Thursday, November 29, 2007

Wachtel's Van Gogh Weather Map

My longtime friend and colleague, Ed Wachtel, came up with this bit of pattern recognition, and kindly gave me permission to put it on my blogs. McLuhan would have enjoyed this bit of visual punning, which is based on Ed's recognition of the similarity between Vincent Van Gogh's unique and brilliant style of painting and the look of the contemporary satellite weather map. The added touch of the reference to the Weather Channel is more cleverness on Ed's part.

I believe this would count as an example of formal cause, one of the four types of causes identified by Aristotle, a concept that inspired both Marshall and Eric McLuhan (I published a major piece that Eric wrote about formal cause in the Media Ecology Association's journal, Explorations in Media Ecology). In formal cause, rather than the cause-effect relationship that we are accustomed to, which is one of the four Aristotelian causes, specifically efficient cause, it is the form itself that leads to the effect, and this seems to apply especially to art. So, for example, it is the similarity in forms that motivates and is the cause that led to Wachtel's visual mash-up presented below.

But if none of that makes any sense to you, than never you mind, just enjoy the show, and it's one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready, and here we Van Gogh:

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