Pi -secrets within
Pi as a bridge between roundness and linearity. These two are oposites in there own nature. To connect these two demands something extraordinary beyond and That is apparently Pi. It pops up everywhere in mathematics, even where its not obviously expected. The same in science. Pi is a mathematical constant, both irrational, cannot be written as a fraction by two Integers and transcendent, Non algebraic. The simplast definition of Pi is geometrical; the ratio between a circles cirkumference and its diameter.
14 years ago, I completed this painting, ’Pi, secrets within’ The 21.316 first decimals in pi visualized on canvas. At the time I studied mathematics at SU but had taken a break. The studies was always in conflict with my urge to create. Back then in 2007, I thought to myself, what would happen if pi was visualized by a a ten step value scale on a canvas? Where 0 is represented by black, and 9 by white and the rest corresponding to this ten step value scale in between. I became obsessed with the idea. It took probably around 200 hours to complete this work, during a 6 month period. One row on the canvas has 146 digits, and the average time to paint one row was about 45 – 55 min. The grid on the linnen canvas is a square with 146 lines. To write in graphite all the 21.316 digits, that had to be done first, took a great deal of the total time as well. But even as this number might seem big, 21.316 decimals would not even correspond to a single drop of water in thousand of oceans. As a decimal Pi is apparently infinite. All combinations of numbers regardless of there length exist in Pi its just a matter of searching and how much time you have to find it. Super computers with smart and fast algorithm for calculating Pi has reached just Over the tens of billions of decimals in Pi so far.
During and before the making of Pi – secrets within – which was basically a paint by number procedure once all the decimals was written on the canvas grid – I knew, intelectually That No image was going to apear. Because first of all, the string of digits was stacked into sections of 146 digits. And second of all, That the digits follows a even distribution, That is, there are in average the same amount of each number in any large enough section choosen in pi and with seemingly No pattern. But still I couldnt help to wonder what if an image or any visually perceptible interpretation would apear? Like a mathematical version of the philosophical theodesis problem it just highligts a logical paradox between the idea and the observed reality. And still, to me it vibrates and dur to the above, becomes is a testament that the physical reality holds secrets.
I sent it to various open art exhibitions, including Liljevalchs spring exhibition. I even thought maybe to donate it to the SU mathematical department. But there where No respond. I was naive to think that it would be. I made a video and put it on youtube. I was happy to find recently That after all these years the video was still there.
I guess Its like when a person with entusiasm is speaking about his favourite subject to a person That has not the slightest of interest. How can you blame this Other person? Its rather the enthusiatic persons problem, obsessing Over these things No one else bother to think about.
So regardless of the implications of this piece, because this is a philosophical and artistic investigstion not a mathematical investigstion, if That is not obvious At this point.
The video ’Pi – secrets within’ created in conjunction to the actual painting is a meta work emphesizing this angle of aproach.
At least I can say, not true for any Other work Ive done, although I always strive for this, That it is with a mathematical certainty a perfectly balanced abstract Painting when it comes to the value scale (contrast)
I’ll end with a mind blowing fact of pi and what have always fascinated me beyond words and maybe also was one of the reason of this obsession with Pi. This fact, that concerns the magnitude of Pi, its infinite nature when we see it as this ”bridge” between roundness and linearity and its duality due to it is at the same time a fixed mathematical number or constant. This make me think about Einsteins contemplation, that he asked himself prior to developing the special and general theory of relativity, in a very playful and creative way, typically his brilliant yet childlike way of thinking. He asked himself: Did God have a choice when creating the universe or could it be in only one way?
To calculate a circle That is big enough to hold the entire known visible universe, the sufficient number of digits needed in pi is: 5
Pi – secrets within
oil on canvas, 146 x 146 cm.
The 21.316 first digits in pi visualized by a ten step value scale, black representing 0 and white is 9.