Recursion began as a meditation on a mathematical concept, recursion, an important idea in my research on animal intelligence and my teaching. The idea receded into the background as the form took shape and became part of the moving meditation of sculpting.
Recursion refers to recurring processes that modify themselves each time they occur, such as in learning. (As Carl Rogers said about it, learning changes the learner.) Successive applications build on one another, ‘recursively’. Falling in love is a good example, as is falling in hate, because once they begin, everything that happens reinforces everything else, accelerating the system toward an inevitable conclusion if nothing intervenes to change things. The thrill of discovery is similarly explosive. That explosiveness is a great personal benefit for me in sculpting, science, education, and anything else creative. These sculptures remind me of the ubiquity of recursion in nature.
Two stories use the Recursion images to show how recursive processes function in teaching and learning. Five Questions to Change Your Life shows how a simple exercise invites students to dig themselves deeper and deeper into how they learn, recursively, transforming accelerating their learning as they do it. The Notion of Creativity shows how recursion links my other two red Persian travertine sculptures intimately with both Recursion sculptures: Madonna and Child and Reflections.
All of those sculptures and the process of making them continue to inform my meditations.