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Pi's numerical sequence flies over the San Francisco bay


Pi’s first thousand numbers appear as clouds up in the Californian sky.

Presented as part of the Silicon Valley art and technology festival 2012 ZERO1 BiennialNew Window, Pi in the Sky was one of the biggest ephemeral art installations the world has ever seen. The project was conceived by ISHKYNew Window, where artist, programmers and scientists collaborate to explore the “the boundaries of scale, public space, impermanence, and the relationship between Earth and the physical universe.”

The numerical version of Pi in the sky (3.14159…) was drawn by five synchronized airplanes flying three thousand feet above land using dot matrix printer technology to trace the numbers in the sky. The numbers (which only lasted a few hours) were 170 kilometers long, stretching out over the entire San Francisco Bay.

Transcendent number Pi took on a new transcendence with ISHKY’s ephemeral installation, as if the mathematical data that comprises the universe was peeking through the sky and showing, for once, its all-encompassing data.

Pi’s decimal sequence is infinite —we’ll never be able to see it completely, which makes its apparition an ellipsis that will forever be engraved in time and clouds.

pi in the sky


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