Noodling with the Taijitu

Averages, Data Representation

On a lark I did some animation silliness today. The typical explanation for the taijitu, or the yin-yang symbol ( ☯ ), mentions how dark and light are intertwined, one leads to the other in a symbiotic wax-and-wane cycle, and one contains the seed of the other inside. Well, said I, I wonder what this wax-and-wane cycle would look like if the taijitu was rotating and you took the average grayscale value of the portion of the symbol passing at the zenith part. Who wouldn’t wonder that?

To make that more obvious, I’ve prepared this anigif, which contains three parts: a rotating taijitu, a cropping of the topmost sliver of the symbol from the centerpoint up (indicated by the red box in the first part), and the average grayscale value of that sliver:

Taijitu Joint000

So, basically, as the Wheel of Earth and Heaven rolls ponderously around, there are alternating times of lightness, darkness and shades in-between. I will leave you with a stand-alone gif of this interplay for your own amusement (caution: may not be synced with the above animation):

Taijitu Fill000

Two New Prints: “Fovea” and a Name Too Long to be Tweeted

Letterpress, Scientific Exploration

The end of another semester, one started out with a rash of missed classes because of crazy winter weather, but slowly managed to unfold into a pretty successful time, if stressful. So to celebrate the end, and to enjoy a nice clean press room thanks to my Extension School students, I ran a couple of projects, both of which had been simmering on the back burner for some time.

The first is the print “Fovea”. This is a three-color letterpress piece done on Lettra 220#. A fovea is the central portion of the human retina, where the photoreceptors crowd very close together to give you detail color vision. This is a representation of the pattern of color-sensitive cones as they cluster in the fovea: