Tuesday, April 29, 2008

CONTEST: The Book of Life

There are bits of knowledge that man has carried with him since the beginning of his existence about the natural world but only recently has he begun to realize how truly interlaced and connected these categorized concepts are. Our world is a giant scale that has balanced and continues to balance itself in a universe of seeming chaos. Natural disasters are simply a balancing of the scale and humans are a testament to the tenacity of life but now that we are able effect the natural systems in place, directly or indirectly, we must acknowledge how interconnected and delicate they are. People must find a way to sync up with the our cradle of life or step aside for nature's next improvement.

I conceived this idea in 2007 but only now have had the opportunity to flesh it out and get started. My knowledge of the Earth's interconnected cycles are limited at best because I am not a trained scientist but even the ancient Hindi's and Buddhists knew that somehow everything is connected. As a block printer and bookmaker, my goal is to create a tome of images that infer the natural systems of the earth. I am trying to abstain from including any script as the book must be able to be read and understood by any culture. This being said, I will be employing things like molecular structures and other such visual clues in places like borders. I am also open to including cultural symbolism as well. An example can be seen in the illustration above. The barbs on the ends of the sun's rays are actually hands. The ancient Egyptians used a stylized version of a thumb and flat palmed hand to infer how the sun god touched and blessed his people with his rays of light.
The contest is to see how many of these natural systems I can illustrate, carve into blocks, print, and cram into one volume. When I say I want to create a tome, I want this thing to be big! Your challenge is to present me a natural system in the earth that I have not thought of yet. If I use it, you will receive a print of your system from the edition when it is completed. Now, I said natural system in the earth but many things affect these. For example, I am including the Eleven Year Solar Cycle because the Monder Minimum will attest to that and everyone acknowledges the Lunar Tides. I am also not opposed to the concept of Cosmic Wind Cloud Seeding but I need to be a little bit more educated about that. Here is the list of cycles I have already conceived ideas for so that you'll know what not to suggest. Maybe you have something to add to these concepts? Let me know as that may affect my imagery and you may get a japanese woodblock print!

1. H2O in convection= the weather: liquid, evaporation, condensation, precipitation, liquid

2. H2O and Salt in convection= oceanic currents: warm saline rises, cold saline sinks (the filling of voids in this movement creates the currents)

3. Nitrogen/Carvon Cycle: vegetation utilizes ground nutrients, herbivore consumes vegetation, carnivore consumes herbivore, vermiculture consumes carnivore, vermiculture creates ground nutrients through castings.

4. Solar Cycles (11 years): solar activity cycle and polar magnetic switch

5. Tectonics: magma rises to mantle to create new crust, crust sinks to mantle to create new magma

6. Terran Convection: lava currents through convection

7. Lunar Cycles: lunar gravity on currents

8. CO2 Cycle: leaves absorb CO2 in summer and outgas in winter

9. Respiration: plants absorb CO2 and outgas O2, animals absorb O2 and outgas CO2

The illustrations will be just like the image you see above. Everything must move in a circle (cycle). The pages will literally be round and the book will look like a half circle when closed. There will be a circle cut out of the center as I have already designed a concept for a book stand. I have purchased a sphere of Labradorite from China to be mounted in the center so the pages will glide over it as they turn.
This book is a huge undertaking and I therefore I have not placed a deadline upon it. I am due to have a show about this concept in July of 2009 and hope to finish many prints by then for the show but I do not think that the book will be finished as a whole then. In fact, I think there will be several editions of this book as it grows. Life is a journey not a race and so I anticipate working on this project for 5 to 10 years, maybe even more.
Good luck! I look forward to hearing your response!


cpierson said...

Sounds like quite an undertaking! Does the Labradorite kind of look like the earth?
What about photosynthesis?

Pistoles Press said...

Hi Connie,

Here's some info on Labradorite:



Of course, mine doesn't possess all the flash of that specimen.

At first, I wasn't going to include photosynthesis because it was an organic process but the atmosphere we have today wouldn't exist were it not for the tiny microbes first in the ocean so I'm going to play around with the details on that one and if I use it you'll get a copy, Connie! Thanks for the tip!

Jessica said...

If you're using the Nitrogen and Carbon cycles, what about the Phosphorus and Sulfur cycles? They're pretty interesting. (Yay biogeochemistry!)

Also, to add onto CO2 flux, I believe there's a daily flux in each habitat/area, depending on the dominant photosynthesis type. C3 and C4 plants will exchange gases during the day, whereas Crassulacean Acid Metabolism plants only allow gas exchange at night.

Good luck with your project! It sounds awesome! Ooh, if you're looking for textbooks, The Ecology of Plants by Dr. Jessica Gurevitch et al. is excellent. That or Elements of Ecology by Robert and Thomas Smith. It's nice to see the proportions of the nutrient pools, because the effect by organic life is fairly small.

(/bored ecologist rant)

Pistoles Press said...

Hey Jessica,

Great suggestion! Can you contact me if you want a print? Your profile info is private. My email is pistoles_press@yahoo.com