Sunday, April 15, 2012

Kron's Tensor Analysis

A few days ago I got in the mail a package from England that was supposed to contain an out-of-print book of German Romantic literature that I had ordered. Didn't turn out that way. Instead, the package contained a volume titled Gabriel Kron and Systems Theory, edited by H.H. Happ (Schenectady, NY: Union College Press, 1973), the proceedings of a 1969 memorial symposium dedicated to the life and work of Gabriel Kron (1901-1968). I fully expected that I would have to mail this tome back to the U.K., but, after apprising the seller of their mistake, they let me know that unfortunately they did not have in stock the book I had ordered so they would refund my money--and, by the way, I could keep the book they had sent me as their complimentary gift. Well, fancy that! Now, as I know, or care, little about systems engineering (let alone the late 1960s configuration thereof), I could either recycle the book, try to resell it (not that, I imagined, there would be all that many takers)--or adopt it, as it were, and thereafter do the only logical thing, which was to illuminate it. Here is the first result of my efforts, an entire essay decorated over the last couple of days. Consider it my very belated memorial to Dr. Kron, of whom I never would have heard had it not been for this contretemps. The entire book will follow, after which I may even try to read bits of it and find out more about who Dr. Kron actually was.

(Note: the book was slightly bigger than my scanner, so some of the edges of the pages unfortunately are cut off.)


  1. and it looks like you really had fun drawing. terrific use of a mistake. interesting that you honored the writing by sticking to the blank areas instead of intruding. a book I intruded on once became interesting to me years later - so much so that i had to order a clean copy of the damn thing to read it.

  2. Thanks! I've tried doing a similar thing before, but what I've learned is that, if I used a book I actually care for, I end up being too deferential to the text; this was largely why I never finished my planned contribution to the Hooded Utilitarian's Illustrated Wallace Stevens event. Not knowing or caring much about this one rather freed me. I didn't set out to honor the writing, but from the first I found myself unwilling to cross it out, and so I thought it would work better as actual illumination. Besides, it IS a memorial volume, and it would have been kind of caddish of me to intrude upon the tributes, don't you think?

  3. Andrei -- interesting point you've made about only being able to work over stuff you've no real interest in. I'm the same -- in the area of my work in which I overlay pre-existing images, I only really produce decent work if I don't particularly love the source. Hence brochures and adverts create quite interesting responses, but if I attempt the same on photographs of people I know or things I enjoy, the results are usually lacklustre. Only exception is the work I did on a site-specific issue of The Intercrostal, based on photos I'd taken of a barber shop.

  4. Intéressant, Andrei.

    When I read Kron, I think to cheap superhero comic book ; it's funny, don't ?

  5. Gareth--I also think that, if you like something, then it's probably perfect as it is, and it does not really need illustration--so doing something with it may be a bit superfluous. (Of course, the situation may vary...)

    Mattias: "Kron the Merciless"? "The Wrath of Kron"? "Kron Strikes Again"? Yeah, that sounds about right.
    What's funny is that I read the introduction to the book last night, and he was a rather interesting guy. In his youth he traveled around the world (literally), finding work as an engineer whenever he needed money. And he was from Transylvania, like I am (well, my family's from there). Some strange synnchronicities... I gave a paper last year on "Abstract Comics and Systems Theory" at the San Diego Comic-Con!

  6. "Comics Arts Conference Session #6: Wordless Comics — Andrei Molotiu (Indiana University) makes the case that the sequential dynamics of abstract comics echo complex self-organizing systems such as occur in biological, mathematical, and sociological processes and that the same transmedia values underlie more traditional storytelling comics."

    Ça a l'air très intéressant ; c'est trouvable ou publié quelque part ?

  7. I keep meaning to write it up for here--but it's all a matter of finding the time!


Please note that anonymous comments will be rejected.