Thursday, 15 October 2009

Silence Brief

The device above is called the Xenon100, buried over 3000 metres under an italian mountain to protect it from cosmic rays. It's purpose is to help scientists detect and prove the existence of dark matter. Dark matter is proposed to be the force that holds the universe together but it doesn't produce light, sound or radiation meaning it can only be detected by it's effect on matter that can be perceived.

The above image is an invention by Hungarian Mechanic Gábor Domokos
called a Gömböc. It is a three dimensional shape that has only one stable point of equilibrium meaning that it will always return to the same position and rotation, however way it is moved. It works upon similar principles that allow shelled creatures like turtles and beetles to self right their position. It is these seemingly 'silent' forces that intrigue me.

This is a portrait of John Locke, the founder of Empiricism. The philosophy of Empiricism is based upon subjectivity and our relationship with the 'outside' world. What one person sees as red may not necessarily be the same experience that another person may have, which goes for physical, shape, feeling, sense of gravity, smell, taste and all other senses. This is quite an eerie prospect and makes me wonder whether all that there actually is is silence and our experiences are just idiosyncratic mental chatter.

The moon or other astral bodies such as stars I consider as silent, you would expect these immense and sometimes destructive formations to have stupendous volume but due to their distance from us and the vacuum of space between we do not and can not hope to physically hear them, they are essentially silent.

My final response is a personal one, the image above is on the Saddleworth moor in Lancashire, England where I go walking on a regular basis. I find it a very odd and charming place to relax and unwind, part of its beauty is that you are never too far away from civilisation, you can see the towns of Greenfield and Uppermill as you walk and Holmfirth road which is always heavy with traffic, yet the wind and the distance somehow takes the volume away from all of these things, you cannot hear the lorries or the cars any more, but you can still see them.

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