birth growing forming
life healing joining
death decaying fragmenting
there are only 3 core symbols, everything else is derived from these 3. new symbols are created in powers of 3. when a new concept is added to the group, it would apply to all existing symbols. a new concept may not just add a graphical element to a symbol, it may completely transform the symbol
3 symbols is an experiment in how to reconcile in a single image the idea of photographic realism with the symbolism of forms, lines and dots, which represent the ‘unreal’ and hidden, the fundamental forces that lie within/behind what we see and experience as ‘real life’. Together these 2 layers, one of formless colour and the other of colourless form, represent the intangible and shifting boundaries between our perception of the world and the world itself; the point at which our symbols for the world merge with our perception of it.
The real is represented by a composite of 630 images appropriated from a systematic search of Google Images. The image selection process started with formulating a list of 21 words to be used as image search terms. A seed list of words beginning with the letters R, G and B was constructed, from which 21 words were selected randomly/intuitively.
These 21 words were typed into Google Images and 30 images for each word selected. Each set of images was composited into a single image, resulting in 21 images which were then merged in repeating sequence R-G-B to form the final composite.
[a number of arbitrary factors contributed to the process, for example, 7 folders fitted on my laptop desktop screen in a vertical column of icons, 30 was the number of images i had downloaded for the first word before i checked how many had been downloaded]
The unreal is represented by simple elemental forms, painted onto the surface of the composite image in 3 rectangular desaturated spaces. 3 graphical symbols were created to represent the forces of birth/growth, death/decay and healing/reconciliation. These monotone patterns painted on the image surface symbolise the fundamental, abstract nature of matter. This abstract world is colourless, colour arises when we perceive the abstract; the act of perception solidifies what in reality has no substance or colour.
The 3 symbols were based on a series of black and white line drawings which represent birth, healing and death.
The symbols are contained in 3 columns, whose size and placement is derived from the dimensions of the golden rectangle.
3 into 9
The 3 primary symbols were extended into a set of 9 to represent the primary forces of birth, healing and death acting on each other.
[the 3 symbols become 9 symbols when each column is divided into 3 (the original 3 symbols would need to be stretched to fill the columns, and it seemed natural to multiply the symbols together into a 3×3 matrix]
The division of the 3 columns into 3 rows introduces the idea of a dominant (primary) force and a secondary one. The 3 columns represent the primary, and the rows represent the secondary. Hence each cell is a space in which a primary force interacts/transforms a secondary one.
The 3 primary symbols occupy cells 1, 5 and 9 (these cells are the ones where both the column and the row represent the same symbol).
The remaining 6 symbols were derived as follows:
The ‘addition’ of 2 symbols to form a 3rd derived symbol is an intuitive operation, partially based on the technique of compositing. It is transformative rather than additive, intuitive and non-linear, and the order in which the symbols are combined affects the form of the derived symbol.
The process of combining 2 symbols graphically to produce a 3rd can be understood in terms of what properties each symbol possesses:
birth = lines radiating from a centre, attraction of magnetic poles…
healing = closed loops, joining together
death = broken arcs, opening forms, breaking apart