As hurricanes churn up cold water, more carbon dioxide also gets mixed into the water. This alters the pH slightly and has the possibility of depleting coral. Again, climate change is filled with uncertainty, but more atmospheric CO2 quite possibly leads to more coral depletion due to pH changes. As hurricanes warm the water by churning up cold water to get heated, the warm water also contributes to the melting of ice caps.
He also told us that time lapse films of rotating thunder storms are really interesting. Thunder is something I would love to understand more, for my own sake and because we may incorporate plasma and a "thunder-storm-like" environment into the piece. Generating clouds also sounds interesting, and potentially non-trivial if we want interesting looking cloud formations juxtaposed with plasma displays. The magnets due to levitation will also greatly affect the plasma, and deciding how to do this constructively will be a logistic challenge.
One phenomena that Kerry Emmanuel showed us was just different cloud shapes in general. It feels nice returning to the childhood dreams of knowing why clouds are shaped as they are. A cloud that is relevant to tornadoes is a wall cloud: it is the cloud that exists right before a tornado starts to funnel. It looks quite like a wall, and eventually the entire entity spins around the central axis, or eye. One in particular that Jane loved, though it is just a chance picture and does not exemplify what always happens, was a wall cloud that had an hourglass shape because some of the top part was pulling away from the bottom part. The only thing that unifies all of these as they become tornadoes is that they spin, and the do not always have the same motion in the up and down direction. However I agree that the look of it was quite reminiscent of the sculpture itself. The two portions with a tendril of cloud between seemed like the base, neck, and hood of the sculpture. The motion we pictured in pulling created a sort of tension, which gives an interesting thought of the two portions of the sculpture being pulled by a tensile force in the neck itself. While this does not actually happen, our job is to find natural phenomena with similar forms and think about how parts in the form interrelate, and in the wall cloud picture there was definitely a strong appearance of tension in the separating portions of cloud.
He then began to mention logistics of plasma as I mentioned it, and he said there would be need for high charge density to create plasma. This would likely just be a matter of having a metal with high voltage fed into it. Upon talking to Sarah I've learned that a lot of things are possible, but doing them with only the energy from solar membranes and potentially wind could prove difficult. Logistically it may be best to have some external source of energy that could also be done in a green manner. Then we get into the ugly idea of wires being fed to the sculpture, which is something I would love to avoid.
He then pitched the idea of flotation by Helium, which we have been over and toyed with some. He also discussed Dutch painters and how in painting for a while landscapes did not include varying entities like the sky and water. It is interesting that art learns to cope with different entities and questions with time, and knowing that the horizon levels used to be very high on paintings just to avoid the sky makes me realize how far art has come, yet we still are tackling the sky as an issue in the sculpture. Art is so much about asking and re-asking questions.
Finally, we get to one idea he mentioned that I find very important and prominent in the sculpture and art in general. He discussed how he disliked how much nature was "fractal" and art, along with other man-made objects, is not. He showed us side-by-side pictures of a spiral galaxy and a hurricane, and I was amazed to see how similar they were. I think that is part of what he was getting at with the fractal comment: in fractals you can zoom in with increasing complexity/detail levels and find similar patterns that are different (so it is different from recursion, with infinite repetitions of same-ness). In the galaxy itself we zoom in and find more spirals: hurricanes, sunflower seeds, ect. It is also interesting to notice how many proportions are conserved in nature--circles and so much involve pi, and then even more naturally phi (around 1.618) is a ratio prevalent in spirals, human proportions, art history, and so much in our lives it is hard to grapple with. It is also prevalent in math, because as you approach infinity in the Fibbonacci sequence (1,1,2,3,5,8...add the two numbers before forever)the ratio of a number to the number before it approaches phi (it is actually an irrational number). One of my friends commented recently that math must be found, not made, because all our math continues to cope with and explain nature. In people the ratio of the full length of an arm to the forearm is around phi, we have facial ratios near it, and neuroscience experiments have shown it is the most "attractive" dimensions of rectangles. I would love to learn more about neuroaesthetics. I think many man-made objects do not have higher levels of detail like this, and namely the details do not reflect the picture of the whole. I saw one of the most beautiful pictures I've seen in a long time this weekend, and it was the furthest picture taken from space. I think it is just called the deep space picture, I will ask my friend Gene for the website. It was amazing realizing just how fractal nature is: you could zoom in forever and find more interesting spirals, balls of color and energy, and each time you looked closer there were similarities and differences. I don't know if an interesting way to do this would be to in some way have sub-sculptures with similar forms inside it. I guess that may happen if we use a core shaped like the original subject to some form of degradation--an anticipation of the current sculpture in the future environment. In a way the human brain can even be thought of as fractal in that many similar neurons form networks that create something more than each part, and as you look closer no two neurons are identical yet have similar principles. Our thoughts then too form feedback loops as we learn and enforce thoughts, and each reinforcement (recently I learned this is because of NMDA recpetors that promote dendritic growth factors in cells being used...neurons that wire together fire together. This is another topic altogether). Fractals and recursion are two similar but by definition opposing forces that in some way seem to affect so much of our lives and the universe as a whole, why not try to grapple with them?