has released a new book: Grid Index
, which is simply that, an index of grid patterns, presumably developed into some sort of taxonomy, but certainly provided with vector format data files, for reuse.
Nicolai is a master of distillation. At least some of the grid forms in his book are likely to have been seen in designs dating back centuries or millenia (for instance the arabic hexagonal tile forms on the open-page photo below). However, Carsten here refines such designs to fine black lines on white, colours left for the viewers’ mind to imagine (or not). And he includes the data output of whatever (mathematical and/or empirical) process he used to create them - adding the vector files of all grids so that “with simple superimposings you can create new ones”.
In his sound works, and arguably, his entire aesthetic, Nicolai simplifies, filters, before adding a different complexity. His audiovisuals are distilled to sine-tones, filtered noise, black and white, greyscale, and simple forms of lines or points before complexity is re-introduced in the time-space structure and arrangement of such basic elements. Nicolai even suggests this as a fundamental tenet - “Everyone develops his own strategies to filter or ignore specific stuff”. A refined aesthetic of synthesis via analysis.
The book reminds me somewhat of a book I have somewhere in storage - “Rhythmusic. Lines and Stripes in Variations
” by Wolfgang Hageney, which contains pages of striped patterns in black and white, primarily intended I recall, for fabric designers. The apparent simplicity, developed into simultaneous repetition and variation, is intriguing and enticing.
Author: Carsten Nicolai
Release: May 2009
Price: € 39,90 / $ 60,00 / £ 35,00
Format: 18,5 x 23 cm
Features: 320 pages, full colour, hardcover, incl. CD-ROM
Grid Index is the first comprehensive visual lexicon of patterns and grid systems. Based upon years of research, artist and musician Carsten Nicolai has discovered and unlocked the visual code for visual systems into a systematic equation of grids and patterns. The accompanying CD contains all of the grids and patterns featured in the publication from the simplest grids made up entirely of squares to the most complex irregular ones with infinitely unpredictable patterns of growth, as editable vector graphic data files. Use it to map out the underlying grids of any image or form and to create recurring geometrical grids in graphic design - an essential reference for designers, visual artists, architects, researchers and mathematicians.