explanation by an example (1965)
for the making of an objective composition [see about this Peter Iden, 'polyinterpretablen kunstwerken', in revue nul = 0 4 (1964) 78-80. herman de vries, 'objectivität und wirklichkeit', in revue nul = 0 4 (1964) 83-85. herman de vries, 'random objectivations;, in revue nul = 0 2 (1963) 34-35] with a visual element, i chose as a composition-unit the point, and because this is a circular i took the circle as the most plausible form of composition-border. i placed the area of the circle dependant on the size of the page of this magazine and the working of the stencil-machine. i got from this a diameter of 18.4 cm.
the element-units/points on the area were divided and placed in position purely at random, with a coverage of 2/10. for this division i used a table [table XXXlll, "random numbers" from: R.A. Fischer and F. Yates, Statistical tables for biological, agricultural and medical research (1953)] of numbers arranged at random and programmed the numbers 1 and 2 as points and the numbers 3 up to and including 0 as spaces. for example: 01 39 65 36 63 70 71 45 85 51 74 13 39 35 22 37 48 80 62 29.
in this manner the area was filled.
in this circle however, i put a second smaller circle, of which the place also was fixed randomly. i did this by looking in the table for a number below 18 (the diameter of the circle in cm.) and to plot this on the vertical diameter. after this, i looked for a second number below l8. this (12 cm.) i plotted horizontally, from the left to the right, the end of this line formed the centre of the second circle. the diameter of this i found also in the table at random. this second circle received instead of a coverage of 2/10, one of 6/10, so 3 times as high. this ratio is not chosen randomly, but by experiment. this ration has as a result a visual difference in the composition, without there being a question of linear division.
the bordering of the second circle is, as you can see, very clear and comes entirely visual about. in the meanwhile, i started out on a series of works whereby the compositional possibilities drawn here will be looked into and worked out more clearly [with emphasis i want to point out that the use of a visual principle doesn't mean to me that i deem the unilateral 'connection-work-eye' as only starting-point acceptable].
in science the principles which are based on this, are already known and relatively extensive examined. this is otherwise almost with all principles the case, on which visual art is based [see Hugh Davson (ed.), The visual process and Visual optics and the optical space sense, vol. 2 and 4 of The Eye (Academic Press : New York/London 1962)].
one of the reasons why i apply this knowledge here (and giving the source too [Bela Julesz, Towards the automation of binocular depth perception. Information processing. Proceedings of the IFIP Congress 1962 (1963) 439-444. Bela Julesz, 'Texture and visual perception', in Scientific American 21 2 (1965) 38-48]) is my conviction that a one-sided use of our knowledge and our technical possibilities, will produce a no-mans-land in culture, that could form (and actual forms) a gap that keeps getting bigger between 'man' and his presentday surroundings. to overcome and may be to help close this gap i see also as the task of a modern artist.
source: herman de vries, 'explanation by an example', in revue integration 2/3. revue pour la nouvelle conception de l'art et de la culture / revue voor de nieuwe konseptie in kunst en kultuur (May 1965) 79-80; reprinted in to be : texte - textarbeiten - textbilder (Stuttgart 1995) 33-36.