Penn Arts & Sciences Logo

Danielle Schwartz


Chaos is everywhere. To be aware of its existence can be like feeling a presence that virtually defies description. However, there is a common misconception that chaos is synonymous with randomness. On the contrary, chaotic systems are definable by deterministic equations. Digital models of such equations produce beautiful geometries that seem to capture the invisible fabric of motion. These shapes are neat at the macro scale; however upon magnification, infinite amounts of complexity are revealed. These models reflect the unpredictable nature of our world on a moment-to-moment basis. This unpredictability incites a subconscious effort in all of us to create order. We see this in the way we organize space through frames. Frames enclose selected space and exclude the messiness that remains.

Since the frame is the most elementary form of architecture, all of the ordered spaces we inhabit are derived from it. The upright frame projected downwards creates a floor, projected forwards creates a wall, and projected upwards creates a ceiling, which all meet to produce an insulated cube. However, we never feel truly insulated; there is always a looming sense of disorder. In response, we continue to organize all the way down to the micro-level; however, within the crevices of our insulated spaces, complexity always encroaches. By magnifying the corner, one of the most ordinary yet complicated boundaries there is, I hope to challenge the viewer’s acceptance of finite space. I used mirrors to subvert the purpose of enclosure that both a corner and frame serve, thereby manufacturing an infinite boundary. When one interacts with the piece, the line between reflected space and real space becomes blurred: ordered space becomes disordered space becomes ordered space again. Through this constant vacillation, I want to convey the necessity of dynamic chaos. We should not try to attain absolute order, nor should we give up on order all together. Instead, there is an interchange that must always exist. 


SECTOR C: Art Practice & Technology

ADVISERS: Ken Lum (FNAR)   |   Zoltan Domotor (PHIL)