Collaboration with Jesse Vanden Eynde (guitar) to translate the rhythm of a poem into sound.
A video I edited together based on footage taken of and by various members of the CLUBHUIS collective.
I participated in this event on 12.02.2016 at Art Cinema OFFoff in Ghent.
Click for bigger.
I have this friend Matt who is from the internet, where he lives a happy and contented life. The only way to speak to him face-to-face is by video chat. I spoke with him on Skype for 4 hours about philosophical conundrums and then (some time later) made this digital painting based on two webcam stills and what I learned about him during our conversation.
Because it’s in orbit. But can you explain why this is?
I’m currently writing two non-fiction children’s books about the Universe and Earth. In order to explain certain concepts simply, I’m finding I have to gain a much deeper understanding of them myself. Proof of what Einstein said: ‘If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well’.
Searching for explanations to the question of why the Moon doesn’t get pulled into the Earth by its greater gravity, I found a lot of perplexingly vague answers. But I also found this excellent explanation by one Mark Eichenlaub on StackExchange, illustrated with a beautiful diagram by Isaac Newton:
The moon does not fall to Earth because it is in an orbit.
One of the most difficult things to learn about physics is the concept of force. Just because there is a force on something does not mean it will be moving in the direction of the force. Instead, the force influences the motion to be a bit more in the direction of the force than it was before.
For example, if you roll a bowling ball straight down a lane, then run up beside it and kick it towards the gutter, you apply a force towards the gutter, but the ball doesn’t go straight into the gutter. Instead it keeps going down the lane, but picks up a little bit of diagonal motion as well.
Imagine you’re standing at the edge of a cliff 100m tall. If you drop a rock off, it will fall straight down because it had no velocity to begin with, so the only velocity it picks up is downward from the downward force.
If you throw the rock out horizontally, it will still fall, but it will keep moving out horizontally as it does so, and falls at an angle. (The angle isn’t constant – the shape is a curve called a parabola, but that’s relatively unimportant here.) The the force is straight down, but that force doesn’t stop the rock from moving horizontally.
If you throw the rock harder, it goes further, and falls at a shallower angle. The force on it from gravity is the same, but the original velocity was much bigger and so the deflection is less.
Now imagine throwing the rock so hard it travels one kilometer horizontally before it hits the ground. If you do that, something slightly new happens. The rock still falls, but it has to fall more than just 100m before it hits the ground. The reason is that the Earth is curved, and so as the rock traveled out that kilometer, the Earth was actually curving away underneath of it. In one kilometer, it turns out the Earth curves away by about 10 centimeters – a small difference, but a real one.
As you throw the rock even harder than that, the curving away of the Earth underneath becomes more significant. If you could throw the rock 10 kilometers, the Earth would now curve away by 10 meters, and for a 100 km throw the Earth curves away by an entire kilometer. Now the stone has to fall a very long way down compared to the 100m cliff it was dropped from.
Check out the following drawing. It was made by Isaac Newton, the first person to understand orbits. IMHO it is one of the greatest diagrams ever made.
What it shows is that if you could throw the rock hard enough, the Earth would curve away from underneath the rock so much that the rock actually never gets any closer to the ground. It goes all the way around in the circle and might hit you in the back of the head!
This is an orbit. It’s what satellites and the moon are doing. We can’t actually do it here close to the surface of the Earth due to wind resistance, but on the surface of the moon, where there’s no atmosphere, you could indeed have a very low orbit.
This is the mechanism by which things “stay up” in space.
Gravity gets weaker as you go further out. The Earth’s gravity is much weaker at the moon than at a low-earth orbit satellite. Because gravity is so much weaker at the moon, the moon orbits much more slowly than the International Space Station, for example. The moon takes one month to go around. The ISS takes a few hours. An interesting consequence is that if you go out just the right amount in between, about six Earth radii, you reach a point where gravity is weakened enough that an orbit around the Earth takes 24 hours. There, you could have a “geosynchronous orbit”, a satellite that orbits so that it stays above the same spot on Earth’s equator as Earth spins.
Although gravity gets weaker as you go further out, there is no cut-off distance. In theory, gravity extends forever. However, if you went towards the sun, eventually the sun’s gravity would be stronger than the Earth’s, and then you wouldn’t fall back to Earth any more, even lacking the speed to orbit. That would happen if you went about .1% of the distance to the sun, or about 250,000 km, or 40 Earth radii. (This is actually less than the distance to the moon, but the moon doesn’t fall into the Sun because it’s orbiting the sun, just like the Earth itself is.)
So the moon “falls” toward Earth due to gravity, but doesn’t get any closer to Earth because its motion is an orbit, and the dynamics of the orbit are determined by the strength of gravity at that distance and by Newton’s laws of motion.
Still, it will be hard to condense this into a few short sentences for kids.
A page from the graphic novel/cookbook I’m working on with artist Val Gallardo.
I’m currently working on a graphic novel/cookbook with artist Val Gallardo. We are working on the story together and she is illustrating it. I’m developing the recipes for the book. It follows the story of a group of friends who haven’t seen each other since art school but are brought back together after each receiving an invitation to dinner from a mysterious vegan burger franchise owner named Bingo Lovelett.
I read Gerard Manley Hopkins 1918 poem and turned it into an ambient-electro track.
Stand still. The trees ahead and bushes beside you
Are not lost. Wherever you are is called Here,
And you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
Must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you.
If you leave it, you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still. The forest knows
Where you are. You must let it find you.
David Wagoner, Traveling Light Collected and New Poems. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1999.
New track with words by Dominique De Groen.
I composed the end-credits music to a poetic Flemish cop series from the nineties that never existed.
An ambient track about the first flight of the pterosaur.
I’m quite good at going around in circles, so I thought I’d try composing a waltz.
Something I made to amuse myself while everybody else was watching the football this evening.
Stephen Fry at the 2014 Hay Festival, speaking about Shakespeare’s sexuality, sonnets and the disputed authorship of his works.
TED : http://on.ted.com/g0Ghi