Playing with Phi, Lahinch Beach 2003

(Playing with Phi was originally posted on indymedia ireland December 09, 2003:: The idea for it was initially posted on Archeire, way back on 25th August 2001. This is a repost of the original blog post on It’s a funny old world)

“Playing with Phi”
On Sunday the 9th of December 2003 a piece of land art was done on the beach of Lahinch in county Clare. It was done by 4 people for a few different reasons.

(image from “playing with phi” on the edge of europe )

What is Phi?
Phi is an irrational number (1.6.18….), which is a found in all aspects of nature, and supposedly using it as a proportion leads to the most beautiful shapes, many of the ancient Greek sculptors and builders used to use it. You can see it roughly on the proportions between your knuckles, or the shapes of images of galaxies. some people know the number as “gods favourite number”

Why was it done?
A few reasons- 2 and a half years ago, a few of us had the idea to do it, but in never materialised for different reasons. Thankfully now a few things have come together and it happened.
3 of the 4 of us who did it were at the Shannon peace demonstration the previous day, so “playing with phi” was done as a memory to the innocents who have died in wars. A white plastic flag was put up for this reason.

What did we do?
We worked out the maths of constructing a phiplate, where by successive squares led from a timber board out to the sea, we then drew a spiral, the golden spiral, and filled in the hole left in the sand with seaweed bits.
We took pictures and documented it
We wrote in the sand “sin e anois, mar taimid beo anois” which is roughly the gaeilge or irish for “that’s it now, because we are alive now”
We went into the sea, danced and roared

The board read:
Playing with phi
Phi , sigma , pi
(These are the greek letters for )
F, S, P
These letters also stand for
Which stands for
An arrow with “next stop new york @ 3000 miles”
Phi = 1.618……. (toward infinity)
Gods favourite number

People stopped and and asked us what it was about, we informed them they would soon be able to find out by looking at the indymedia website.

My mother is from Lahinch and I have spent much of my life wandering about the beach and sea at Lahinch. My relations; Mary, Pat and Mark Shannon gave much invaluable help, tea and biscuits to us, thanks

The FUSPEY network uses art to communicate and when felt necessary: art to challenge ( in a non violent way)
FUSPEY is about feeling alive

thanks to all who helped make it happen

Related Link:

Nice film that explores the oddness of these numbers that are found in nature;

π (pi)

(image from FUSPEY 2004 )

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