Asymmetry thoughts

imageMachines seem to be good at making symmetrical  artifacts, nature is not. However, if you measure very accurately machines do have their limits in accurate symmetry.  We think we see symmetry everywhere, but this is a trick played on us by the way our brains create patterns. We perceive  people’s faces as symmetrical , they are not.

Me:

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Me split and flipped.

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Sorry, the software won’t let me actually shove them quite together

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2 plus 2 make a very weird number!

Lots of early artifacts, I think pre-industrial revolution, do not slavishly use symmetry.

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The Manor House Museum, Ilkley.

Consider the guilloche panel carved on the top rail of this chair. While there is a flower in the middle and three more at each side, our modern eyes might expect the flowers on each side to reflect each other.  Instead the figures are repeated in the same order at both sides, a repeat rather than a reflection.

Sometimes the issue is asymmetry because a pattern doesn’t fit:

portraict - 1Didn’t seem to be a problem then – this chair survived, the pattern on the lower panel also has a lively dance around the edges ignoring slavish symmetry.

I suppose the tiger looks symmetrical on first glance but to a tiger’s eye no doubt full of the charm of asymmetry.

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While natural scenes hold not a jot of mirrored sameness, we do occasionally mimic that beauty.

image … but then necessarily spoil it by repeats, often out of pure necessity as with this Wm Morris wallpaper block.

Then in the Arts and Crafts movement therer was a move against symmetry in architecture:

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The Red House

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Blackwell, Lake District

I find it hard to describe why I prefer the windows dotted around rather than in a slavish pattern. I wouldn’t try to say patterns are unnatural but I do enjoy natural chaos.

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Hang on, they’re not English oak leaves – Ed,  Nah, Bald Eagle State Park, PA – FS

portraict - 1 (1) portraict - 1 (3)Sorry the posts have been so thin on the ground.  A collection of various minor issues have been getting in the way: work; file sizes on my host server; holidays in the US, posting to Instagram – I would like to find a way to  post here direct from Instagram, anyone know if it’s possible?

Then there’s beekeeping and queen rearing, much easier in nature:

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Longwood Gardens, PA

5 thoughts on “Asymmetry thoughts

    1. Richard Post author

      Thanks Rick, glad you liked it. I forgot the other thing hindering my blogging has been standing around in a charcoal kiln forking out rich dark charcoal whilst breathing in vile white ash. But then I’d probably just have been hanging around on street corners otherwise.

      Reply

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