Isaac Arthur

The Megastructure Compendium
Science & Futurism
In the future humanity may build enormous structures, feats of mega-engineering that may rival planets or even be of greater scope. This episode catalogs roughly 100 major types of Megastructure, from those that are cities in space to those that rival galaxies.

Gerard O’Neill

O’Neill cylinder

O’Neill was inspired by the papers written by his students. He began to work out the details of a program to build self-supporting space habitats in free space.Among the details was how to provide the inhabitants of a space colony with an Earth-like environment. His students had designed giant pressurized structures, spun up to approximate Earth gravity by centrifugal force . With the population of the colony living on the inner surface of a sphere or cylinder, these structures resembled “inside-out planets”. He found that pairing counter-rotating cylinders would eliminate the need to spin them using rockets.This configuration has since been known as the O’Neill cylinder.

Maxim Zhestkov

Elements is an experimental art film by Maxim Zhestkov about nature, physics, art and love. More than 2 billion elements / particles governed by tensions and forces of nature were used to tell stories and show emotions through the motion of collective behavior.
The film is a trial to explore the idea that everything around us and inside us is made from simple elements / blocks which can be arranged in complex relationships and become compound structures. We could project this idea into emotions, behaviours, thought processes, relationships, life, planets and the universe.


توماس ساراسينو
Space elevator / Spark

Black polyester rope, plastic cable ties, metal frame.

Having studied as an architect, Tomas Saraceno incorporates physics, engineering, and aeronautics into his interactive and evolving artistic structures. Using arachnology, or the study of spiders, to create structures that suggest alternative ways of living, he employs tridimensional webs to better understand how unique building blocks create distinct forms. Saraceno places spiders in cubic frames and leaves them to spin webs, rotating the cubes at various intervals to introduce elements of freedom


White Canvas
“CoCoLab engages in the area of programming languages. We provide frameworks for the analysis and the transformation of programs. Our technology is based on know-how from compiler construction. The frameworks contain parsers and preprocessors which convert source code to abstract syntax trees and symbol tables. These data structures are the foundation of program analysis and program transformation.”

Igor Siwanowicz

insect microscope
The scientist at Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, has been using laser-scanning microscopes to capture the incredible details of the insect world unseen to our naked eyes. Not only that, he also colors the pictures to show the tree-like structures that turn the pictures into these vibrant blueprints of life.

Pierre Boulez

Пьер Булез
Structures I & II

Ohne ihn wäre die Geschichte der Musik seit 1945 eine andere: Pierre Boulez – Ikone der Neuen Musik, dessen Vehemenz eine der tiefsten ideologischen Spaltungen in der Musik bewirkte. Mit brillanter Polemik forderte er etwa die Sprengung aller Opernhäuser. Seine Kunst des Komponierens machte ihn so einzigartig wie seine Art zu dirigieren.In den 1950er Jahren etablierte sich Boulez definitiv als einer der Komponisten seiner Zeit. Beeinflusst von der Wiener Schule entwickelten die Franzosen Techniken und Kompositionsmethoden, die zum großen Teil auf mathematischen Prinzipien beruhten. 1951 komponierte er Polyphonie X für 18 Instrumente und Structures I für zwei Klaviere, serialistische Stücke schlechthin. Boulez war einer der Schöpfer des integralen Serialismus, ein Konzept, das sich aus Schönbergs Dodekaphonismus ableitet.


“These photos are a result of how intriguing the concept of distortion translates to architecture. It creates a sense of falling into itself, like capturing a moment of demolition. I can destroy titanous steel structures with the click of a mouse and create new twisted versions of reality. I was also inspired by San Francisco. I had just moved here and being a new city was disorienting and exciting and I wanted to capture how my whole world had changed.”


רמונד קנה
Раймонд Кено
Cent mille Milliards de poèmes
Since its arrival (the Oulipo), the rules of the group were set out as follows: “We define potential literature as the search for new forms and structures that can be used by writers in the way they will most like.” “Potential” refers to something that exists in power in literature, that is, that is found within language and that has not necessarily been explored. The favorite tool for study and production is the contrainte, an arbitrary formal restriction that can create new procedures, new forms and literary structures that can generate poems, novels, texts. Over the years, dozens of different contraintes have been explored, from those somehow related to the riddle, such as the palindrome, the acrostic, the lipogram, of which the playful aspect has certainly not been underestimated, with forms more directly related to the codes of exact sciences, such as combinatorial calculus, set theory or graph theory. Among the numerous definitions of the Oulipo provided by the members themselves, one is very elegant and significant: “An Oulipiano is a mouse that builds the labyrinth from which it is proposed to come out later”. Queneau often explained that some of his works might seem simple pastimes, simple jeux d’esprit (mind games), but he remembered that topology or number theory also arose, at least in part, from what was once called “funny mathematics“.


Structure volante

Thomas Lanfranchi uses lightweight materials to create environmentally responsive sculptures. Many of his projects have been wind blown, taking the form of kites or wind socks. He has installed these pieces at sites across France and on buoys at sea. On a recent visit to Australia he made a journey around the outback, creating and documenting a new airborne sculpture each day to suit the site. Working with a type of plastic commonly used for shopping bags, Lanfranchi is able to make very large structures that are capable of being supported by the lightest breeze. When they are destroyed after the exhibition an object the size of a blue whale collapses into a carrier bag.