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Earthly Art

Many of us sometimes forget that fine art surrounds us in our daily lives, from clothing to machinery, as well as photography and videography in advertising and entertainment.  Let us cross the bridge between the worlds of fine art and real-time living.


Art and Function


Ball Bearing MoMA NYC The convergence of art-form and function is evident in this heavy duty ball bearing (1 3/4 x 8 1/2 inch / 4.4 x 21.6 cm) that resembles bearings found in trucks and busses. Smaller versions are used, for example in passenger cars and bicycles. This particular specimen is chrome-plated steel and was donated to MoMA by a Swedish corporation based in the USA [Sven Wingquist (1876–1953); S.K.F. Industries, Inc., Hartford, CT]. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City is, some say, the Mecca of modern art. Along with the modern masters, MoMA's "Industrial Collection" is one of this author's favorite exhibits. Among the museum's holdings is a ball bearing. This kind of bearing is used in many motors and other machines that have moving parts. Aside from the bearing's mechanical artistry, the bearing has the quality of a "pure" art form. The ball bearing shown here is a MoMA piece from MoMA's "Machine Age" collection of the 1920s and 1930s.

Egyptian Tomb: Temple of Dendur Institutions around the world undertook a mission to save these artifacts from the rising water. The Temple of Dendur was awarded to The Met on 27 April 1967 and was placed on permanent exhibition in 1978. Although many artifacts were saved for posterity, other treasures were not saved from the rising water of Lake Nassar, the name of the huge resorvoir behind the dam.
Remark:  A massive collection of traditional art from every corner of the world resides at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met), also in New York City. Among museums of any ilk, this is the museum of museums. The Met has a vast collection of antiquity. The museum houses, for example, an entire Egyptian Tomb, a hall full of Medieval armor, a Chinese Garden, and some fine works of Korean art. Both The Met and MoMA are treasures of inspiration for all humankind.
The Temple of Dendur was built by the Roman governor of Egypt, Petronius, around 15 BC. This temple, as well as many other temples and monuments, were threatened with inundation as the first stage of constructing the Great Aswan Dam, or High Dam, was completed in 1964 across the Nile River. In viewing the Temple of Dendur, notice the construction technique of mounting a long square beam of stone atop a pair, or a row, of vertical columns, which is often described as post and beam construction. The same construction technique is seen in traditional temples of Korea, Japan, and China. One notable difference between the posts and beams constructed in Asia and in the Middle East is in the material: in the Middle East, stone was used, while wood was used in Asia.

Art and Computer Hardware

We are now in the "Information Age" in which computers and computer-related gadgets coupled to the Internet provide an immense number of communications paths between people and between machines. The miniaturization of electrical circuitry has made possible much functionality in a small space.

Printed circuit board Graphics card topside
The inset shows the topside of a video board, or graphics card. Individual electrical components are mounted on the topside of the board and are connected together on the "backside" of the board.
Note the fan. Mod­ern chips have been packing more and more functionality into ever-smaller spaces; consequently, some chips require a fan to avoid destruction of the chip by heat.
Printed circuit boards have greatly helped to reduce the size of electronic equipment. The term "printed circuit" derives from use of photo-printing techniques used in newspaper and magazine printing.
Wires between components in 1950s-era radios or television receivers filled much of the functional space in the device. In the 1960s, wires were replaced by thin copper traces, i.e. wires, that were printed or etched onto a thin copper sheet that was cemented onto one side of the board, which we can call the "bottom-side" of a printed circuit board> (PCB) (the green lines appearing in the picture above). Individual electronic parts, for example resistors and capacitors, were placed on the "topside" of the board (see the inset in the pop-out information) box.
Boards often have specific functions, for example: sound card, graphics card, and Ethernet cards. The board shown on the right is the bottom-side of a video card, or graphics adapter, that is inserted into "slots" on a "motherboard", or "main board".
Just about any machine, nowadays, that does something useful has a printed-circuit board. When viewing the backside of a board, an array of interconnecting strips run around the board in an ordered, well-considered pattern. These patterns are quite functional, yet possess a kind of aesthetic form.

Semiconductor chip Semiconductor chip de­sign also reveals a form of visual art that bridges the domains of art and functionality. This parti­cular chip is used for speech recognition, image analysis, robotics, and radar. Semiconductor chips represent a leap from wires printed on a printed circuit board to wires of microscopic dimensions formed on a thin wafer of silicon (SO2), also known as sand or quartz. Semiconductor chips are now constructed in "nanometer" Apple iPad 2 A5 processor Topside view of Apple's A5X chip: the A5X was used as the central processing unit (CPU), the brain, in some iPads. Apple's A5, A5X, and A6 chips, as well as several other Apple-designed chips, were manufactured by Samsung of Korea. The newer Apple A7 chip, which was also manufactured by Samsung, is about a 1,000 times smaller than early calculator CPU chips of the 1970s, but is incredibly faster and infinitely more functional. Ironically, these two titans of industry for years have been locked in legal battles over reciprocal claims of patent infringement. dimensions (nine zeros, 1 × 10-9). When viewed under a microscope, chips also reveal a form of artistic imagery.
Because of the very small, microscopic scale of modern chip fabrication, chips can have many functional units. Most of the squares in the image on the (left) are functional units that perform specific tasks, while many of the thin lines are microscopic "wires".

Art and Nature

Seurat: A-Pine-Tree-1905 Seurat, La Parade de Cirque (1889): the arrangement of intensity and color of each dot reveals the magic of modern video monitors. Georges-Pierre Seurat (French: 1859–1891) was draftsman a and French Post-Impressionist painter. (Wikipedia Gallery) Pointillism is an artistic technique that became popular in the late ninteenth-century, foretelling the magic of modern full-color video displays. The monitor on which you are viewing this page forms a color image by manipulating the intensity of "pixels", which are a cluster of three dots of light, each of which displays a dot of light in one of the three primary colors, i.e. red, green, and blue. Modern displays render a rainbow of colors as a combination of the intensity of three dots that form one pixel. Another informative article discussing Pointillism appears at Wikipedia
A Pine Tree reveals a dimension of Nature that previewed future technology, namely stage lighting and video monitors (www.henriedmondcross.org).