It is often the little things that are the basis of progress… So let me tell you a little story about the tiniest thing on earth: the dot.
Thousands of years ago, a man in his solitude scanned the night sky and saw all those dots shining like so many still fireflies and, perhaps for fun, he decided to join them together to form shapes. This is how zodiac signs and astronomy were born.
Far away, in ancient India, the dot symbolized beauty and the eye of knowledge. But even more, the dot they called “shunya-bindu” represented what we nowadays know as zero. It was first a placeholder and then a fully fledged number, for when it is added to the right of the representation of any given digit, the value of the digit is multiplied by ten. This is how our current numbers and decimal numeration system were born.
While drawing or painting, visual artists of all times used to fix a dot – or more specifically a point in space – which was traditionally visualized from the tip of their thumb. Eventually, when this point receded so far away in space, it became known as a “vanishing point”. A vanishing point is where all converging lines of a landscape meet at the horizon. This is how perspective and geometry were born.
One day, medieval musicians were tired of having to rely solely on their memories to remember songs. So they started to use dots, named “puncti”, placed on or between four lines to represent the pitch and duration of a sound. This is how musical notation and programming were born.
In the modern era, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, dots were used in many other symbolic forms: bumps, holes, single tones, flashes of light… Do the terms Braille, Morse, punched card or pixel sound familiar to you? This is how communication and coding were born.
I could go on forever listing all the fascinating properties and curiosities regarding dots, but I don’t want to spoil your pleasure in discovering the many applications in everyday life and other funny interactive activities this intriguing book offers.
As an optical-art expert, I am pleased that this work also contains a neat collection of optical illusions that will encourage the reader to further explore the compelling world of visual perception. You will be surprised at how, through puzzles, games and art activities, this “dot workshop” will afford insight into the perceptual and conceptual beauty of science and nature.
The author of this volume, Patricia Moffett, is known for her beautifully illustrated coloring and activity books featuring detailed figures and fabulous characters amidst fairy worlds.
Don’t wait any more, go and immerse yourself in this captivating “dot experience”.
Oh wait, just one more word… I almost forgot to say that this book also conveys a philosophical message as it reminds us that we will always be a “dot” to someone or something else: a flea is a dot compared to a man, a man is a dot compared to the earth, the earth is a blue dot compared to the sun, the sun is one of those dots in the Milky Way and our galaxy is a dot in the universe. That’s all from me. I will sign off with another dot… a full stop! Enjoy.
Gianni A. Sarcone
Artist & Visual Researcher
(My foreword for the book “The All-Round Activity Book” available from Amazon)