Exploring the outer edges of society & mind

Further offerings: Ars Combinatoria Wheel based on the work of Raymond Llull

Posted in Elucidations by David on December 26, 2013

Life of Raymond Lull from a 14th-century manuscript.

Here at Liminal Analytics: Applied Research Collaborative there are a few figures that stand out for us as particularly relevant to how we approach these spinning spheres of information that the contemporary world finds itself enmeshed in. One of our very favorites is the 14th century Catalan contemplative, missionary and logician, Raymond Llull. To include him here in our year end fundraising and future de-materialization efforts comes with a sense of profound blessing to all of us!

Once while attending a technology event in Naperville, Illinois our Managing Director, David Metcalfe had the opportunity to discuss Llull’s work in early information theory with the Chief Information Security Officer for Argonne National Labs. Unfortunately the CISO for Argonne had no idea who Llull was, and it was then and there that the “Doctor Illuminatus,” as Llull has come to be known, became a chief impetus in the founding of Liminal Analytics. That conversation and the ensuing cultural confusion from an information scientist at the core of the United States technological infrastructure lead to the realization that there is a drastic sense of amnesia in the contemporary world. The fact that many reading this would think the CISO perfectly right in his ignorance is just further proof of this amnesiatic trend.  Yet the fact that some reading this find themselves intrigued as to why this historical figure is so important that forgetting him, or not knowing of him, would provide a spark strong enough to instigate the creation of an entire research collaborative, now that gives us hope!

Who is this fine fellow?

Raymond Llull’s complex character could not fit within the small space of a post like this. However take a look at the kind of fun that his profound work can inspire in the right hands. The renowned Magical Experience Designers Ferdinando Buscema and Mariano Tomatis took inspiration from Llull, and using a replica of one of his ars combinatoria wheels provided by Liminal Analytics (with a few choice modifications) they were able to blow the mind of David Pescovitz, Founder of well known web magazine Boing Boing, during the recent Boing Boing Ingenuity Event and Hackathon held at a former Masonic Lodge in San Francisco on August 18, 2013:

For those looking to get straight to the point, the ‘Llullian Wheel’ shown in Buscema’s hands above appears at around 5 minutes and 30 seconds into the video itself.

The wheel housed in Buscema’s personal Wunderkamer is one of a limited number of wheels that were created for distribution to a select group of individuals during 2012 and early 2013. These wheels were distributed to individuals within the close circle of Liminal Analytics confidants who have provided particular inspiration to our work. One wheel is on public display at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, New York and there are currently 2 more wheels which have been promised to select individuals, leaving a single remaining wheel left for an unspecified individual.

That individual could be you!

As part of our de-materialization for 2014 we are offering up this rare little bit of contemporary social history to help continue our fundraising project for future endeavors. However, rather than put a price on it we are going to play a bit of a game.

Interested parties should send an email to our good friend Mariano Tomatis.  In your email to Mariano you will need to include a request for further information on the Llullian Ars Combinatoria Wheel, some inspiring detail as to what you plan to do with it, and an offering price. Since Mariano has not been told that we are posting this, your email and inquiry will have to not only convince him that you are serious enough that he should get our attention, but also, if he does decide to tell us about your inquiry, his tone will determine the seriousness with which we ourselves take your request.  The only rule is that you cannot mention this post to Mariano in your email, or quote from it. If you do, and he mentions it to us, your entry is immediately invalidated. You are going to have to incite some wonder in a professional wonder maker.

On top of that, you’ll need to find Mariano’s email, which I assure you should not be difficult if you are serious in your request.

Why all the obfuscation? We have specifically chosen each and every recipient of these wheels up to this point, and as this represents the final wheel from the original set we feel that it is only fair to require that a complete stranger go to some effort to attain it. Also, Raymond Llull was a troubadour prior to the visionary experiences that lead him into 9 years of contemplative retreat, and everyone loves a good quest!

So dear reader, onward, and let the game commence!


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