The Hootoo School of Maths

1 Conversation

Maria wants to let us in on what's been happening in Cactuscafe's journal, where the artistic and poetic community have been discussing the world of the quantitative and scientific. Sharpen your pencils, and get ready for. . .

The Hootoo School of Maths

Part of the Mandelbrot Set in detail.

I've recently enrolled in an evening school of Maths and I want to tell you some of my experiences there, or here? My name is Pizpireta.

In order to enter here. . . erm.. ( I really don't know if I'm still here or somewhere else. . . have you heard of quantum physics?) Well, to enter that this school you only need to say "I feel curious".

Don't know how or where to start. . .

Ok, photography, I love it as I love that this school is based on an interdisciplinary teaching-learning approach. . . Sciences and humanities joined by curiosity! Ok, ok, I'm getting dispersed. . . Photography. . . sí, yes, oui. . . I'm tri-lingual, you see?

This morning, I tried to photograph four crows, but they flew away. Now, they are none. . . just a patch of grass, where the crows once were. " That's the place of Zero crows" a voice told me. It was the student-teacher of quantum Physics.

Listen, dear Pizpireta,– he said with that silver smile I'm so addicted to – you think there's a empty place, but it's not so, quantum physics tells you that there is a permanent activity of virtual particles which come to existence for a tiny moment, then they disappear. . . and all that thanks to the Zero-point energy. . . if they stayed longer , they would be real, and now we could see the crows, because we can have a crow and an anti-crow at the same time because according to the principle of uncertainty. . . "

I left my teacher-student talking to some virtual entity. . . I got lost. . . particles that appear and disappear in an empty space?

When I get so lost, I visit a room where sloe gin is served slowly. A big pink lava lamp project on the walls pictures of fractals in motion, Nature by numbers. . . have a look, and here, too.

It's a chill-out room. People converse there peacefully and you can listen to things like Vedic Mathematics, Pythagoras. . . I like Pythagoras, he was right, there's a number for each sound. I had that intuition when I was a child: that there was maths in rythm, that heartbeat. I remember lying under the covers in the spooky darkness, hearing my young life in a heartbeat, counting those heartbeats. Da doom, da doom. 1 2 1 2. Then there was the foghorn. I was raised on the coast. There was a foghorn sound which echoed. Da doom, da doom. 3 4 3 4.

Extraordinary things happen at this school. One day, I was looking at my maths workbook, scrawled in pencil, beside the multiplication tables, doodled questions marks, and, some strange arrows were indicating a new life in an imaginary margin, then they started moving. . . Obviously, I followed them, what else can you expect of a curious mind like mine?

Bueno, how to start. . .

Do you ever have those days when life seems to spin round and around endlessly, like a nightmare ride on an out of control fairground carousel? You are riding a golden grinning camel and you are scared to jump off. And the camel grins, and the carousel spins, and you want to wake from the nightmare, but you can't, because you are already awake. Or so you think.

I remember seeing a shimmering gateway, rather like a pi-shaped henge. There were cryptic symbols carved into the stones, representing a formula, although I could make no sense of it. A man stood beside the gateway who introduced himself as the Gatekeeper. He reminded me of my photographer friend, who looked like a character from a Dave McKean graphic novel.

Go through! go through the gateway! he whispered, in a kindly way.

After a while, I could see myself in the margin of my maths workbook. . . weird. . .
I was lying on the ground, beside the carousel. A purple leering horse was complaining that I had dented its face.

"Illusion in motion! - I said and laughed. "Like riding the Wheel of Time on a golden grinning camel! Might as well enjoy the ride, while it lasts."

Then I sort of woke up, closed the workbook and went to that room where teacher-students converse. I had slow gin, mixed with orange and pink striped cucumber slices and a twist of lemon. . . some people were talking about illegal maths:

"I once did illegal maths, but it was an innocent mistake and not psychedelic at all "
"People I know who have tried psychedelics tell me that all that really matters is that one travels to a point of unity, beyond the sensory trip, beyond the duality, and you return with this massive love vibe, because you aren't scared any more. Massive love vibe?? smiley - rofl. Well, hey, so I was 13 in 1968.smiley - rofl. . . . Too young to go there, but old enough to listen. My Bible is Huxley's Doors of Perception. Tell me more about your illegal maths experience. . ."
"Well, I was trying to find a new subversive way to reach the transcendental number PI, and doing so, I entered the realm of the number PHI, which as everybody knows is a complete irrational one. Fibonacci threatened me with reporting all that to the police. I quickly left that place of bulbous flasks and floating numbers in misty air."

I was fascinated, illegal Maths! Later I joined the photographers' party, they were talking about. . . erm. . . they said something like this:

" . . . And somewhere between the silversparkle symphony of your smile, and the jagged scarlines around the edges of my uncertain yearning, I point my camera at the sun, and the dazzled lense reacts with a fractured purple light effect. I tell you that this is one of the most artistic mistakes I ever made. "
"You should enter the photo in a competition. . . "

Finally I joined the conversation:

". . . The photographer who spelt lens with an e at the end was a friend of mine. He looked like a Dave McKean graphic, (pretentious name dropping). He was a peculiar angel. He lived in a converted windmill with no sails, and devoted his life to photographing the green sheen on the wings of birds. He left many journals, written in pencil. No-one knows why he spelt lense with an extra e and the end. Once he spelt greeen with an extra e. Perhaps e was his favourite letter. Perhaps he was just different. He was, after all, a peculiar angel."

I think you can get an idea of what's going on in this that school. Now, excuse me, I have to take photographs of the lake with the waterlilies.

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