Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Time might not be of the essence


Space and Time by Pants


The Hubble Telescope is twenty and the nice people at NASA, who have nothing better to do, have made it a lovely birthday card. I have made it one as well. The image above comes from Hubble Pants, located right here in Larrikin's End. We have a wonderful view of deep space here as no one made it beyond the third grade. All you have to do is gaze into the face of a native Larrikin's Ender to truly understand the vastness of our intellectual void.

Twenty in telescope years is about 4.5 billion in human years and Hubble Senior's very much deserved Constantin Vacheron custom Sun and Moon is at the engraver's as I write. In a few years time Hubble will be replaced by a new deep stargazer to be located in Mexico. Hubble Nuevo will be an astonishing 45 metres wide. The Mexican Government has agreed to it on the condition that high-grade hydroponic marijuana can be grown under all the foily bits. There are no plans to replace Hubble Pants unless I get a lot of K-Mart vouchers for Christmas.

Stephen Hawking says that we probably don't want to meet the inhabitants of other planets as they are almost certain to be nasty. We needed a certified genius to tell us this? Let me guess Professor Hawking, they will look like us but actually be lizards? Have you not met Rupert Murdoch? Or perhaps they will look like they're made out of old car bits with arms that resemble sink plungers and sound like really stressed people yelling under water. Have you not met Gordon Brown? Possibly they'll look like gorillas who got drunk and passed out on the hotplate as they were trying to fry green eggs and ham. Have you not met Andrew Lloyd Webber? And, whatever vile goo they're composed of, they'll unquestionably explode and cover you with a ghastly slime that will completely ruin your suede loafers. Oh, so you have met Pete Doherty then. You're right - aliens are best avoided.

From the macro to the micro. While we're on the subject of particle physics, I would like to present my own version of string theory. To wit - the knot is really important. In fact, the heavier the painting, the more important the knot. The knot, I would submit, is the X-factor in string theory. If that's not crying out for a PhD thesis, my name isn't Pants.

I've been working on drawings for a series of children's stories set in a rock pool. To be honest, it would probably have been easier to befriend aliens but I have stuck with it because I love the characters that live in this rock pool. My toil involves quite a lot of poking about in actual rock pools and looking at images, and you won't find me complaining about that. In addition to all the gorgeous books of sea life I've gathered - Larrikin's End Library is blessed with picture books for reasons outlined above - I've looked at more oblique sources. Some of the visual modelling for superstring theory for example is, as you would expect, extremely elegant.

Imagining the rock pool characters in a linear sense is not too difficult. The rhythm and poetry of the rock pool world is the thing that most intrigues me. The hum of that little universe, how does it sound? That's the tick and tock of the challenge. I think of the grand old Hubble out there gazing at an expanse of forest on behalf of people in search of trees. I think of the grand old Hawking superfluously extrapolating the one dread that theoretically unites earthlings. And I think, how can I do this differently? But that's just me.