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Moth Marvel in Minkowski Space**
Starting as an exploration of textures, architecture, colours and ephemera the piece gradually coalesces into a statement of my astrophysical marvelling. Organized into four sections the collage represents the four cardinal directions, the four horsemen of the apocalypse, four seasons, elements, noble truths, humours, moon phases, the four ages, the four types of animals. Four is the number of Order in the universe.
While four divides and orders the whole, the whole is all connected on the canvas we call earth. Repeating elements of wood bits, stamps and round shapes against the continuous background patterns provide unification. Even though the Butterfly Effect does not determine the weather across the globe, as a pop culture meme would suggest, it can connote global interconnection, and so there is a moth fluttering across the canvas.
The sweeping colours across the scene, with the sun in the east and the moon glimmering in the west, recollect the earth’s rotation in an immutable universe, that some say, was not built for the human mind to understand. Intrepidly, we persevere with Mars landers and OSIRIS-Rex. The year 2020, ironically a human construct of clear vision, brings a time of uncertainty, of existential angst, and even though ‘four’ can be the ground for our feet to stand on, our heads are in the clouds of cosmic insignificance.
Yet, I agree with the author of a Scientific American blog post*, there is a better response to the vastness of the universe and the insignificance of humanity. It is to marvel at the human mind itself, exploring the cosmos, calculating the electroweak epoch beginning at 10−36 seconds after the Big Bang, and even conceiving of Minkowski space, a four-dimensional continuum that joins, in a mathematical model, space and time.
I didn’t finish reading The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)*** by Katie Mack, which I started recently and promise I will complete some day before everything ends, I did read enough to once again, be in a state of wonder and marvel.
The ideas come together to be represented in this piece Moth Marvel in Minkowski Space.
**Minkowski space is a four-dimensional continuum that joins, in a mathematical model, space and time, helping cosmology to understand how the universe works on a macro and micro level.