Backup of David's Livejournal

Not a fan of Benar Venet

While in Berlin, my company took the employees on a little bus tour.  It was fine, with the exception that we passed a little park with a big metal arc in it.  The guide explained,

That's the Arc of 124.5°.  It was a gift to Berlin from Paris, and it represents the 124.5° arc from Paris to Berlin.

So I spend the following week trying to mind my own business, because I don't know anything about Paris and Berlin, and the guide must know more than me.  Right?

Nope.  I can't get it out of my head.  From what axis is there an arc of 124.5° from Paris to Berlin?  It ain't the center of the Earth, that's for sure.  We're looking at Austria or the Atlantic.  Google doesn't yield much on the artwork.

So far, research suggests:
There is no significance in the degree of the arc. It is “art”.
Benar Venet  lived in Paris.
He played with wood and tar.
He discovered bending metal was easier than bending wood.
He is not really liked by mathematicians.
"Arc of 124.5°."  Feh.


 pastilla on Sep 21st 2007 at 9:41 PM
This is indeed a mystery. Even: Berlin: N 52 ° 31' 20" / E 13° 17' 51" Paris: N 48 ° 50' 23" / E 2 ° 20' 23" did not yield the right results (yet). Perhaps you will have better luck. Is he still calculating with a Paris Medidien?

 dblume on Sep 22nd 2007 at 5:03 PM
I'm at peace with, "Of no significance. Art." And I'm growing comfortable with, "I don't like it."

 davidd on Sep 22nd 2007 at 3:13 AM
Congratulations! You have, with this post, become one of the premiere authorities on the work of Benar Venet... if Google results are any indication. On each of my various searches for "Benar Venet" or various permutations of "Berlin," "Paris," "arc," "arch," and "124.5," this post rates a first-page spot. From what I can tell, the guy makes big partial circles out of iron, and stamps the degrees on them. That's... pretty much it. Sometimes he does angles, too. Dunno if it's pertinent, but it's interesting: in 1936 a German steam locomotive set a speed record of 124.5 miles per hour between Berlin and Hamburg.

 dblume on Sep 22nd 2007 at 5:05 PM
Wow, Google crawls (spiders?) quickly.