A Penrose pentagram

hofstadter.jpg

A classic text although that cover art always looks a little off. I’m sure MC Escher would have insisted on the triangle being equilateral.

Most people are familiar with the Penrose triangle by sight even if they don’t know who “Penrose” was. (Psychiatrist Lionel, together with his son, Roger, the celebrated mathematician and physicist.) I’ve been playing with these things for years, most notably on the cover art I created for Zones by Hawkwind, although the triangle also formed the basis for the robot pathways I created a couple of years ago when illustrating Bruce Sterling’s Robot Artists and Black Swans.

pentagram.jpg

Earlier this week it occurred to me that I hadn’t tried applying the Penrose effect to a pentagram. For a fleeting moment I thought the idea might be a novel one but a quick web search disabused me of this; plenty of similar examples exist already. Here it is anyway, after 20 minutes or so in Illustrator. I’m tempted to try a few more things like this when I have the time. Many possibilities present themselves.

Previously on { feuilleton }
More Swans and Robots

Weekend links 539

earle.jpg

Fire, Red and Gold (1990) by Eyvind Earle.

Roger Penrose won a Nobel Prize recently for his work in physics. I read one of his books a few years ago, and was intimidated by the “simple” equations, but I always like to hear his ideas. This 2017 article by Philip Ball is an illuminating overview of Penrose’s life and work.

• At Dangerous Minds: Joe Banks on the incidents that led to Lemmy’s dismissal from Hawkwind in 1975, an extract from Hawkwind: Days of the Underground. The book is available from Strange Attractor in Europe and via MIT Press in the USA.

• “Not married but willing to be!”: men in love (with each other) from the 1850s on. It’s always advisable to take photos like these with a pinch of salt but several of the examples are unavoidably what they appear to be.

Most of all, this resolutely collaborative production stood against the vanity and careerism of individual authorship; Breton called it the first attempt to “adapt a moral attitude, and the only one possible, to a writing process.” The text itself is peppered with readymade phrases, advertising slogans, twisted proverbs, and pastiches of such admired predecessors as Rimbaud, Apollinaire, and Lautréamont, whose pluralistic credo, “Poetry must be made by all. Not by one,” anticipates the sampling aesthetic by a century. But the intensity was draining, and as the book moves toward its final pages and the writing becomes increasingly frenetic, you can almost feel the burnout taking hold. After eight days, fearing for his and Soupault’s sanity, Breton terminated the experiment.

Mark Polizzotti reviews a new translation by Charlotte Mandell of The Magnetic Fields by André Breton and Philippe Soupault

• The hide that binds: Mike Jay reviews Dark Archives: A Librarian’s Investigation into the Science and History of Books Bound in Human Skin by Megan Rosenbloom.

• “A photographer ventures deeper into Chernobyl than any before him.” Pictures from Chernobyl: A Stalker’s Guide by Darmon Richter.

John Van Stan’s reading of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley uses my illustrations (with my permission) for each of its chapters.

Susan Jamison, one of the artists in The Art of the Occult by S. Elizabeth, talks to the latter about her work.

William Hope Hodgson: The Secret Index. A collection of Hodgson-related posts at Greydogtales.

Gee Vaucher talks to Savage Pencil about her cover art for anarchist punk band, Crass.

Weird, wacky and utterly wonderful: the world’s greatest unsung museums.

Tom Cardamone chooses the best books about Oscar Wilde.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: Jean-Pierre Melville Day.

You by The Bug ft. Dis Fig.

Magnetic Dwarf Reptile (1978) by Chrome | Magnetic Fields, Part 1 (1981) by Jean-Michel Jarre | Magnetic North (1998) by Skyray

Weekend links 404

bellver.jpg

Magazine illustration of The Fallen Angel (1877) by Ricardo Bellver, a statue for The Fountain of the Fallen Angel in Madrid

• Obituaries of the late Stephen Hawking were obliged to concentrate on the professor’s disabilities and global celebrity while skirting around the trickier questions of what he actually spent the best part of his life thinking, writing and talking about. Roger Penrose was not only a friend of Hawking’s for many years but also one of his equally skilled professional colleagues. Penrose’s piece for the Guardian was notable for the way it provided a succinct but informed summary of Hawking’s work at the forefront of theoretical physics.

Brian Eno has announced a box set of old or previously unheard recordings for his artworks, Music For Installations. (Be warned that the various editions range from expensive to very expensive.)

• Flame 1 is the name of a collaboration between The Bug and Burial. The Quietus has an exclusive preview from the forthcoming album.

• Mixes of the week: XLR8R Podcast 533 by µ-Ziq, and Secret Thirteen Mix 249 by Eva Geist.

• Buy High, Sell Cheap: Elianna Kan interviews Alejandro Jodorowsky.

• At Dangerous Minds: Addams Family comic books from 1974.

• Advanced Creepology: Re-Reading Lolita by Michael Doliner.

• A Quietus list of the 40 best compilation albums of all time.

• At Spoon & Tamago: An anti-decluttering house.

• At Dennis Cooper’s: The Spheres.

Physical (1981) by Olivia Newton-John | (Let’s Get) Physical (1990) by Revolting Cocks | UK Girls (Physical) (2001) by Goldfrapp

MC Escher book covers

escher08.jpg

1963. Art: Other World (1947).

MC Escher’s prints have been touring the UK this year: a few months ago they were in Scotland, this month they can be seen at the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London. The renewed attention prompted the BBC to produce a documentary, The Art of the Impossible: MC Escher and Me, in collaboration with Professor Roger Penrose. One of the programme researchers saw my earlier post about the use of Escher’s work on album covers, and asked if I wanted to appear on camera talking about this, something I politely refused to do. I’m happy to hold forth from a keyboard, however, so here’s a post about some of the books that have used Esher’s work to decorate their covers. Most of these are fiction but there must be many more non-fiction titles—especially in the fields of science and mathematics—that borrow Escher’s prints.

escher09.jpg

The first edition of Calvino’s comic stories from 1965.

escher10.jpg

Art: Relativity (1953).

Not a book but editor Michael Moorcock has claimed that this was the first UK magazine to print any of Escher’s work.

Continue reading “MC Escher book covers”

The Fantastic World of MC Escher

escher1.jpg

An Italian documentary about the Dutch artist made in 1980 and directed by Michele Emmer. I don’t recall ever seeing a British TV documentary about Escher (although I’d be surprised if there were none) but this resembles the type of thing the BBC used to do so well. Shots of the Italian towns where Escher lived for many years show the influence of the vernacular architecture on Escher’s prints. Elsewhere, animated sequences bring to life his tessellations, while various mathematicians examine some of the structural principles at work in these very familiar images. Of greatest interest for me is mathematician and physicist Roger Penrose discussing his first encounter with Escher’s work, and the development with his father of the Penrose Triangle, an impossible object similar to those that appear in some of Escher’s prints. (I used a Penrose Triangle in my cover art for Zones by Hawkwind.) The Fantastic World of MC Escher runs for 50 minutes, and may be watched here.

escher2.jpg

Previously on { feuilleton }
MC Escher album covers
Escher and Schrofer