Inspiration: “Secret Universe” George Widener exhibition

The American artist George Widener is an expert of numbers. Being diagnosed with an Asperger’s syndrome, he possesses an extraordinary memory, far beyond anything we can imagine. He is able to juggle with dates, weekdays and events from the past centuries as well as with future calendars and weekdays. All this data, which one would usually have to look up piece by piece, is at the artist’s instant disposal.

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(Sunday´s Crash, Various media on paper, courtesy of Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Contemporary Art Berlin)

This particular ability has led Widener to search for patterns and recurrences, which allow to predict future events. He has turned his findings into elaborate visual works. See above an investigation on past plane crashes which all happened on Sundays. Widener did the maths and extrapolated future Sundays on which we should avoid to fly, with the next relevant date coming up on Dec 17, 2051:

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(Sunday´s Crash, detail)

The Hamburger Bahnhof Museum of Contemporary Art in Berlin put together a great exhibition of Wideners works which is running through June 16, 2013. So if you happen to be around, I strongly recommend to take a look at it – those are really special works.

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(Stream of Time, 2010, installation view)

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(Stream of Time, 2010, detail)

And while you’re at it – check out if you’re able to find some of the random mistakes which Widener has built into his columns of figures to test whether someone would actually check his numbers. Or maybe just for the heck of it. I had a hard time to even properly read some of the columns, let alone understand the patterns…

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