Workbook of the universe (how to split the universe up into addends), a project by Federico Federici, first released in «CIVICO 23», n.3, 2022.

What is energy? If no one asks me, I know: if I wish to explain it to one who asks me, I no longer know. Indeed, nothing concrete. A principle governs Nature: the universe is a number split up into tinier and tinier addends recombined or reordered according to a complex of interactions. No exception to this law is known. Following the procedure in the caption, the artist is invited to an experiment with this, collecting energy frames from a burning pinus nigra needle. A number of variations on the flame primordial hieroglyph will efface the material space of writing and found the alphabet of the fire. Paper will no longer be the site where the sign resides, but what the sign must breach. Each sign will depend on the angle of the sheet to the flame which, in turn, will be affected by a series of more or less hidden variables related to the tree of origin (size, age, desiccation, soil properties etc.). While all of these factors impinge upon the integrity and stability of the alphabet, the amount of energy released during the combustion will, to some degree, get stored in and be proportional to the number of sheets used. The fire, split into signs, will set itself as a thread between what is burning and what is about to burn, between the thought thing and the one to write. The very idea of writing will once again get reified, although no one really knows what energy is.

Place the verso of the dotted square near a burning pine needle for a few seconds. Repeat the procedure with the next page. After the flame has extinguished, unbind the book and ship the used sheets to the appointed art collection centre.


addend n. ... from a pinus nigra needle burning in the universe

Montage of the 60 time-frames (8-bit images, invert LUT) to be processed.

Time series as a 3D object (time on the z-axis) reconstructed by means of the averaging projection method. 

[Volume viewer, fire LUT, ImageJ 1.54b]

Animated surface plot of the time series (pixel intensity on the z-axis).

[Stack 3D surface plot,  ImageJ 1.54b]


Animation of the time series (8-bit images, Invert LUT).

[Stack animation, ImageJ 1.54b] 

Time series as a 3D object (time on the z-axis): animated rotation on a white background.

[Volume viewer, fire LUT, ImageJ 1.54b]

Animated surface plot of pixel intensity (on the z-axis) of the 60 time-frames.