Stone Water Spirit
L Alben

The pursuit of truth and beauty is a sphere of activity in which we are permitted to remain children all our lives.

Albert Einstein

When the universe is in harmony with man-the eternal, we know it as truth but we feel it as beauty.

Rabindranath Tagore
Comfortable as a "fire starter," Bonnie DeVarco regularly designs, lectures, and writes about emerging technologies in education, virtual worlds, collaborative visualization, next generation geographic information systems, information visualization and the culture of cyberspace. Bonnie is principal of Media Tertia and is currently working on a book on the history and evolution of visual language. From 1989 to 1995 she was chief archivist for the Buckminster Fuller Archives, recently acquired by Stanford University.

Bonnie's Statement

Dynamic Archetypes for Visual Communication:
Beauty, Truth and Stewardship

The sphere is one of humanity's most enduring and profound images. Throughout history, philosophers, theologians, artists, scientists, mathematicians, and psychologists have pondered the sphere's power as both icon and archetype. We can see the resonance of the sphere in nature almost everywhere we look, in the graceful curves of the planetary bodies, the translucence of a common soap bubble, and the patterned surface of a spherical radiolarian. In only the past 30 years, some of the most marvelous spheres that have been discovered are now part of our visual history.

By meditating on these microstructures we can trigger universal memory and activate our perception through metaphor, drawing on these spheres as new dynamic archetypes for the world of today. My presentation will focus on three very special spherical structures that I believe express beauty, truth, and stewardship of our personal, planetary and universal selves.

Personal The Sphere of Clathrin, the most prolific and important protein in our brains, enables the transfer of nutrients and information between cells.

Planetary The Sphere of Emiliania huxleyi, the most abundant and critical phytoplankton in Earth's ocean, whose microscopic skeletal spheres aggregate to form massive blooms that help regulate sea surface temperature.

Universal The Sphere of Buckminsterfullere, discovered in 1985, the third form of carbon, Buckminsterfullerene or "buckyball," is the most ancient and abundant molecule in the Universe and is considered the "Rosetta Stone of nanoscale architecture."

Invisible to the naked eye, these three forms all share the property of being transport mechanisms in constant motion and are the most abundant of their kind. Their shapes reflect a deep wisdom of design as their geometries invoke the Divine Proportion and the eloquence of the sphere.

Archetypal Spheres

Brain protein

60-atom carbon molecule

Emiliania huxleyi,
Microscopic phytoplankton

©2006 Bonnie Devarco

©2006 Alben Design LLC, Tony DeVarco, Bonnie DeVarco, Lisa Dale Miller. All rights reserved.
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