Totem Flow/eMergy Burn

10 June 2006 at 12:05 pm 1 comment

Well, the sculpture opening has been postponed until tomorrow because of all the rain we’ve been getting here in New England.  It gives me a bit more time to think about what I want to say to introduce my piece.  I’ll probably start by saying that I’ve been trying to develop a new form of economics that focuses on energy flow and that this piece tries to represent some of the ideas I’ve had over the past five years as I investigate the science, social science, and humanities of energy flow.  Coiled copper wire has always given me the impression of flowing energy, so by chaotically coiling the wire as I have in each of these works  I am visually representing the movement of electrons and photons.

Totem Flow/eMergy Burn: detail Totem Flow/eMergy Burn: detail

In Totem Flow/eMergy Burn, I have wrapped Solid #4 copper wire around 3/8″ copper pipe.  In terms of the catalog description (see my post from June 9th for this), one could imagine the copper pipe flowing slowly through time in a gradual coiling motion, while the copper wire racing around it moves at a much higher speed (the theme of the show, by the way, is “Movement”).  Or, in terms of the example of glass that I use in the catalog description, the copper pipe could represent the slow flow of glass over centuries, while the copper wire represents the relative flow of water, for instance.

The title is an attempt to transmit as much information about the concept of energonomics or energenesis as possible.  “Totem Flow” sounds like “totem pole” and is meant to invoke a religious or spiritual dimension to the work.  In a very real sense, I have come to worship energy as a manifestation of the divine, and the fact that everything is an embodiment of the energy from the original explosion of the Big Bang means that the divine is infused throughout the creation.  In the words of Manuel DeLanda:

In a very real sense, reality is a single matter-energy undergoing phase transitions of various kinds. . . . Rocks and winds, germs and words, are all different manifestations of this dynamic material reality, or, in other words, they all represent the different ways in which this single matter-energy expresses itself.  (from A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History p. 21)

The concept of “eMergy” is complicated enough to deserve its own post, but I will simply introduce it by saying it is a concept of “embodied energy” developed by Howard T. Odum.  I copied the way Odum spelled the word in an online article titled “eMergy Evaluation.”

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Entry filed under: art, delanda, energonomics.

Totem of Energy Flow eMergy: Embodied Energy

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Tiny Energies « Scholaris Erratus  |  21 November 2007 at 11:08 pm

    […] invoked Odum by naming my sculpture after one of his key concepts–eMergy.  It doesn’t surprise me that Snyder was reading Odum back in the 1970s and […]

    Reply

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