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north of the north pole

north of the north pole detail

North of the North Pole

Through an online query, the artist collected hundreds of unanswerable questions from philosophers from around the world. An undulating steel frame holds circuit boards that hang like an open venetian blind, with LED's on the edges of both sides of each circuit board. This makes the sculpture a transparent, 3-dimensional, two-sided, moving display. Moving lines of light slowly scroll around the sculpture. They are followed by smaller and faster lines, then followed by one of the many unanswerable questions.

Glen Oaks Library, Queens, NY
Commissioned by The Department of Cultural Affairs, Percent for Art, New York.
14' X 14" X 4', aluminum, LED's, electronics, computer and program, database of unanswerable questions.

Philosophy consultant: Robert M. Martin
Metal Fabrication: AFX Sign Effectz, Milwaukee, Adam Brown
Electronics design and engineer: Todd Polenberg
Project manager: Sara Reisman, Kelly Pajek
Photograph: Xenia Diente

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Some of the questions:

What is the opposite of a duck?
How many things are there in this room?
How do they know that no two snowflakes are alike?
Has everything doubled in size overnight?
Do snakes have tails?
How do you know you’re not a computer?
How long is forever?
Is an apple alive when you eat it?
Is there an invisible monster behind you? 
For how long is now here?
What do dragons eat?
How many skies are there?
What time is it on the moon right now?
Where is last year's snow?
Who makes the rules?
How long is a piece of string?
If you replace every part of a boat, is it still the same boat?
Do colors look the same to every person?
If someone says, "I'm lying," is that person lying?
How do you know you’re not dreaming?
How many stars are there?
What makes something art?
How high can you count?
Why is there something instead of nothing?
What is infinity plus one?
How fast are you moving?
Who was the first human?
Is a chair with one leg still a chair?
How long is the coastline of Manhattan?
If a bad person always pretends to be good, are they really bad?
Can you walk north from the north pole?
 If I make a promise to my cat do I have to keep it?
Can you dig half a hole?
What colour is a mirror?
Where is your mind?
Is it OK to lie to make someone happy?
Did time have a beginning?
Is the answer to this question "no"?
Are more things smaller than you than larger then you?
What is the best painting ever?
Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
Why is it good to be good?
Do animals think?
Is there one world or many worlds?
Can we change the past? 
Is it possible to tell lies all the time?
Can you think about nothing?
Is there something bigger than the universe?
Do Martians like ice cream?
Where does a mountain end?
Do cats have feelings?
Can you do something wrong in your dreams?
How much is enough?
What happens to the characters after the end of the story?
What time is it right now?
What's it like to be a bat?
How big is the biggest number?
Can you step in the same river twice?
Are you thinking what I’m thinking?
What is bigger than the biggest thing imaginable?
Can anyone read your mind?
Are cockroaches conscious?
Can you split the smallest possible thing in half?
What is normal?
What is at the end of space?
If no one sees it, is a sunset still beautiful?
How high is the sky?
How many times can you cut a rope in half?
Is this sentence true?
Is doing nothing doing something?
How many words are not in this sentence?
If you do everything there is to do, what can you do next?
Are there colors we can't see?
Do you feel what I feel?
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there, does it make a sound?
Have we been visited by time travellers from the future?
Is time real?
What color is the number four?
What would a square circle look like?
Is your mind in your head?
Is this a trick question?
Do animals have feelings?
Can computers think?
When you stand on your head, which way is up?
Who does Superman’s laundry?
Who was the first human?
Can you be right and wrong at the same time?
Is a man with one hair on his head bald?
Is there more than one of anything?

Some of the contributors: Robert M. Martin (and from his book, There are Two Errors in the the Title of This Book), Gareth B. Matthews (from his book, Philosophy and the Young Child), Brigid Dwyer, Eric v.d. Luft, Michael A. Sevel, Rachael Amy Briggs, Thom Heyd, Ralph Acampora, Michaela Lucas, Miles Kennedy, Peter Vickers, Jonathan Seglow, Brendan Larvor, Berel Dov Lerner, Helga Kocurek, Niall William Richard Scott, Iain Brassington, Angela Mendelovici, Chris Hitchcock, Justin Weinberg, Anders Sandberg, Tim W. Christie, Marc Joseph, Stephen Satris, Chris Janaway, Patrick Butlin, Tommaso Piazza, Michael P. Leeds, Jagruti Dave, Elia Zardini, Marina Mc Coy, Sébastien Motta, Martha Sherwoodpike, Alison Crane Reiheld, Anthony Dardis, Ian Ground, Fabien Capeilleres, Koen Vervloesem, Hugh Reynolds, Nigel Hee, Jamie Watson, Jason Patrick Mask, Robert J. Stainton, Walfred Haans, H. Peter Steeves, Adam Bisset, Michael P. Leeds, Michael S. Hoffman, Klaus Jahn, Dan Hewitt, Dan McShea, Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, Andrew Brook, Arto Laitinen, Matthew Clark, Daniel Meltzer, Sarah Rich, Kory DeClark, Dan McShea, Keith Korcz, Catherine Sutton, Stephanie Koziej, Damian Angel Lucas, Clea F. Rees, Antonio Rauti, Michael J. Shaffer, Janet Zweig.

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