Thursday, March 08, 2007

soap bubbles...

bubbles1

bubble2

bubble3

bubbles5

bubble4

bubble6

images from soap bubbles by c.v.boys, 1911...

in 1997, i made a small film called "astronomy" - filming a series of 1950's kid's astronomy experiments with a super 8 camera i had received for my 13th birthday. when i spotted this book at a used bookstore around the same time; my plan was to use it as a script for another film. unfortunately, i never got around to filming it; but the idea of both films (the one made and the one imagined) seem to go against c.v. boys' introductory text to this book:

"an experiment is not a conjuring trick, something simply to make you wonder, nor is it simply shown because it is beautiful... their chief object is to enable you to see for yourselves what the true answers are to the questions that i shall ask."

boys' answers, of course, carry weight and interest; but i have always found a different kind of truth in the experience of wonder and the exploration of beauty...

i love these images for their mystery and their ability to evoke things beyond illustration and understanding. taken out of context, they have the ability to be traveresed with eyes, fingers, and minds towards some greater unknown (plus how else do you arrive at a place connecting victorian soap bubble imagery with duchamp's rotoreliefs!). there's a whitman poem about astronomy that contradicts boys' introductory text beautifully:

When I heard the learn'd astronomer,
When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,
When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide,
and measure them,
When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with
much applause in the lecture-room,
How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,
Till rising and gliding out I wander'd off by myself,
In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,
Look'd up in perfect silence at the stars.

of course, i'd take it a step further and hope that one could look down in perfect silence at the charts, diagrams, and numbers in their mystical air as well!

lastly, take a peek at the wonderful new woolgathersome blog... to see another printing of the same book here ....

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7 Comments:

Blogger kclare said...

How wonderful to see this variant –almost looks like part of a Cornell collage…

You appear to have the deluxe edition! I don’t seem to have the second and third illustrations and certainly none of the color plates…thank you for posting these!!

Of course, my favorite scientists are the ones that embrace the possibility of discovering answers to scientific questions through initial (and sometimes pivotal) encounters with wonder and a sense of mystery…

11:11 AM  
Blogger sroden said...

yes, very deluxe... one color image!!!!! indeed i like how the bubbles on yours are dimensional and seem to be floating up a beam. amazing these are the same year and different designs...

10:50 PM  
Blogger the art of memory said...

figure 46 sure is nice, better than most work you see on the walls of modern art museums.

2:45 PM  
Blogger sroden said...

yeah, that one really slayed me!

5:15 PM  
Blogger DougH said...

Strangely, this book was a major influence on Alfred Jarry and inspired 'Exploits and Opinions of Dr. Faustroll, Pataphysician'

2:31 PM  
Blogger bloggsy said...

you know, this was one of the first books i got that inspired my whole obsession with this thing... i always really liked figures 17, 20 and 21. check 'em out. (and you've inspired me to take one step further... i created my flickr account...)

1:08 PM  
Blogger sroden said...

i didn't know about jarry knowing this book... wow... i guess it makes sense, as surely you could take all the images in this book and do a sebold style writing project that would have to end up somewhere in jarry territory... there's a ton of really really strange images in here...

7:32 AM  

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