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Codex Mundi: Escritura Fractal II
(con cuadratura numérica del hexagrama)

by Ramon Dachs
Garbarino Hnos, Buenos Aires Argentina- Nimes France, 2004
Not paginated. illus. Paper, $n/a
ISBN: 2-9517224-6- X.

Reviewed by Martha Patricia Niño M.
Pontificia Universidad Javeriana


Codex Mundi is a collection of six geometric texts written by the poet and librarian Ramon Dachs. The majority of the fractal figures are composed of one circle, the perimeter of which is formed by the text "the words assimilated to the dots. Their spatial simultaneous disposition (geometry) substitutes the linear temporality in which they usually occur (syntax) as a form of structure writing." He does not claim to be doing traditional poetry or even visual poetry, but, instead, he uses geometry to replace traditional phrase syntaxes in order to create more hypertextual structures.

Inside each circle, you can find one, two, four or twelve word(s) associated with a dot and a brief written commentary about each of the topics with the figure’s reading key. The full list of works is composed by Twilight (unfolding from the shore) -Key : Symmetry; Story (unfolding of Biography) - Key: Segment; Generation (unfolding of contingency) -Key: 12 equilateral triangles in a six-pointed star; Reproduction (unfolding of body) -Key: Regular tetrahedron; Life (unfolding of abstraction) -Key: Centre of gravity, and Maturity (unfolding of temporality) -Key: Orbital intersection. These writings were made at intervals between 1978 and 1993.

The terms, geometry and fractal, are switched during the text at some points. Dachs describes his geometric writing and fractal writing as analogous; in the prologue he says that geometric writing entails fractal writing. This is questionable; fractals cannot be defined by traditional Euclidean geometry. I would say the title of the book should be geometric writing since simple Euclidean forms such as circles, dots, and triangles compose most of the work. The cover of the book and has a figure with some structural resemblances to Mandelbrot's fractals in its perimeter. That is the most fractal aspect I could see at a formal level. Instead, his structures have strong formal association with the enigmatic figure of Ramon Lull and his medieval figures of the theory of knowledge. In particular, his Taula General and cabala diagrams, the hexagram, and some other references to the dark, grouped in the Geometric Writing No3 related with wound, skin, crack, rag, scar, rip, sew, and wall, being the most prominent part. The diffent sizes of the pages are coherent with the unveiling concept, but the binding of the book is rather fragile.

At a metaphoric level I guess it is successful, and the way to read the generative words and structures are definitely hypertextual as happens with the geometric writing No 3 (contingence). Thought provocative words mix geometry with hypertextuality. He claims to be doing the difficult task of proposing a genuine avant garde after their final eclipse. It also makes you obliquely consider how former separated realms such science and magic ended up being so currently amalgamated thanks to the almost incomprehensible laws of quantum physics.




Updated 1st February 2006

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