No single malevolent butterfly – Throwing dice, Chaos Theory and Coincidence

“No single malevolent butterfly ” George Voss and Tom Armitage

After yesterday’s discussion I emailed this quote  from and article in February’s Art Monthly by Rob le Frenais, in which he was discussing the book by Catherine Elwes : Installation and the Moving Image, who apparently starts it with a paradox…


The quote is from Robert Smithson-

The existence of the artist in time is worth as much as any finished object.

Yesterday, directly after the Skype I went for a short walk up Crouch Hill, no phone, no camera, just a walk and a chat with a pal.When I got home I needed to get some cash and a as it was such a beautiful chilly day I got my bike out and rode to the Co-op. I haven’t ridden it for months and was enjoying that feeling of connectivity I get when I’m on the bike, and thinking about moving through space…. when I saw in the sharp, strong, low light someone I’d been meaning to contact for months! I contacted him when I was researching the Reading Room and RAF Croughton.

Because I was on my bike I just stopped and shouted “Paul”!

If I’d been in the car I would have driven straight past…..

We had a long chat about Crouch Hill and its contemporary and historical significance as… coincidence… that is just where he was going….and I discussed a future possible project with him…as you do… on the pavement….then I went to the shop and he climbed the hill.

This morning I got an email… with this link

I hadn’t realised  before our conversation that he observed many of things I had been observing regarding the Hill… many be we are the beginning of a critical mass.

I got another message at the same time….from the family I worked with whose father worked at the base! Yet more synchronicity.

This and the combination of seeing on the news about the observation of gravitational ripple made me spend a few minutes this morning thinking ago ‘chaos theory’ even more and how scientists actually think it has an effect…on the weather.

Another coincidence as we spent a long while chatting about the unpredictability of the weather especially in Canada during the Skype Chat.

I decided to go up the hill again this morning ( still feeling good and making the most!), took a couple of dice that we used to use playing games with the lads, and an old wooden shaker that belonged to my grandmother. When I got there, atop the hill in the bright spring sunshine I rolled the dice and made a few Vines and a Scope.

I still haven’t faffed enough to be able to down or upload to or from Vine but this is the Scope.

There is a link, perhaps, between the action of throwing as a simple action and the randomness of the dice ( not explained that very well)

One of the things discussed in Chaos theory, I understand, is how the rolling of the dice is  affected by the ways that all surrounding phenomena impact on each dice as it rolls; especially  the weather and gravity.

A suitable action for the day I thought..

The Scopes shown both Screen recordings of plays from Periscope via Twitter and also from  via Twitter via Periscope….. archives the recordings, other wise they disappear within 24 hours. It also gives the Stats., hearts and comments.

Also, This preview shows how unpredictability and order fit together in a system in Chaos Theory





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