Saturday, July 17, 2010

six memos for the next millennium

Yesterday I listed a piece from a project I have been working on and off for some time.  I took it upon myself to create rings based on the chapters (although, they are actually written as lectures) in Italo Calvino's book Six Memos for the Next Millennium.  It is a book I have been carrying around with me since the end of the last millennium!  I dip into it from time to time.  It is like an old friend, we travel around together on trains and boats and planes.  Sometimes we talk, sometimes we just sit beside each other in comfortable silence (they way you can only do with a really good friend).  

This is 'Six Memos ring 3 Exactitude'. 

Calvino's opening words on the topic of Exactitude are :

"For the ancient Egyptians, exactitude was symbolized by a feather that served as a weight on scales used for the weighing of souls. "  

He then distills exactitude down into three salient meanings - the last one being:

"a language as precise as possible both in choice of words and in expression of the subtleties of thought and imagination."

The lecture continues in a curious way - Calvino explains exactitude by describing what it is not, by describing its' opposite!  Sometimes this is easier isn't it?  We know what we don't want, but it is often impossible to explain and describe what we do want.

These words and phrases of Calvino's third lecture were present when I began designing this ring.  




It is exact as it is precise. It is composed of sheets of sterling silver which have been cut by hand and meticulously soldered together. The hollowed domed silver piece that balances on the top is patinated on the inside to give the silver a blackness and depth. The dome represents time, the passing of which is about the most exact thing I can think of. 


The width of the ring tapers by 1mm from bottom to top which means the two sides of the ring supporting the dome are not parallel.  They fly away from each other into infinity.  But before they spread too far apart they support the domed element - and it sits like that Egyptian feather on the scales that Calvino writes of. Precisely and exactly balanced. 



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