A new sculpture inspired by the genius of George Boole, the Lincoln-born mathematician whose work laid the theoretical foundations for the digital age, has been unveiled on the banks of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool.
The artwork, composed of two interlocking arcs coated in a sheer reflective surface which mirrors both the structure itself and the surrounding water and foliage, has been created by the internationally-acclaimed Raqs Media Collective.
Entitled Perhaps (An Investigation Outside the Laws of Thought) it will be in situ on the banks of the Brayford Pool close to University of Lincoln’s main Minerva Building 8th July til 8th September 2016.
The temporary art installation was commissioned by Gymnasium, the contemporary art commissioning programme that presents new works in public locations in the city of Lincoln, alongside print editions and associated exhibitions.
Two arcs rise and fall by the water of the Brayford Pool, facing the University of Lincoln. Coated by a sheer reflective surface, the two arcs mirror each other, the water and their environs, creating an illusion of a fold in space, a thickening of air.
The arcs are also portals. And as portals, they recall mathematician George Boole’s ‘logic gates’ - conceptual sites of entry and exit for answers to questions that can end in either a yes or a no answer - which he first spelt out in his ‘Investigation of the Laws of Thought’. Today, logic gates, are the building blocks of computer programming.
These two arcs stand close, one nested into the other such that it would be possible to enter one, and then the other, and then exit through the first again, without changing one’s direction. One could think of this as a way of entering a NO gate, by passing through a YES gate, and then exiting through the YES gate again. In this way, maybe we make room for a PERHAPS.
Would this entail an investigation, into, and then outside, the laws of thought? Perhaps.
Lincoln was George Boole’s birthplace. He must have walked by Brayford Pool, asking questions that needed answers in yes, no, and perhaps, perhaps. This work remembers those moments outside the boundaries of yes and no, just outside the limits placed by the laws of thought.