Sixteen tadpoles are depicted swimming through the water. Like the piece itself, the story behind it is somewhat complicated. It begins with Chaos Theory, where harmony and order are found within what appears to be a disorganized set of information.
Part of the theory is that if we knew all the factors affecting the activity of a system, we could, theoretically, be able to understand it better. Within Chaos Theory, are objects known as “strange attractors” – strange theory, strange name. A strange attractor is an object that, as its name implies, attracts forces to itself, if they are weak enough. If the forces are too strong, the activity of a system expands into randomness.
What has this to do with the carving? Well, it is an allegory for Chaos Theory. The tadpoles are swimming in a murky water, creating waves around themselves as they move. The pressure waves in the water move away from the tadpole until they meet another wave from another tadpole. These are the strong forces. Around each tadpole is an empty space representing the weak forces. The little swimmers are, in fact, acting as strange attractors.
If only the pressure waves were shown, we would not understand why they are there. With the presence of the tadpoles shown, we can understand why the waves look like they do. We have found understanding. If only the rest of physics was this easy.
The carving is made from a single piece of moose antler. Tadpoles cover all sides of the antler piece. The smooth ridges and backs of the tadpoles, interspersed with grooves feel like movement captured in your hand. The eyes are facetted crystal.