Behind d/dx designs

Pythagoras-sophisticate

Every d/dx art design is created with two things in mind.

First and foremost, it has to look good, otherwise why would anyone take it home and put it on the wall. The designs come in a range of styles. Some are spare and minimalist, some bustle with activity. Some are mysterious and intriguing, others are blatantly obvious in their meaning. Most designs come in a range of colours to suit many tastes and environments. If you find nothing pleasing in them, that’s because our tastes differ and, since they’re my designs, the simplest thing would be for you go away.

It’s exactly that ‘Aha!’ moment that a ddx art design is intended to create.”

And now we come to a bit of a preachy rant. If that kind of thing offends or irritates you, reading on is a waste of time.

Behind the visual impact of these designs lies something else – something which is at the heart of the mission of d/dx art: the passion to rekindle, in however small a way, a sense of wonder and fascination when it comes to numbers.

Every day, most of us are deluged with numbers. For some of us our livelihood depends upon them. For all of us, in daily life, numbers describe the boundaries of our possibilities, whether the elements of our household budget, dividing up the pizza or the speed at which we fall from the ladder. But it’s more than that. Numbers are power, and the people who control them use (and misuse) them to shape our opinions and our actions.

And yet numeracy, the ability the deal with numbers, is actually declining – and worse, few people care. All kinds of people have been sold the lie that they are useless with numbers, usually by people teaching maths who don’t love it or even particularly understand it. Consumers scratch their heads in bafflement at tariffs deliberately designed to confuse them and prevent them from making rational choices. Shop assistants stare blankly when a bill or an amount of change is challenged. Politicians spout numbers with abandon, secure in the knowledge that almost no-one will stop to notice that those numbers are often either meaningless or even that they mean the exact opposite of what is claimed.

Why is all this sad? Because numeracy, like literacy, is one of the pillars of a successful, just and democratic society. People are lied to with numbers every day and few of them ever notice. Without numeracy we are lost in a welter of bad decisions based on ignorance and prejudice.

Even beyond that, numeracy is one of the foundations of a sense of wonder, of those moments when we stop for a moment, whether staring at a flower or poring over a text book and say to ourselves “Aha, now I understand”.

So here is the grand claim: It’s exactly that ‘Aha!’ moment that a d/dx art design is intended to create.

Every design is an idea expressed in colour and, as you pass it each day on the wall at home, gradually that ‘Aha!’ moment will become part of the way you look at the world. Even if only in one small area, you will become just that little more comfortable looking at the world through the wonderful magnifying glass of mathematics.

Where mathematics becomes an object of desire.