Yet I have made it to seem like a Orthogonal Space Poem with a ratio of Talent and Stupidity in the denominator.

The piece is titled "The Celebrity"

Friday, September 30, 2011

Don't Think About This

Here is a proportional poem titled "Don't Think About This"

Monday, August 22, 2011

The New Culture

This is a most significant time in human history where cultural identity is rapidly moving from geographic locations to physically disparate cadres bound by beliefs and passions.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Polyaesthetic Mapping

This may be one of the most important things that I have ever done - This is the culmination of ten years of thinking about the aesthetics of math/science and art. I have been working on this project to show how one can map any aesthetic experience into a clear concise system.

You can access it at this link

Art + Science at the Escondido Municipal Art Gallery

ART + SCIENCE @ Escondido Municipal Art Gallery
August 9 thru Sept. 30, 2011 Join us at the intersection of Art and Science. This two month exhibition allows the collection of data as well as encouraging conversation about the technologies we use everyday. This exhibition is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the County of San Diego, Pam Slater-Price 3rd Dist. Supervisor

My Piece "Singularity" will be showing there.

If you are in the area please come to the opening Reception: Sat. Sept. 10, 5:30 - 8:30pm

Bridges Coimbra Portugal

The Bridges conference on mathematical connections in art music and science just finished in Coimbra Portugal. (July 2011) I am happy to been a part of the show where my piece singularity was displayed. There was a lot of beautiful work there and you can see the show at this link.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


Here is some of my work at SCRIPT Literature's last frontiers.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Mathematical Prose

The 2004 image above is a mapping of Potential Energy to Kinetic Energy and addresses the mechanics of changing spiritual belief. Cognitive Behavioral Science is a great example of this process. I admit that the above work is a rough outline and needs more detail for one to fully grasp what I am pointing at. I plan to use this as a template for other work in the future with more detail.

I think a lot of what is on this blog might be considered mathematical prose (as well as the work displayed above) - it is certainly worth thinking about. On that thought - John Sims pointed me at the following link (here). The following quote came from mentioned link and I think it fits in well with this blog.

"Another way we might think about potential literature is via an analogy with potential and kinetic energy. If potential energy is stored in an object, then we might say that potential literature is embedded within a language. In the first case, the field of gravity would determine an object’s potential energy; in the case of literature, the field of memory would determine a work’s potentiality. Pushing the analogy further, we can compare the conversion of potential energy into kinetic energy to the conversion of potential literature into real texts. In physics, that conversion is expressed through motion, in literature it is expressed through two related ludic activities, both of them realized at the level of the letter: the crafts of writing and reading with volition."

The quote speaks primarily of Oulipo however I think it can be said of many forms of experimental writing. While I am happy that Ouilpo has so much interest, I am a bit envious due to be believing that there could be a lot more experimentation with "Substitution in Mathematical Poetry" as well. While both are forms of experimental writing the approach language very differently even though I see both being rooted in formal science.

See "Disappearing Context" to add clarity to the images below.

Two similar triangles poems solved for money.

The two equations are set equal to each other

Sunday, April 24, 2011


I have been proposing this idea for years - I am glad someone is going to make it happen. Check out MoMath's web page here

Saturday, April 23, 2011

LitWorld In Celebration Of Poetry Month 2011

LitWorld invites you to add your voice to the Global Poem for Change at in celebration of Poetry Month 2011. Help our words soar around the world! Writer Naomi Shihab Nye has started off the poem with the first line: I send my words out into the air, listening for yours from everywhere. What comes next?

I contributed see below

Here is my contribution to the poem:

The accelerating Spiritual Tolerance of the world is equal to the change between your radiating atonement, to my radiating atonement divided by the change of continuously smaller increments of time.

Friday, April 22, 2011

14 Holidays Every Math Major Must Know

14 Holidays Every Math Major Must Know -click here

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The difference between Art and Science

Many of you know how I have been working on describing the differences between art and math - In the last few months it has become more and more solidified in my mind what the difference is - They have many things in common but it is the following statement that underscores their main difference.

The difference between the arts and sciences is that the former is cultural and the later is universal.

The above declaration is really an affront to the theory that most aesthetic expressions are polyaesthetic in nature. That is they contain facets or elements of more than one aesthetic category. Yet I believe that the categories of the sciences have its intentions in the universal even if it cannot be achieved at a philosophical level. Granted, I believe that the social sciences have the most difficult job achieving this goal. The physicist, David Bohm once said that physics is not interested in truth, yet, only interested in correlating experience. I believe that this experience that he talks about is an experience correlated across cultures. Human intentions are not to make sciences that work only for Tunisians, French or the Chinese. I have never seen a scientific paper that claims that these results only correlate experience for Canadians; although, if this were the case then the expression must be classified as art not science. Of course one can write a scientific paper for ones peer group (culture), but the ideas expressed ‘to’ that culture are not saying that they correlate experience solely ‘for’ that culture. If the “scientific” expression has cultural aspects then it becomes a polyaesthetic expression and contains aspects of art and is not fully scientific. (My point of course is that I doubt that anything is purely science or purely art)
When it comes to art one must know something of its culture to "get inside it" I purpose that when artists claim that art is universal they are really pointing at a scientific facet that is embedded in the cultural expression. Art history is full of examples of cultural expressions of pointing at social science archetypes.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Truth in Art

Truth in art is not accepted on aesthetics grounds but accepted on psychological and philosophical grounds. Yet, that is not to say that the aesthetics of truth is not beautiful.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

David Zwirner presents Proofs and Refutations

Although I am surprised that Benar Venet was left out of this show; there is a new show at David Zwirner in NYC addressing math and art - check out the link here

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Top 50 Blogs Award

I am happy to report that this Blog just received a new award as one of the top 50 blogs from Online Academic Educators THANKS!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Tao Of Campbell

Here is a polyaesthetic proportional poem titled "The Tao Of Campbell"
To understand how proportional poems work click here
Dreams are to personal myths as myth is to cultural dream.

Here is a detail of the image:

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Singularity (Polyaesthetic)

Here is a polyaesthetic version of the proportional poem titled "Singularity"

Here is a detail view from the piece titled "Singularity"

Monday, January 31, 2011

Milton Babbitt Passes Away At 94

I really enjoyed Milton Babbitt's work.
Rest In Peace -
For More Information Click Here

Monday, January 17, 2011

Is Mathematical Poetry A Subset of Visual Poetry?

This is some of the comments to one of Geof Huth’s blog post reviewing Bob Grumman’s new book, really a chapbook, entitled A Preliminary Taxonomy of Poetry

Geof said, “Mathematical poems add mathematical features that visualize the poetry, so I consider them visual poems, and to have a category for flowchart poetry assumes that process symbols are textual and thus not visual. I'd argue, again, that they are not orthodox text, so these poems are also visual poems.

Also, Bob's definition remains indefensible: "poetry that uses mathematical symbols that actually carry out mathematical operations." These mathematical operations are not actual; they are apparent. That is a big different. Duck cannot be divided by yellow in any mathematical way, though it could in a metaphoric way that has nothing to do with math directly.”

Kaz said:
Gee Geof,
I am going to have to take exception to both of you on a couple of things. First I will start with you and the top paragraph. Unfortunately I have never seen a definition of Visual Poetry that everyone agrees upon. Yet I will have to say that I like what I understand to be Karl Kempton and Karl Young’s definition of: “Visual Poetry is a Poetry that has to be seen” This is such a simple yet powerful definition that seems to me to be true in every case of vizpo that I have seen. With that being said, There are what I would consider pure mathematical poems whereby they can be understood by reading them alone. An example would be, “Love is equal to the limit of 1 over ‘x’ as ‘x’ approaches zero”. This mathematical poem can be understood perfectly without seeing it therefore it would not be visual poetry.
In the next paragraph above Bob states that, " These mathematical operations are not actual; they are apparent. That is a big different.”
I will argue that these operations are actual and they work the same as any equation in applied mathematics. The ‘variable’ or we can say ‘concept’ or ‘word’ in any mathematical poem can be substituted with a number that represents the value of the variable/concept/word/term. The ‘word’ can be substituted with a multitude of numbers just like in the equation ‘x’ equals ‘y’ squared whereby x can equal anything and y will equal whatever x is squared. The thing to focus on is that the words have value or magnitude and they have mathematical relationship to each other. This means the words in a mathematical poem can be substituted with a number and the words or concepts along with their mathematical syntax within the equation provides the units or “unit meaning”. To make this clear let’s look at the equation from physics d=vt or distance is equal to the velocity multiplied by time. If you look at velocity you get units of miles per hour. If you look at time you get the units hours and when you divide the unit ‘miles per hour’ by ‘hour’ you simple get the unit ‘miles’. And ‘miles’ is the unit for distance. Notice we did not talk a bit about numbers, yet, those variables can all be replaced with numbers and it is important to note, the units will remain. Mathematical poetry is the same however the units are created within the poem itself. Unfortunately all the mathematical poets I know are not addressing this issue and thus are missing the boat by thinking that mathematical poems don’t do math.
In your next example where Duck is divided by yellow you say that you cannot divide it in any mathematical way. This is not true you can divide it, however, it is pretty much meaningless gibberish at worse and a wild metaphor at best. The bottom line is that Duck divided by yellow is not anymore incoherent than much of Gertrude Stein’s work.

Endwar (Andrew Russ) wrote:
On mathematical poetry and mathematics: I’m not sure I agree completely with anyone here. It seems to me that in a mathematical poem one sees a mathematical operation with words (usually) operating in a metaphorical way (thus the poetry enters). That said, the mathematical operations involved are usually well-defined for numbers, but not for various words and concepts. “3+1=2” is something everyone (is taught to) agrees on in a literal way, and it follows from the definitions of each number and the signs “+” and “=”. The statement "candy cane + child = happiness" is also probably pretty generally understood, but not with the same level of definiteness (or definition, as per the previous sentence) as the numerical example earlier. You could write "candy cane + child = obesity", which would probably also be understood, but because of the metaphorical nature of the math, you can’t conclude (via the law of substitution) that “happiness = obesity” (though some may point out the phrase “fat, dumb, and happy”, which could then lead us to conclude “happiness = obesity = stupidity” . . . You can see, then where the multiple meanings of words (bifurcations of meaning, to throw in another mathematical metaphor popular in some at one time trendy lit-crit circles)) can lead.)
I would argue that a mathematical poem is a statement that represents a mathematical operation on the words involved, but which isn’t necessarily one that can be checked the way mathematical statements with numbers can be. I will even go one step further and assert that one can create a mathematical poem that is mathematically wrong but which still makes a metaphorical point. I have done this using matrix multiplication – a 2x2 matrix times a 2x1 vector is set equal to a 3x1 vector. That’s not something you can do with real number (or even imaginary number) math, but I think it works as a poem.
Written mathematics is inherently visual, not verbal: I can grant Bob’s point that “3-1=2” is visually not interesting, and furthermore it hardly matters what font is used. It does matter a bit what numbers are used – roman numerals will say “III-I=II”, and binary says “11-1=10”, and ternary says “10-1=2”, which are all the same numerically. But it becomes evident for large numbers that roman numerals are unwieldy for calculating, and we are used to the decimal number system, so the non-decimal numbers need cumbersome subscripts or context to be read as intended. I would argue, though, that the real test of whether we have something verbal versus something visual is whether the statement can be read aloud. Again “Three minus one equals two,” is pretty straightforward, but that is merely because of the simplicity of the expression. Try reading, say, a passage out of the middle of J.D. Jackson’s Classical Electrodynamics or any other graduate physics or mathematics text, and it will be immediately obvious why these equations aren’t written out in words and why mathematicians and scientists do nearly all their professional discussions with slides or in the presence of a blackboard. And even if one does manage to put the text purely into words read aloud, you will find nobody in the audience who will understand what has been said who hasn’t at least written down some equations or a drawing as a guide. One of the most tedious reading experiences I had was a few pages out of an algebra text written by Leonhard Euler, who felt it was necessary to write down an equation and then repeat the equation in words, such as:
“E=mv ²/2
The kinetic energy is equal to half the product of the mass and the square of the velocity.” This continues for page after page.
If you’re still not convinced, show me how to do read calculus aloud and make it intelligible. Two pages minimum.
Because the visual representation is integral to the intelligible communication of all but the simplest mathematics, I would argue that mathematics is inherently visual language, and that by extension, mathematical poetry is also inherently visual poetry. The visual poem may still not depend on which font is used (though I have examples where that is the case as well), but it still can’t be read aloud and have the same meaning, because it will not then register as mathematical.

Kaz wrote in response to Endwar:

That is an interesting argument however, you seem to be making a distinction between the existence of a math equation which doesn’t have to be seen (like your Euler example) and then the distinction of performing the mathematical operations which have to been seen. (or at least I will agree that I would have extreme difficulty working out equations with out seeing them). Yet, since you can have math equations in verbal form (you just can’t work them out) it seems that math does not have to be in visual form and therefore not necessarily ‘exclusively’ visual. Or this begs the question what is math? Is it the performing of mathematical expressions or is it the expression itself? Or a mathematical Platonist would claim that math is an inherent object in nature … Gee why did I have to drag the Platonists into this – go ahead and slap me and forget that I said that.


Bob Grumman wrote:
Thanks for all the comments, endwar. I’ll get to all of them, I hope. Right now, just some thoughts in response to your comments about mathematical poetry.
I don’t care whether a poem can be read aloud or not. Mathematics is written in text just as ordinary verbal material is. Text printed standardly is effectively not visual, as far as I’m concerned: it’s symbolic. So a purely mathematical poem, in my definition, would be expressed in verbal and mathematical symbols.
On further thought, it seems to me all mathematics can be read out loud. So what if one needs to see it on the page to understand it? That would be true of many linguexclusive poems, too. Even relatively simple ones. I’ve almost never understood poems I was unfamiliar with when read at poetry readings.
As for the child and candy cane, I like your reasoning, but it now seems to me you have simple shown that “candy cane + child = happiness” and “candy cane + child = obesity” are both incorrect! They should be “candy cane + child = happiness + X” and “candy cane + child = obesity +Y.” And “happiness – obesity + X – Y.”
* * * * * * *
By the way, I love this discussion of mathematical poetry. I suddenly wondered, though, if there’s a subject fewer people in the world would be interested in.
One futher note: even if we admitted that difficult math must be seen to be understood, that would not make “candy cane + child – X = happiness” a visual poem since that particular poem would not have to be seen to be understood. That said, I can’t wait for the first mathematical poem based on mathematics you have to see on the page to understand.

Kaz wrote:
As far as this Candy Cane analogy goes. I think that in both cases multiplication works better than addition. That said, I would imagine that people would relate to the following best.

Candy cane + childhood = happiness

Candy Cane x childhood = obesity

I am going to ignore the two equations above and rewrite them as multiplication problems with coefficients. The bottom-line is asking what numerical values you assign to these variables or words:

1(Candy Cane) multiplied by 100000(Childhood) equals 1(happiness)


1000(Candy Cane) multiplied by 1(Childhood) equal 1(Obesity)
Kaz wrote:
Bob said, “Text printed standardly is effectively not visual, as far as I'm concerned: it's symbolic”

Gee Bob, if symbols are not visual then what are they? … verbal descriptions of symbols are just that ‘descriptions’ they are not the symbol.

Here you make an excellent point that language is just as difficult to understand when listened to as large mathematical equations Thus making a stronger case that pure mathematical poetry is not visual poetry or possibly making the case that all poetry is visual:

“On further thought, it seems to me all mathematics can be read out loud. So what if one needs to see it on the page to understand it? That would be true of many linguexclusive poems, too. Even relatively simple ones. I've almost never understood poems I was unfamiliar with when read at poetry readings.”

Instead of the definition of Visual poetry being – Poetry that has to be seen then state it as such: “Visual poetry is poetry that cannot be verbalized.”

Kaz wrote:
Bob said on his blog:
This is, I believe, the first time I’ve accepted that the operations are metaphorical, as Gregory St. Thomasino tried to convince me six months or so ago. My trouble (still) is that the operations seem actual to me–the sun really does multiply a field to get flowers!

Kaz said as a comment to Bob’s Blog:
There is a bit of a disconnect here. All mathematics is based in metaphor not just mathematical poetry. The problem Gregory had was that he was trying to delineate mathematical poetry from pure mathematics by claiming that mathematical poetry works by analogy and Pure mathematics doesn’t.
If you read George Lakoff’s book “Where mathematics comes from” then you will come to realize that all mathematics is based in metaphor. Not just mathematical poetry.

Blue Book Formulae by Connie Tettenborn

Here is a new mathematical visual poem by Connie Tettenborn titled Blue Book Formulae

"The Root of Pi" by Karl Kempton

Here is a visual poem with mathematical facets done by Karl Kempton and titled "The Root of Pi"

Saturday, January 08, 2011

The Lab Gallery 2010 Retrospective Video

Here is a retrospective video showing snipits of all the shows at "The Lab Gallery" in NYC. If you have a keen eye you will see a glimpse of myself and my show "A Spectrum Of Jewels" amid the clips.

Here is a link to My Show at "The Lab Gallery"

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy New Year Everyone

I noticed that the NYC new years ball was decorated with Sierpinski triangles.
Pretty Cool.

Happy New Year!

Visit the National Gallery of Writing