10th Annual Power of Ten Event
Arthur Dent was wrong: the answer to life, the universe and everything is not 42. It’s 10, the power of 10, actually.
Every year, The Eames Office in Santa Monica, California, hosts an International Powers of Ten Day. This year is its tenth anniversary and will take place on October 10, 2010 (10/10/10). Powers of Ten Day promotes and encourages Powers of Ten Thinking, a form of rich, cross-disciplinary thought that approaches ideas from multiple interrelated perspectives, ranging from the infinitesimal to the cosmic — and the orders of magnitude in between. If you’re at all interested in design, biodiversity and anything else that impacts on our regular day-to-day lives, you’ll find this concept of interest.
Powers of Ten Day is inspired by the classic film Powers of Ten by designers Charles and Ray Eames. Follow the link below to see it for yourself. The Eames brothers created a visual journey of scale that takes the viewer from a picnic out to the edge of space and then back to a carbon atom in the hand of the man sleeping at the picnic. Every 10 seconds the view is from 10 times further away. In all, more than 40 Powers of Ten are visualized seamlessly. Powers of Ten has influenced pop culture from The Simpsons to the rock band Coldplay, from Hummer commercials to the movie Men in Black. But Powers of Ten received perhaps the ultimate accolade in 1998 when the Library of Congress selected it, along with Easy Rider, Bride of Frankenstein, and Tootsie, for the National Film Registry–one of the 25 films of great cultural value chosen each year.
The idea is an exercise in imagination because scale isn’t just about size, it’s also about the relative size of things and how objects interact with each other. Eames Demetrios, director of the Eames Office, says, “Scale is the new geography. … So many of our challenges today are ultimately matters of scale. To be a good citizen of the world and have a chance to make it a better place, a person must have a real understanding of scale.” Think for a moment of food prep at home or at a restaurant, or vineyards and the winemaking process. The slogan, “think locally, act globally” takes on greater meaning when you think of it in terms of scale.
If you happen to live in or are planning to visit Southern California before the end of the year, make sure to drop by the Eames Office. There will be an event each day the exhibition is open during the month of October, such as a box that can hold 1 million pennies (250,000 have already been added). All the pennies collected will be given to TreePeople, an environmental nonprofit that unites the power of trees, people and technology to grow a sustainable future for Los Angeles. The Eames Office has also installed a map of the Earth on its website (and at the Office) to track Power of Ten events around our world. So what are you waiting for? Join in!