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Author Topic: Exhibition on early fractal images in New York, Sept 21, 2012 - Jan 27, 2013  (Read 508 times)
Description: The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos & the Materiality of Thinking
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NYC Chaos Exhibition
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« on: September 17, 2012, 08:12:18 PM »

Exhibition in NYC: The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking

Dear user of fractalforums:

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Nina Samuel and I am Visiting Assistant Professor at the Bard Graduate Center in New York City. I am an art historian originally from Berlin working on the intersection of the arts and sciences since many years. I curated the exhibition "The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking" in the Focus Gallery of the Bard Graduate Center in New York that, I hope, will be very interesting for many of you.

The exhibition shows never exhibited images, objects and films of the office of mathematician Benoît Mandelbrot that I was allowed to visit last Fall - left exactly in the state it was found after his death. The exhibition also includes material of other historic protagonists working in the field of chaos theory and complex dynamics (Lorenz, Rössler, Douady). These materials reveal aspects of visual thinking that had not been discussed for this field before (e.g. the astonishing importance of hand drawing to understand computer images). Altogether, it brings a new answer to the question of how images function as thinking tool in that field that became so known in the 1980s and 90s.

The exhibition will open on Thursday, September 20, 2012. I also edited a catalogue that will be published in conjunction with the exhibition opening.

If you are interested in publishing a review of the exhibition and / or the catalogue, we will be happy to mail it to you for free. Please get in touch and send me your mailing address. (Please only serious requests of people who will eventually publish a review in any kind of media.)


Moreover, I would be very happy about everyone who is able to attend the opening this upcoming Thursday, September 20, from 6-8 pm. The Bard Graduate Center Gallery is located in New York City at 18 West 86th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.

The show will be on view from September 21, 2012 - January 27, 2013.

Please also feel free to forward this information to people who might be interested in attending the opening or in reviewing the exhibition and / or the catalogue.

Please get in touch if you have any questions or if you would like to get more informations.

Thank you and have a wonderful day.

Warm regards,
Nina


This is the link:
http://www.bgc.bard.edu/gallery/gallery-at-bgc/focus-gallery-4.html


Exhibition and publication: The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot:
Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking

The Bard Graduate Center Gallery, New York City, 18 West 86th Street

Opening: September 20, 2012; 6 - 8 ppm.

On view September 21, 2012 – January 27, 2013


Exhibition Explores the Role of Images in Scientific Thinking

Featuring never before exhibited works on paper and objects including
dynamic black and white drawings, computer print-outs, photographs,
and computer-generated films

Focusing primarily on the work of one of the most notable mathematicians of the twentieth century,
The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking
explores the role of images in the development of what has become known as fractal geometry and chaos theory.
Nina Samuel, visiting professor from Das Technisches Bild in Berlin, is the curator of this exhibition, which will be
on view at the Bard Graduate Center from September 21, 2012 to January 27, 2013.

For thousands of years, Western thought assumed that fundamental
geometry consisted of regular, ideal forms, such as cubes, spheres,
and cones, with straight or evenly curved faces and edges. Benoît
Mandelbrot (1924–2010), however, explored mathematics as he saw it— in
all its untidiness and irregularity, devoting himself to the study,
for example, of the forms of the coastlines of real islands, with all
their unpredictable inlets, creeks, and furrows. Mandelbrot, in other
words, looked at the world. In so doing, he flouted what was in effect
a prohibition pervading much of mathematical thinking against the use
of visual representation. To reintroduce the visual, Mandelbrot took
the groundbreaking step of harnessing the potential of computers,
thereby transforming mathematics into an experimental science. The
result was his invention of fractal geometry, a geometry of actuality
rather than of abstraction, as exemplified in his classic work, The
Fractal Geometry of Nature (1982).

The notion of islands is central to Mandelbrot’s work, associated in
his thinking with both the inspiring and the seductive role of images.
They challenge his own dictum that “seeing is believing” and point to
the interaction between the hand and computer visualizations to
generate new ideas. Frequently, the computer alone is unable to give
an insight, and hand drawing becomes necessary for transforming a
confusing computer image into a new idea or theory.

At his death in 2010, Mandelbrot left a mass of idiosyncratically
organized drawings, computer print-outs, films, manuscript scribbles,
objects, and polaroids in his office in Cambridge, Massachusetts— an
extraordinary trove to which Mandelbrot’s wife, Aliette, generously
allowed Professor Samuel access. “To explore it was like wandering
through the mathematician’s brain,” said Samuel. “It was like
witnessing the ephemeral traces of his very thought processes.”
Selections from these materials form the core of the exhibition.

Along with this rare look into Mandelbrot’s working process, sketches
from his contemporaries — the French mathematician Adrien Douady and
the German biochemist Otto E. Rössler — will also be publicly
exhibited for the first time. The work of the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz, a pioneer of chaos
theory, will be represented by loans from the Library of Congress.
The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality
of Thinking allows the viewer to question the idea that the
illustration of a work must always be secondary to the work itself. On
the contrary, substantive images often play generative roles in the
scientific process, constituting a kind of material thinking conducted
by producing and interpreting visual traces, such as
computer-generated images. These images are often aesthetically
compelling even if they are initially scientifically impenetrable.
This constitutes another revelation of the exhibition: the beauty of
material thinking that can be found in the visual detritus of
scientific investigation.

The Bard Graduate Center Gallery is located in New York City at 18
West 86th Street, between Central Park West and Columbus Avenue.
Gallery hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and
Thursday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. The admission fee is $7 general, $5
senior and students (valid ID); admission is free Thursday evenings
after 5 p.m. For more information about the Bard Graduate Center and
upcoming exhibitions, please visit bgc.bard.edu.

******************************************************

Nina Samuel, PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor

Bard Graduate Center:
Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture
38 West 86th Street, New York, NY 10024
E samuel@bgc.bard.edu
W bgc.bard.edu
W bgc.bard.edu/degree-programs

BGC Exhibitions:
W bgc.bard.edu/gallery

"The Islands of Benoit Mandelbrot": Fractals, Chaos and the Materiality of Thinking
September 21, 2012 through January 27, 2013

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« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2012, 08:16:19 PM »

Sounds very exciting. Congrats for this great initiative!
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