Sunday, May 01, 2005

Rene Thom and Dali

It's been many days since I posted anything of consequence, and I am still trying to prove that /time spent blogging/ + /time spent on research/ is not a constant. Oh well...

I finally got done with a slew of deadlines, and took a trip over to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to see the ongoing Dali exhibit. I'll leave an art critique to the experts; it was refreshing and rather bizarre, all in the same breath. Dali had this knack of absorbing the prevailing trends of the time and then expressing them in his work in a vivid way. He did this with Freudian theory, and with quantum theory (or more precisely with the idea that matter is indivisible).

His last painting was called 'Swallow's Tail', and is yet another example of his ability to transform ideas into art. In this case, the ideas came from topology, and specifically from Rene Thom's work in catastrophe theory. The term 'swallow's tail' is in fact a term coined by Thom to describe a certain kind of topological structure.

Dali made other topologically inspired paintings towards the end of his life:
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