Infinite cutting

by Dries De Roeck on December 7, 2010

Whist going through my blogroll this morning, I came across the “Countdown” post on Today and Tomorrow. Countdown is a video performance by Alexander Thieme in which he keeps cutting a large piece of paper in half until the point he can’t physically manage to cut it again.

What the video shows is that the real world has certain constraints we take for granted, much like I tried to point out in my previous post about Snowtrails. If we however approach the same topic in a digital way, these constrains fade. Obviously nothing new, since the infinite cutting shown in the video is the inverse of infinite folding. This problem has been solved by maths over the years, we can very precisely predict how small or how tall a piece of paper becomes when it is infinitely cut or folded respectively.

These differences between the real and digital world get my mind going about what would happen if we didn’t have to make this boundary. Suppose Alexander Thieme would start cutting his paper in a digital way after he couldn’t cut it physically, this artpiece would become infinte – which is exactly the point he is not trying to make.

Or maybe I should just watch Alice in Wonderland again to soothe my haywire-going braincells.


*Watch* Alice in Wonderland? Com’on, you can do better than that.

*Read* it. Throw in ‘Through the looking-glass’. Love it. Read it twice, so you can cite passages.

`When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.’

Think about everything Humpty Dumpty says. Hard. Love the writing. Re-read it again.

My God, man. Movies.

by Jay-D on December 14, 2010 at 1:20 pm. #

Dear Dries, thank you for your comment. It is fun to see that there are more people sharing similar thoughts.
Let me just focus on another observation: cutting paper in real world I need to make a choice between two pieces to cut on, as they seem equal to me. I tend to keep the left part and sort the right off; probably it has something to do with writing habit, from left to right. As the parts are getting smaller, I drop the right one because I hold the paper in my left hand. If I didn’t have these reasons, I would probably use random choice or my intuition.
In mathematical folding you woudn’t have to get rid of a second part and here we are again at your notion of incompatible real and digital worlds.

by Alexander Thieme on January 27, 2011 at 8:41 am. #

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