“The greatest shortcoming of the human race is its inability to understand the exponent.” This simple statement from physicist Albert Bartlet exposes the greatest failure in human thinking.
Exponential growth and decay is present in every great disaster facing humanity; climate change, pandemics, war and misinformation. However, the exponent is also a tool for good demonstrated through progressive social change, education, vaccination, and peace. If humanity could better understand the exponential function its power, perhaps we could use it for make decisions about the future that heal rather than harm future generations.
“To the nth” is a cross-disciplinary exploration of the exponent and exponential function and its constant and unacknowledged effects. Through movement, cinema, and music, collaborators Dustyn Martincich, Jess Hoverson, Andrew Roddewig and Stephen Holliger converge their own backgrounds and disciplines to bring life to this ever-present mathematical function. The collective formed with dancers and consultants from physics, economics, and data analytics during the pandemic of 2020/2021 to create “to the nth” based on the exponential function specifically in climate change, social movements, financial markets, and nuclear physics.
Over several months Jess Hoverson and Dustyn Martincih choreographed phrases based on those four themes with students at the Bucknell University. Filmmaker Andrew Roddewig used the social distancing requirements, to heighten the visual themes. By having performers recorded separate and isolated in a high contrast environment he was able to manipulate them to visually demonstrate the exponent. Stephen Holliger’s musical composition brings a mixture of organic recordings of rivers and wind synthesized with melodies to create a haunting resonance and beautiful discord.
An early version of the final film was shown as part of the Bucknell University Indoor Dance Festival and has since been updated to include Stephen’s musical score. The film is being submitted to dance, science, and educational festivals throughout the calendar year.