The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

BF's FB interview with Dick Termes, regarding his painting "The Big Bang" continues on the Forum.

Between You and Dick Termes
Dick Termes September 2 at 2:23pm
Hi Bill.......Sure how do we do this?
Bill Fleming September 2 at 2:46pm
If you want to comment directly on the blog,
we need to make sure you have a Google account.
Do you know if you have one or not?
Dick Termes September 2 at 3:53pm
not sure........i will check...........DT
Bill Fleming September 2 at 4:01pm
Bonny's going to make sure you are signed on.
That way you'll be able to erase something if
you don'tlike what you wrote, and start over.
I'm goingto tell people that your going to do
an interview and ask them to get some questions
ready for youto answer. I'll start out with a few
of them so you'll have something to write about.
I'll get all this ready this evening.

You can start writing to the blog any time though.
You don't have to wait for me.
And you can write anything you want to write.

I think for one thing it would be cool to hear how
your sphere got chosen, to be the cover illustration
and whether Stephen Hawking had anything
to do with the selection of art. Were there other
illustrations under consideration?

Another thing I'll ask is whether or not you think
your sphere is a symbol for all the space and time
and stuff there ever has been, and there is now,
and all there ever will be. Because I think it could
be looked at that way.
Dick Termes September 2 at 4:05pm
Do you realize I don't have any idea why they picked this?
Bill Fleming September 2 at 4:07pm
No. Really? How did you find out about it?
Dick Termes September 2 at 4:14pm
They have been emailing me for some time but I am
not sure if they found me on the www or from a Art/Math
showing I have been apart of in France that has been
traveling all over or maybe one of the books.
I have asked them that question but no answer yet.
Bill Fleming September 2 at 4:21pm
So did they just ask you for permission and you said
yes and that was that? Do you know what was on the cover before?
Dick Termes September 2 at 9:36pm
They informed me a while back they were interested in
my image on the book but had to look at a lot of others
and would get back to me. I had not promoted this at all.
They came to me.
Bill Fleming September 2 at 10:28pm
That was very smart of them!

Ok, Dick, I'm going to use this much of our talk here
to get the interview started on the Decorum Forum
website. We can continue talking about things there.
See you on the blog!


Dick said...

Bill, I just found out from the Stephan Hawking book people that they found me by just searching the web. The name of my sphere THE BIG BANG I suppose got their attention. I think making me find-able on the web, the credit must go to Asio. Over the years my spherical paintings have been fascinating to the math and science world. Why is that true? Lots of my work grows straight out of three dimensional geometries. Even the six point perspective comes from geometry. That gets you into some pretty universal concepts in a hurry.

Bill Fleming said...

Yeah, those Asios. I've heard they have some pretty nice, pretty talented people over there.

So Dick, back to my question above.

I think your Big Bang sphere could stand as a symbol for everything there ever was, everything there is now (whatever that means) and everything there ever will be. In other words, the entirety of space/time. Were you thinking of anything along those lines when you painted it?

Dick said...

Well, when you think about the BIG BANG it fits that kind of thinking..everything that WAS...IS...WILL BE.
When I do art I don't always thing about (what does this mean)? With this piece I think I was thinking more about the design side of what was happening and not so much about what the meaning was. When you think about holding to a system that you are exploring, good stuff usually comes out. In my opinion, the world outside of us has lots of wonderful systems that make it work....exploring basic ideas and systems many times will tie us into those universals that nature also uses. I have said this many times but when you do art this way you get back way more than you put in. You learn from your investigation. You find out where the art takes you rather than forcing the art to express you. So, to answer your question....this system is very simple and wonderful things can come out of that like your..WAS...IS...WILL BE...concept. One other part of this piece, as it is a sphere, is the other side. This side shows a reverse of the side used in the book. This talks about the Big Crunch, so the Universe comes back upon itself and than once again creates another Big Bang and back and forth in a pulsating rhythm. That's what came out of sticking to this system. I just followed where it took me.

Bill Fleming said...

I see what you mean, Dick. The thoughts arise out of the implications of the geometry, not vice versa. Some of the physics books I've been reading lately say kind of the same thing. There's this really cool geometry structure that seems to be predictive of how the universe really, no kidding, is. And sure enough, they do the experiments and there it is.

Another thing that I wonder sometimes looking at your work that has "big" implications is whether it is possible for us to stand outside the cosmos like we seem to be doing looking at your sphere and observe it from some other (in this case "nowhere") vantage point. Like God or something... standing in a separate place from everything there ever was, is, or will be.

I know you encourage people to look at the spheres long enough until they "flip" and you have the sensation that you're not outside them any more but rather somehow inside them with the whole universe wrapped around you.

I said one time on one of your videos that if there was indeed a spiritual aspect to your work, that might be it. But I also think I said that I've never really talked about that with you much.


Do you want to comment on that?

When we look at a Termesphere, are we being kind of Godlike in a way?

Or is that too much of a stretch?

Nadge said...

What a question, Bill.

God like? Maybe. Or maybe not.

I've experienced the sensation you mention. Where the sphere flips and you are no longer outside but rather inside. Or at least that's what your perception machine is squawking in space/time terms.

Which, I suppose, is eeking toward what the experience of being God must be like. Although, I'm not sure I'm ready to assert that God has the same kinds of perceptual experiences that we do. Or does s/he?

Either way, here's what I know. The sensation I feel when I can consciously flip between perceptual modes (inside to outside) while experiencing the wonder of a Termesphere, is one of power and control. Not many people can accomplish this task.

For instance, this little right brain left brain test has been making the rounds in the "cybersphere" for a while now.

Most people can only observe the dancer rotating in one direction. I can make her flip at will.

Which brings me to a question.

Does our sense that we are in control of things that are seemingly out of our control make us, in a sense, God like?

Or, since we're part of everything that ever was, is and will be, are we (together with the plants, animals and all the other matter in the universe, including the math that governs the formation of all of it) not God like, but just plain God and just don't know it yet?

I mean, that law of attraction thingy is pretty compelling evidence that we are indeed in charge in more ways than we have historically believed.

Or are we just plain out of our minds and born to make art so that scientist can look for proof that what we think is possible is, indeed, possible?





Dick said...

Another thing that is important, I believe, is that with the spherical geometries I use connect better to how thing are in the universe... say compared to the flat geometries.

If we use a pattern or geometric system in a small sphere it still would work the same way in the big patterns of the universe. If the Universe is using that pattern.

Standing outside what you are inside of is truly what happens with the Termesphere. It is a little God like. It is like moving outside your body looking back at where you were...or something. I have used titles like...Portholes to the Past....Holes to the Whole....Concave Bubbles....Eye am the Vanishing Point....God' Eye View....Inside the Outside...Reflecting Through..To Build a Hole... I think they all try to bring attention to the idea we are outside something we are inside of.

Another part of my spheres that is missed a lot is... If I really conceived the environment from inside the ball it would be backward on the outside...It isn't backwards. From the outside of my paintings if you could poke a hole in the ball and turn it inside out through the hole and go in through the hole yourself it would read correctly. Did that make sense? Like a spherical TV, you want it to read like we see it in the real world.

There is a lady writing a paper comparing my six point perspective to the mirrored ball....that is interesting.

The illusion where the Termesphere seems to look concave is pretty shocking when you first see it. Video helps with that illusion as you are flat already and all you have to have your mind do is push it in. The concave is the most natural way to see the world around us so our minds want to push it back to the normal. Most all illusions are based on that concept... what we think is the normal way things should look. The artist or designer pushes it in another direction far enough so both are somewhat equal.. Our minds push it back to normal. I think that is where my sphere illusion comes from also. If there is a spiritual side it might be that reality is very close to an illusion............what do you think?

Nadge said...

I think the notion of illusion and reality being very close in nature is a fantastic notion.

It seems, based on a number of breakthroughs in neuroscience and studies in embodied cognition, perception may or may not be reality after all. It all depends on what we choose to believe.

I can't prove it, but a Harvard Professor Emeritus by the name of Gerald Zaltman makes a pretty good case for the idea that we each "create" our own perceptions based on what we think we think. Meaning, our neo cortex is responsible for rationalizing or making sense out of all the things that come bubbling up from our unconscious mind, the place where 95% of "thinking" actually occurs. What we call thinking is only about 5% of our regular brain activity and takes place in the neo cortex—the part that uses metaphors (a Greek word meaning "transfer") to help us comprehend things we are incapable of comprehending, thereby creating a reality that is the result of a transformation of inherently unusable information into decision making criteria. It seems to work fairly well for us. But is it really real?

Knowing that the English dictionary (or any dictionary for that matter) was once devoid of any lexicon whatsoever, I'd say it's all a bunch of made up stuff. A trick we figured out how to play on ourselves so that we can tell each other what to do.

Again, I can't prove it, but I think reality IS an illusion. Which could be true regardless of whether or not perception is reality.

I'll admit, the logic has a pretzel like quality to it.

Yet, the experience of observing one of your spheres, Dick, pretty much coats the notion in mustard and all but makes it worth its salt.

Bill Fleming said...

Well a couple of things come to mind.

First, your art does what all great art does, Dick, which is to make us look at ourselves in a new and unexpected way.

As you have described, the real thing thing that any Termesphere is really "about" is the viewer.

In fact, the viewers vision and consciousness is REQUIRED in order to complete the statement the piece wants to make.

At first, I start off looking at it like I do any other object of art, enjoying the shapes and colors, the overall composition, the patterns, the rhythm, the symbolism, etc.

But finally, when I fall into it, I end up with the uncanny sensation that I'm standing there watching myself watch myself watching this world you have created go by.

It really is astonishing.

And I agree about the videos. It takes quite a bit for me to get relaxed enough to let the flip happen when I'm looking at your spheres in real, 3D space. But in the videos, they're just flipping back and forth with impunity.

This is especially interesting to watch when you are handling one of the spheres and explaining to us what they're about. It looks like magic. like theyre somehow flipping their spin left and right right in your hands!

The other thing that comes to mind related to spirituality/God/etc, is something Deepak Chopra always says.

It kind of relates to what Nadge was talking about as well.

For me, your spheres help illustrate Deepak's notion that "we are in God like a fish is in water." i.e. without even knowing it, or ever really having to think about it.

The other religious principle that comes to mind for me oftentimes, when looking at your work is the Zen Buddhist notion of "Nowhere Standing" as discussed in the classic story where the kitchen boy corrects the Zen master Shen-hsiu's poem to read:

"The Bodhi is not a tree,
The clear mirror is nowhere standing.
Fundamentally not one thing exists.
Where then is a grain of dust to cling?"

...and we haven't even touched on quantum physics yet!

Let's put it this way, Dick. You give the idea of "Sunday Painter" a whole new meaning, man.

Deep reality and metaphysics just by drawing circles on balls. Amazing!

So Dick, what are you working on right now? What's the latest Termes idea?

Dick said...

BILL....First, your art does what all great art does, Dick, which is to make us look at ourselves in a new and unexpected way.

DICK...... This is a nice compliment. I think the idea of dealing with total visual space around us, like the spheres do, does make us see something that is always there, the world around us. We live in these total worlds all the time. So, I hope I am making people see the big picture.

BILL....Termesphere is "about" the viewer.

DICK... I guess all paintings and probably all fine arts is about the viewer but I think you are right in that people do have to take a little more time looking and thinking about my work. I like to have different levels of thinking going on so it might take many trips back to the work to get the story. Also if the concave is going to happen people really have to engage their minds...

BILL.....But finally, when I fall into it, I end up with the uncanny sensation that I'm standing there watching myself watch myself watching this world you have created go by.

DICK... I can't add to this...this is too good.

BILL...interesting to watch when you are handling one of the spheres

DICK.... If you think about it I am holding onto something I am inside of...that is pretty strange.

When you add the MOVA sphere concept to my work, you really add one more level.

The Mova/Termesphere combines solar motion to a ball floating within another ball. Soon I will have three of my spheres reproduced in this system. I look forward to see how well they go over. My point is, it adds another level of strange to it.

BILL..."we are in God like a fish is in water." i.e. without even knowing it, or ever really having to think about it.

DICK.... If we are God, then we are also like the water around fish. We are around ourselves.??

BILL..........Deep reality and metaphysics just by drawing circles on balls. Amazing!

DICK.... You made me realize the BIG BANG is totally made out of circles. I don't think I had even noticed. If you think about the circle idea, even the six point perspective cubical worlds I create are all circles....every line I draw can be projected into a greater circle of the sphere, so in a way they all are circles...thanks Bill.

BILL....What's the latest Termes idea?

DICK... I think some of the most exciting things that have come up are the transparent spheres. I have done three of these lately. HOLES TO THE WHOLE....REFLECTING THROUGH...and.. BEHIND THE FOREST. Want to know the thinking on these?

Bill Fleming said...

Yes, of course! That's what I was hoping you would talk about next. Those things take your "thing" to a whole new level, by penetrating the surface and actually involving us in the space inside the ball as well as the outside of it.

Please, tell us about how you came up with that idea and what you think it adds to the "termesphere experience."

Dick said...

This transparent sphere idea has been brewing for many years. SEEING CLEARLY and TWO SIDES both have turned into different pieces but they played in the transparent area. The Hemismirrors also played in this area and they also have been around for some time. Hemismirrors is where I take a hemisphere and mount a mirror onto the back side of it. I leave a certain amount of clearness so you can see through and see the image in the mirror. The curved shape makes it look like a complete sphere. Of course lots of other things are also involved in it.

But the important forward jump happened with a 16” diameter piece called REFLECTING THROUGH. A small study made me realize if you leave windows or holes in the walls of a room and think of them as mirrors on the walls they will read very much like a true mirror would read. When you realize the image you see off the back side (inside) of the ball, is backwards and what you should see in a mirror. So, not only does the mirror read correctly by getting its image off the back side but the world you see on the inside can be different than the outside. This leads to all kinds of possibilities.

I took advantage to that on the next sphere called BEHIND THE FOREST. In this case, the trees you see on the outside of the sphere have a landscape with very odd animals behind them. The animals and horizontal landscapes show up behind the trees but are actually on the inside surface of the trees. I think I am just touching what could be done here. The question I ask myself is what can this new system talk about that has never been able to be said before. If I can answer that question then I am doing my job correctly.

Bill Fleming said...

Well, I'm tempted to write a really long answer Richard, because a whole bunch of possibilities jumped out for me when I first saw one of these things.

But I'll try to keep it short.

First, the transparency brings a whole new immediacy to the piece. With the solid sphere you still had to wait for the mind to knit the whole thing together to begin to understand the totality of the environment being described.

It took time.

The windows defeat that. It's all right here, right now, at least when you look through the windows (or at the mirrors as you call them.)

But it also gives you an opportunity to play with the concept of time. We can literally be in two "nows" at once, or even more, depending on how you layer the paint on the sphere.

So in short, you have created a whole new set of "time" options.

You've also collapsed what used to be kind of a barrier to the illusion you were trying to build —that being the barrier of the hidden volume of space "inside" the sphere.

Suddenly, you're not just dealing with one surface anymore, but rather two "spaces," just as you are potentially addressing two (or more) "times" as well.

That starts to suggest being everywhere and every when at once, as per some quantum physics theories, or there being parallel universes as per some others (David Bohm for example.)

So in a way, if the non-transparant Termespheres were a depiction of General and Special Relativity a la Albert Einstein, the "mirror pieces" start addressing some of the big questions about nature at the quantum level.

Ok, I should probably quit now. Or I'll write myself into a parallel universe or something and none of you will be there with me to read it!

Dick said...

Well Bill, I love what you are saying and seeing. I have four new transparent spheres to play with so I hope things continue to happen. It is an amazing world the spheres let you into and when the transparent is part of it, it really does break into another level. HOLES TO THE WHOLE really does put you into a strange situation mentally. What is it saying....I like your answer..............DT