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Igloo travel / Patterns & Symbols / Knotwork

More than 1000 years of history, as well as powerful symbolic meanings and
groundbreaking mathematics and physics theories, are to be found in the elegant shapes
of the Celtic knots interlaced by Portuguese artist and director Margarida Sardinha, who
now invites us to take a step into a wonderful - as well as hypnotic - world of meaningful
and graphically beautiful patterns, unwinding and spinning, in fast movements, into the
Knotwork.

Words: Ioana Păunescu • Artwork: Margarida Sardinha • Research upon knots: Margarida Sardinha

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Written & Margarida Sardinha


Directed:

Image Margarida Sardinha


Composition &
Editing:

Sound & Sound Tiago Lopes


Editing:

Voices: André Sier & Margarida Sardinha (/en/books/interiors- (/en/books/offices-


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“All that exists, in whatever mode this may be, necessarily participates in universal principles, and
nothing exists except by participation in these principles.

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Consequently, it can be said that all things, however contingent they may be in themselves, express
or represent these principles in their own way and according to their order of existence, for otherwise
they would be purely and simply nothingness.

Thus, from one order to another, all things are linked together and correspond, to come together in
total and universal harmony, for harmony is nothing other than the reflection on principial unity in the
manifested world: and it is this correspondence which is the veritable basis of symbolism.”

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_____________________________________

The latest artwork of Portuguese artist and director Margarida Sardinha is a 22 minutes long, optical
illusion experimental film animation: Knotwork.

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It is based upon Icovellavna, or the Celtic knots, as well as on Knot Theory Mathematics, both of them translated into supersymmetric (https://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supersymmetry) and rotative movements of mandalas (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandala).

Coloured geometric and homeomorphic (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeomorphism) patterns dissolve into one another while rotating in both
clockwise and counterclockwise directions, while 3-d shapes mapped, with the same quickly changing patterns, induce a discrete, somehow
Brownian movement inside the rotation. The 3-d shapes change from spheres to various polyhedra and might, at some point, even resemble dice -
symbolic dice, generating random pattners and being, in return, randomly generated by symbolic patterns - shortly said, the element of surprise
inside this universe of meanings that the film Knotwork reveals.

_____________________________________

Watch the film trailer here (https://vimeo.com/184519066).

_____________________________________

While watching the labyrinth of knot shapes we are, in fact, being introduced into a world that is full of meanings, history and theories, as the Celtic
knots are among the most widely used symbols of the world.

So Knotwork includes various archetypal and historical forms that may vary from Tibetan Buddhism to Roman, Celtic or Islamic art, and from the
quantum gravity to the strings theories, and this complex universe has also been detailed, by the artist, in the shape of a written research story
that accompanies the film and that opens, thus, several other possible doors of a more in-depth perception of the knots.

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_____________________________________

More than 1000 Years of History, in a Few Words

In addition to their aesthetic qualities, knots have been always regarded as having spiritual and religious symbolism.

The endless knot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endless_knot) appears in Tibetan Buddhism, while the Borromean rings (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Borromean_rings) have made repeated appearances in different cultures, often symbolizing unity.

Celtic knots (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Celtic_knot) are most known for their adaptation for use in the ornamentation of Christian monuments and
manuscripts, such as the 8th-century St. Teilo Gospels, the Book of Kells and the Lindisfarne Gospels.

Most of them are endless knots, and many are varieties of basket weave knots, which are called strange loops by Douglas Hofstadter (https://
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Hofstadter), or paradoxes, that are “Perhaps the most concise summary of enlightenment would be: transcending
dualism. … Dualism is the conceptual division of the world into categories … human perception is by nature a dualistic phenomenon...”

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The use of interlace patterns had its origins in the artwork of the late Roman Empire. Knot patterns first appeared in the third and fourth centuries
AD and can be seen in Roman floor mosaics of that time. Interesting developments in the artistic use of interlaced knot patterns are found in
Byzantine architecture, Coptic art, Celtic art, Islamic art, Medieval Russian book illumination, Ethiopian art, and European architecture and book
illumination.

Spirals, step patterns, and key patterns are dominant motifs in Celtic art before the Christian influence on the Celts, which began around 450 A.D.
These designs found their way into early Christian manuscripts and artwork with the addition of depictions from life, such as animals, plants and
even humans.

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In the beginning, the patterns were intricate interwoven cords, called plaits, which can also be found in other areas of Europe, such as Italy, in the 6th
century. Examples of plait work (a woven, unbroken cord design) predate knotwork designs in several cultures around the world, but the broken and
reconnected plait work that is characteristic of true knotwork began in Northern Italy and southern Gaul and spread to Ireland by the 7th century.

The style is most commonly associated with the Celtic lands, but it was also practiced extensively in England and was exported to Europe by Irish and
Northumbrian monastic activities on the continent.

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_____________________________________

Concepts & Principles

In topology, knot theory is the study of mathematical knots


(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knot_(mathematics)). While inspired by knots which appear in daily life in shoelaces and rope, a mathematician's knot
differs in that the ends are joined together so that it cannot be undone such as Celtic knots.

In mathematical language, a knot is an embedding of a circle in 3-dimensional Euclidean space, R3 (in topology, a circle isn't bound to the classical
geometric concept, but to all of its homeomorphisms). Two mathematical knots are equivalent if one can be transformed into the other via a
deformation of R3 upon itself (known as an ambient isotopy).

Knot theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knot_theory) is important in understanding the physics of particles with fractional statistics: anyons or
parafermions.

These particles, which can exist in one or two dimensions have properties between fermions and bosons. The symmetric group is the symmetry of
fermions and bosons, while the braid group from knot theory plays the same role for anyons.

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Knot theory is also important in canonically quantised quantum gravity


(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_gravity). Where knotted loop states provide a basis of solutions to the quantum gravity equations. This is
described in the important loop representation of quantum gravity.

Knot theory is closely related to quantum groups (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_group). These are a generalization (or deformation) of
classical Lie groups
(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_simple_Lie_groups) and are important in condensed matter theory, string theory and other physics. Knot theory
seems to be very closely related to symmetry.

Quantum groups are also used to construct Topological Quantum Field theories which can be used to find invariants of manifolds.

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In string theory (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/String_theory) as we currently know it there is not much indication that string theory is discrete.
Strings are described as continuous loops in space. However, there has been some interesting work by Susskind and others which does seem to
suggest that string theory could be discrete. It may be possible to describe strings as objects made of small partons (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
Parton_(particle_physics)) strung together. These partons would not exist as hard objects but can be conceptually subdivided and rejoined.

They are points on the string which describe the topology of its interactions. If the partons can be subdivided then they must be permitted to have
fractional statistics. They must live on the string world sheet. The statistics of a whole loop of string would be the sum of the fractional statistics of
its partons and would be an integer or half integer so that the string can live in three-dimensional space. If spacetime is event-symmetric and we
wish to consider event-symmetric string field theory, then a discrete string approach is essential.

The partons of the string can be tied to the events through which the string passes. It will be permitted to pass through space-time events in any
order it likes. In this way strings can tie together the events of space-time and provide an origin of topology in an otherwise unstructured event-
symmetric universe.

If strings are formed from loops of partons with fractional statistics then it seems natural to allow them to be knotted. We should look for ways of
describing this algebraically in an event-symmetric string theory.

String theorists are now also turning to higher dimensional membrane theories. If strings can be made of partons then surfaces, or 2-branes, can
be made from strings. The process could continue ad infinitum. Space-time itself might be viewed as a membrane built in this way.

_____________________________________

Short Profile of the Artist

Margarida Sardinha is an independent artist & director born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1978. She attended Fine Art Combined Media studies at
Central Saint Martins College of Art and at Chelsea College of Art and Design then studied, lived and worked in London for ten years.

Her cross-media practice comprises site-specific installation, experimental film and animation, performance, text, sound, photography and
symbolic study drawings, which are by definition conceptualist geometric-kinetic and abstract minimal works. Its main focus is the production of
geometrical optical illusions à propos the spiritual in art, thus, making concept parallels within literature, philosophy, comparative religion,
science, film and art.

Using these perceptions she searches for spiritual/psychological stages of consciousness and relates them with cycles of individual or universal
growth. She re-accesses the deconstruction of dogmas from a geometric-archetypal stand in which the relation between immutability and
mutability is constantly challenged and reviewed through dynamic symmetry.

Archetypal geometry, dynamic symmetry, symbology and color being the basis of the work are explored in a transmutative semiotic process of
building, photographing and animating these “signs” that are understood as imprinted/innate forms of consciousness which enable us to see,
hear and speak aesthetically, emotionally, logically, spiritually and politically.

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_____________________________________

Knotwork will have its world premiere during The New Art Fest '16
(https://www.facebook.com/thenewartfest/?hc_ref=SEARCH&fref=nf) in Lisbon, in november 2016 -the brand new international festival for new media,
post-internet art and internet of things "where art meets technology" as the organizers say.

_____________________________________

www.margaridasardinha.com (http://www.margaridasardinha.com)
(http://www.margaridasardinha.com)

_____________________________________

#patternsandco

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www.margaridasardinha.com/ (http://www.margaridasardinha.com/)
vimeo.com/184519066 (https://vimeo.com/184519066)
www.facebook.com/thenewartfest/ (https://www.facebook.com/thenewartfest/)

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