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Old Aug 24th 2017, 04:39 AM   #1
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static

Hi all new here. I'm by no means a scientist or physicist. I build electronics mostly from schematics and am slowly learning it with my oscilloscope.

I'm currently doing some research around the artist Jean Tinguley, he's a kinetic sculptor from Switzerland originally then Paris. His biggest theory was to question the word static. He Suggests static as defined by still is incorrect, he suggests that stillness can't actually exist. My question is can stillness exist? is everything not in constant exchange on a molecular level, atomic level. My science isn't great but I can follow to an extent. I've just read a brief explantion of Uncertainty Theory which I think is relevant?

Thanks for your time.

Darren
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Old Aug 24th 2017, 06:39 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by oramics View Post
Hi all new here. I'm by no means a scientist or physicist. I build electronics mostly from schematics and am slowly learning it with my oscilloscope.
Very cool! And may I say Good for you! I always appreciate it when someone has a desire to learn, especially with electronics and physics. In fact before I became a physicist I was an electronics technician.

Originally Posted by oramics View Post
My question is can stillness exist?
Absolutely. You must be referring to this: https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Jean_T....21.2C.22_1959

They guy doesn't know what he's talking about. He's an artist, not a physicist. He also claims that decomposition does not exist and that's nonsense too. Decomposition is properly defined here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decomposition
Decomposition is the process by which organic substances are broken down into simpler matter. The process is a part of nutrient cycle and is essential for recycling the finite matter that occupies physical space in the biosphere. Bodies of living organisms begin to decompose shortly after death.
Here's some sage advice from good-ole me: Never learn physics from an artist and never learn art from a physicist. Learn physics from a physicist and art from an artist.

Originally Posted by oramics View Post
is everything not in constant exchange on a molecular level, atomic level. My science isn't great but I can follow to an extent. I've just read a brief explantion of Uncertainty Theory which I think is relevant?
You're referring to the branch of physics called quantum mechanics. There's no meaning to Constant exchange in quantum mechanics. At the atomic level there's not even a notion of "moving". In fact velocity is not something that's directly observable. What's observable are things like position, energy, momentum, spin, etc.

But we don't live at the quantum level, i.e. all of our experiences are at the macroscopic level. At that level its quite normal to speak of something at rest.

When that guy says that static = still is incorrect he's not talking as a physicist would. Think of it like this; can we speak of something being a sphere? What about a circle or a straight line? At the quantum level we can't speak about objects being flat or round or whatever. But at the macroscopic level we most certainly can speak of it. In fact there's a famous example from history we can turn to, Giotto di Bondone. When the Pope asked Giotto to send him a drawing to demonstrate his skill, Giotto drew a circle so perfect it seemed like it was drawn with a compass. Can we speak of a perfect circle? Of course.

It's a cool story: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giotto

The artist you refer to isn't being realistic. As I said above, our experiences, all of them, are in the macroscopic world. In that world we make approximations. We can then speak of the Earth, Moon and Sun as being spheres. We can speak of a car moving at 56 mph. We can speak of objects at rest and therefore static.

If the artist you speak of attempted to argue with a policeman who wanted to give him a speeding ticket by saying that we can't speak of speed since quantum mechanics doesn't allow it, he wouldn't get very far and he might irritate the cop.

Last edited by Pmb; Aug 24th 2017 at 07:08 AM.
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Old Aug 24th 2017, 10:03 AM   #3
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Science often takes general English words and gives them specific meanings.
Art does this as well.

Artists often talk about 'movement' in a work, not meaning that the painting or sculptor is actually moving (though that may also be true) but that the form of the art suggests movement in the mind of the viewer.

Static would presumably be the opposite of this.

However beware of symmetry.

Draw a hexagon.

Now rotate that hexagon through 180 degrees.

Does it look the same?

Has there been any change?

Has there been any movement?

Is it therefore static, although it has moved?

Other words for movement to explore might be change and progression and they have corresponding opposites.
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Old Aug 24th 2017, 10:27 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by studiot View Post
...
However beware of symmetry.

Draw a hexagon.

Now rotate that hexagon through 180 degrees.

Does it look the same?

Has there been any change?

Has there been any movement?

Is it therefore static, although it has moved?
Any such are defined in that way as being static would be exceptionally boring since that would require rotational symmetry. Art like that I'd find very boring.

In any case, that's not what that particular artist means. Look at the link I posted above on his comments on static. The artist is quoted as saying
Static, static, static! Be static! Be static! Movement is static! Movement is static! Movement is static because it is the only immutable thing - the only certainty, the only unchangeable. The only certainty is that movement is static. Quoted in: Guy Brett, ‎Hayward Gallery, ‎Museu d'Art Contemporani (Barcelona, Spain) (2000) Force fields: phases of the kinetic. p. 250.

Only in movement do we find the true essence of things. Today we can no longer believe in permanent laws, defined religions, durable architecture or eternal kingdoms. Immutability does not exist. All is movement. All is static.
We are afraid of movement because it stands for decomposition because we see our desintegration in movement. Continuous static movement marches on ! It cannot be stopped. We are fooling ourselves if we close our eyes and refuse to recognize the change. Actually, decomposition does not exist! Decomposition does not exist ! Decomposition is a state envisaged only by us because we do not want it to exist, and because we dread it
I'm sooo glad I don't meet people who think like that. Yikes!
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Old Aug 24th 2017, 11:11 AM   #5
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For a Physicist "static" has quite a narrow meaning
For an Engineer "static" also has quite a narrow meaning, which is subtly different from that used by the Physicist.
For a psychiatrist "static" has yet another different meaning
and so on.

An Artist will probably to tap into all these, and more, to try to elicit the emotional baggage carried by the word.
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Old Aug 24th 2017, 11:35 AM   #6
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A definition of a term being discussed must be uniquely defined (given the context) before a discussion on it can logically begin. Otherwise its just word games, not physics.
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Old Aug 24th 2017, 12:10 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Pmb View Post
A definition of a term being discussed must be uniquely defined (given the context) before a discussion on it can logically begin. Otherwise its just word games, not physics.
Oh how I wish more than a few followed this creed.

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Old Aug 24th 2017, 12:34 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by studiot View Post
Oh how I wish more than a few followed this creed.

I fully agree. In fact that was the source of disagreement when we discuss the definitions of the term mass and matter a ways back.
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