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The John McLean Problem

An Experimental Investigation

John McLean 2007 in his studio

On the green canvas you can see complex konkrete shape, defined by two vertical lines, one on the left and the other on the right, in between two controversial countered Zim Zum[*1] lines. The whole shape is build by 10 points in an top and bottom line with 5 points each.

The main question here is, how to generate such shapes? What is the closest aproach, how far can the variations go defined by the extracted rules?

The Generator Methods

Two basic methods are possible. The first one is the sort method. The method generates ten random points and sorts those points into a top line and a bottom line. This generator has to avoid crossing lines. The quadrants/quaters method is the second one. The possible drawing area is divided into 10 quadrands of the same size, 5 in the top, 5 in the bottom section. For each accommodation sub area one random point is generated.

** On the left the sorting generator,
the quadrants method on the right.**
lieschen mueller @copy; 2019

[*1]Zim Zum is a sculpture by Barnett Newman, two zig-zag panel oposite to each other.

For the sorting mehod different ways of implementing the sorting are possible.

// exploring an "John McLean Problem"
// using quadrants?
// get starting points left-top-bottom and right-top-bottom 
// use sort
// what is/shall be possible?

// the sort approach(es)

// gernerate 10 random points 
// sort them into two 2 lines upper and downer
// sort them from left to right
// or use a reverse sort algorithm
// from right to left
// use higher point of two as part of upper line the lower one add to downer

Different Aproaches For Structuring The Problem

global field top bottom split left, middle, right sections quadrants

Making The Whole Thing Three Dimensional

…and beyond?

Barnett Newman, 1969, ZimZum I, SFMOMA

Complex Konkrete Shapes And Meaning

How the fish starts to [..] - the real John McLean problem.

The Double Fish

Extending the generator to 7|14 edge points and other pairs. “Fish And Chips” serial - coloured striped skins on wired frames. + the whole as an 3d assembly.

Lieschen Mueller images of the Fish And Chips generator 2020


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