Subsisting, as many of us do, on a daily diet of angled buildings and neighborhood grid patterns, can lead to a default definition of humanity as fundamentally square. We navigate right angles from our first steps to the bathroom in the morning to the four way stop we cycle through on the way home from work. If our built environment is an expression of who we are as a species, we might assume our kind are markedly linear and composed of angled planes.
Shinichi Maruyama‘s nudes strip the angles off our bodies, documenting that as we move, we embody patterns that flow deeper than the squares that define modern culture. His composites of 10,000+ stills of human dancers fluttered through design and photography blogs late in 2012, earning thousands of “likes.” But what is it, exactly, that so many of us like about these images?
The biophilia hypothesis states that we have an innate love of other living things. It follows that we also have an inherent fondness for the patterns that give rise to those living systems. The circle may be one of the most pervasive shapes in our universe, and Maruyama’s work exposes that shape expressing itself through our bodies. We see that even as we are moving through the grids of our culture, we are drawing circles with our limbs that even conscious effort could not disavow. We are always tracing something that neither begins nor ends, down beneath our clothes, without need of conscious thought.