I began a “Year of Walking” seeking to draw inspiration from walkabouts.

An article about Emmy Noether [1], a great mathematician and contemporary of Einstein, described the “Noether Theorem” proving the connection of physical laws of symmetry and conservation. Essentially, “If a system has a continuous symmetry property, then there are corresponding quantities whose values are conserved in time.”[2] For instance, a wheel has radial symmetry, looking the same in all directions when it spins. Noether’s Theorem shows that radial symmetry is linked to the conservation of angular momentum.

I asked, “If a symmetry in my life is walking, what value is conserved?” What is conserved in my life is NOW, this intersection of past and future possibilities. Memories, dreams, and reflections [3] collapse space and time into a rich singularity. I coin the term Vandenberg-Noether Singularity for this melding of life, dreams and art.

What then is the drive to create art? An article in NYT about black holes [4] provides me a perspective. Apparently there was some serious debate around whether information ever is lost. Stephen Hawking conceded that his idea that information in a black hole is lost is without merit, and now he concurs with Einstein and the concept of conservation of information.

My Year of Walking recovered data from the information sink, that singularity of NOW (whether an instant or a year, is arguably inconsequential in the vastness of time space). From that data I draw my art, rediscovering, finding patterns, generating ideas and insights. If I mine this experience well, my art will provide insights to, if not recreate, my life. Indeed, I submit that my Art is a conservation of symmetry that Noether might recognize.


[1] “The Mighty Mathematician You’ve Never Heard Of,” By Natalie Angier, New York Times, Science Times, Published: March 26, 2012. 

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noether%27s_theorem#Informal_statement_of_the_theorem [Thompson, W.J. (1994). Angular Momentum: an illustrated guide to rotational symmetries for physical systems 1. Wiley. p. 5. ISBN 0-471-55264-X.]   
[3] Memories, dreams, reflections. Jung, Carl G. New York, NY, US: Crown Publishing Group/Random House. (1963). xviii 398 pp.

[4] http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/13/science/space/a-black-hole-mystery-wrapped-in-a-firewall-paradox.html?pagewanted=all

Nous fool - walkabout

2013 · Pen & ink, color pencil on Drew's Lumber Checking Book grid paper · 8"x4"