to infinity and beyond
Feliks Konczakowski makes a lot of animated GIFs. In saving an animated GIF file, of course, one is given a choice. You can either specify a set number of times for the animation to play (one or more); or else you can let it continuously loop forever. (an infinite number of times) Konczakowski almost always choses infinity.
In some of these GIFs, he takes a dizzying dive into the recursive imaginary spaces that we call “Droste effect” packages. In some cases, he’s made both color and black & white versions which I’ve enjoyed pairing together here. (See also: Jasper Johns and Trix)
Animated Droste-effect labels
I once wrote a post about the impact of the Royal baking powder can on many people’s concept of infinity. (See: 7 quotes about Royal Baking Powder)
In that post, I had quoted Joseph Wood Krutch writing about his childhood Royal baking powder epiphany.
The can and the package were both adorned with pictures of the container itself. Therefore, the advertisements included a picture of a picture. And that picture must of necessity include a picture, of a picture, of a picture. In practice, of course,
the series finally ended with a dot. But it shouldn’t have. And thus I became simultaneously aware of two stupendous facts. Infinity can be neither represented nor imagined, but logically it must exist.
Joseph Wood Krutch
If you don’t mind my saying so…
The American Scholar, 1958
When Krutch wrote that “the series finally ended with a dot,” he was really talking about the limitations of a printed label. Similar to what I wrote in 2008:
If the resolution of the printing process—(and the determination and eyesight of the illustrator)—were not limiting factors, it would go on forever.
Indeed, in my own surveys of Droste-effect packages, I’ve resorted to a sort of Droste-effect fractal dimension, counting how many smaller packages can be clearly identified in each case.
Krutch also declared (as a “stupendous fact”) that “infinity can be neither represented or imagined.”
Konczakowski, with his animated Droste-effect labels, however, seems to have done both.
But rather than go on and on, recursively quoting myself, maybe I should just ask the artist about these animations…
(An interview with Konczakowski and more GIFs will follow, after the fold…)