Tessellation based on the apocryphal story told by Stephen Hawking in “A Brief History of Time”

Turtles All The Way Down


Turtles All The Way Down

In Stephen Hawking’s 1988 book A Brief History of Time, he recounts a story:

A well-known scientist (some say it was Bertrand Russell) once gave a public lecture on astronomy. He described how the earth orbits around the sun and how the sun, in turn, orbits around the center of a vast collection of stars called our galaxy. At the end of the lecture, a little old lady at the back of the room got up and said: “What you have told us is rubbish. The world is really a flat plate supported on the back of a giant tortoise.” The scientist gave a superior smile before replying, “What is the tortoise standing on?” “You’re very clever, young man, very clever,” said the old lady. “But it’s turtles all the way down!”

In the print, a circle of 9 turtles (an auspicious number in Hindu mythology) stand on the backs of 9 more turtles…and so on spiraling into infinity in the centre of the page. In the Gold variant of the print, The spiral path is overlaid in gold by textile craftmen from Central Java, with the kind assitance of acclaimed Indonesian textile artist Baron Manangsan, a detail is below:

Turtles all the Way Down - Detail of Gold Leaf

Turtles All The Way Down – Detail of Gold Leaf