Land of Recreation - Matt Taylor 1987

Studies of Sacred Architecture
in media of all kinds



One of the interesting things about documenting one’s past involves returning to a Notebook to find a statement 5, 10, 20 years old that rings as “true” as when first written. The statement which follows was written at a junction point in my work when it looked like MG Taylor would cease as an active business - or at least my active participation in it might greatly diminish. What happened instead was a complete regeneration of the Enterprise. Now, rereading theses notes at a time when the Enterprise is transforming again and I am again looking for an “exit” to form a new relationship with the MG Taylor ValueWeb, I find this particularly poignant. The Idea of Abscapes goes back to the early 60s when Max Stormes and I dreamed it up. I thought then by the mid 80s that I might turn a large portion of my time to producing Abscapes. Instead, the competition of other projects has kept me away from it with the exception of four quick studies done in 1987. Good ideas, however, never stop pressing for realization. One of the wonderful things about mind, as a media, is that it multi tasks and you can take it everywhere - no other tools required. Abscapes have never left me and many have been designed in the media of mind-stuff, the first step in the 4 Step ReCreation Model, and await pencil and paper, paint and glue, wall and wood.


Last Christmas, Gail gave me a small portable box of paints. A gentle reminder perhaps. They are now sitting on a shelf in a redwood retreat, waiting. It seems a number of things have gone full cycle.



Matt Taylor
Palo Alto
March 17, 2002


Abscapes Background


From Documentation of Development - Abscapes, November 10, 1984 Washingtin DC - pages 1 & 2 10:30pm:




The idea of Abscapes goes back to the early 60s in New York where Max Stormes and I experimented with rendering techniques with Prismacolor pencils and the blending of abstract geometry and scenes.


“My background at that time was largely architecture, and Max’s was mostly theater - where he had worked as an actor and set designer. We proceeded to instruct each other in our Art and the root idea of Abscapes was one of the synergies that took place.”


Max did several pieces that explored both the full potential of the pencils and the blending of geometry and realism. I continued to explore the uses of complex geometric modules in Architecture - the landscape and house designs that I produced 1964 to 71 were the product of this period of study. Max and I broke up our partnership in early 1966 and I have not seen him or his work since.”


“Over the last 20 years the concept of Abscapes has slowly developed in my mind - and evolved to a much more serious idea than the first vision and applications. This development has tracked my own philosophical and metaphysical growth. Now I see it a potentially major means of expressing the new paradigm. A literal visual expression of that new paradigm - both to show it and to defend it.”


“A visual Glass Bead Game. The synthesis of music, esoteric symbolism & color, sacred geometry, new concepts of time & space with real subjects to form a new Art.”


“I am returning to this idea at a time in my life when the expression of my work needs a new form - one that is possible for me to produce with my own resources. As with all my work, I expect it to be a financially successful effort - although this may take 2 or 3 years. It will both be the simplest form of my work and at the same time the highest abstraction and purest expression of my knowledge, science and art. This work - therefore - is not divorced from my other work but may well be separated from it. Under certain scenarios, it may be the sole expression of it.”


“One of the values of the concept is that the work can function on two levels: as a decorative art and as a Fine Art - a synthesis wholly consistent with my entire career. It can also be a means of teaching esoteric knowledge to those who can discern it.”


“It gives me a certain security in two ways: one, if all other expressions of my work fail in the short term, this expression will ‘get it all said;’ second, in a few years - with proper management - Abscapes can become major source of revenue to provide a degree of financial independence not possible under the present circumstances.”


If the other expressions of my work do continue to develop and do become successful, the study required for Abscapes will be necessary for the more mature development of Management Centers and Architecture. What we have here is a fail safe strategy on several levels - as well as - a method for my own education and development.


“It is my intention to devote the major portion of my ‘free’ time to the background study and production of Abscape pieces and to have tested the economics of this work within the next year.


“It is very possible that this will evolve to become my main work within a year.”

end 11:46pm


Abscape Studies




“Another geometrical factor is the atomic and biological level(s). The materials of a subject can be ’up-scaled’ just as the environment (place) is ‘down-scaled.’ These geometries can be overlayed - one to another - and to the subject itself - to create a greater depth of meaning.”




Another set of scales is time - past present and future. A work - or series of works - can show a subject's derivatives, present stare and some (preferred) future states.”

Quo Vatus



“Each work, therefore, must have a clear pattern that is designed to ‘unblock,’ in the viewer, the ‘mental gridlock’ that prevent the mind from functioning lucidly.”




“This study is based on the square and some of it’s various elements. The hexagon shape is, of course, the view of a cube from a 45 degree angle. The form is placed within the larger square of the “canvas” to form two squares - one large one small.”

Land of Recreation


Abscapes Concepts


From Documentation of Development - Abscapes, October 8, 1984 Washingtin DC - page 8 9:23am:


The Glass Bead game:


“In many ways Abscapes are a visual representation of the Glass Bead Game. The game itself will require a much wider range of expression. But the feeling of the Game, some of it’s basic language and a ‘description’ of the Providence of which it is a part, can be expressed in the medium of the Abscape.”

“Abscapes become a way of expressing the ‘philosophic life.’ The viewer, by mentally getting into the picture - by meditation, brings the pattern of that view of reality into his/her being. This can be a powerful experience - it can be reinforced by music and words; it can provide a new mental ‘imprint.’ This may pave the way for people to understand new concepts and events on the philosophical level.”


“Each work, therefore, must have a clear pattern that is designed to ‘unblock,’ in the viewer, the ‘mental gridlock’ that prevent the mind from functioning lucidly. I am becoming ever more aware of mental gridlock as a real phenomena and how this can be “black-boxed’ and repaired. Each work, besides having this program pattern that unlocks the gridlock, must also show show the pure and undistorted cognitive pattern that is the result. This will be ‘layered’ - as the gridlock unwinds, the viewer will see another pattern, that before, was invisible. The feeling will be one of discovery - of entering a new universe.”


“Abscapes will contribute to the process of creating the grammar of the Glass Bead Game(s) and thus move the game from a mental reality to a physical reality. There will have to be many such contributions of this order before it will be possible to have a game that can be played.


“Abscapes can contribute more by expressing the temper of the Providence conceived of by Hesse. They can show a re-view of the Castalia point of view.”


“A possible subject for a set of Abscapes (perhaps after the DC series): Knecht’s “Chinese House Game.” This could develop the geomancy theme, the Castalia Providence, and the grammar of the Game. Each picture to be a movement in the Game.”



From Documentation of Development - Abscapes, May 6, 1987 St Augustine - page 14 9:57pm:


“The idea of the ‘Master Plan’ - and mapping - also fits in here. Location can (should) be brought into each piece. Many maps of older areas have interesting geometry, a geometry that comes both from the natural terrain and from esoteric geometry.”


“The original geometry of a place is very important. It is not accidental.


“Another geometrical factor is the atomic and biological level(s). The materials of a subject can be ’up-scaled’ just as the environment (place) is ‘down-scaled.’ These geometries can be overlayed - one to another - and to the subject itself - to create a greater depth of meaning.”


“The overlaying of geometries, scales, subjects (material content) creates visual music and a description of total reality - this is not non-objective art.”


“It is objective in that it shows the physical and the metaphysical and their relationship to one another in context of human meaning (i.e. vantage point - view).


“Esoteric symbolism - color, geometry, number - provides an additional language for conveying a meaning, ideas and feelings - for describing experiences.


“With all this, a work can be appealing on a simple visual level. In this regard, Abscapes may be ‘superior’ to music. It may be easier to ‘hide’ complexity. The goal is for the user (viewer) to approach the work on any level s/he wants to - and to receive value.”


“Nothing would be a greater demonstration of success than if a work sold well as a ‘decorative’ piece, yet the discerning could fine in it many depths of intellectual, emotional and spiritual value.”


“Another set of scales is time - past present and future. A work - or series of works - can show a subject's derivatives, present stare and some (preferred) future states.


“Color itself has a direct effect on a living organism. The ‘healing’ aspects of color should be employed and the vibratory rates consistent with the subject.”


“Thus, each piece is an artistic expression, research into ‘Universe’ potential and a direct influence acting to help transform individuals and society.”


Future Developments

The 1987 studies do not begin to approach the complexity, nor scale of a fully realized Abscape piece. The next step remains the same: to execute a set of works that will demonstrate the idea at a sophisticated level, lay the broad pattern language of Abscapes and test the market assumptions and Business Model of the idea. (See: Documentation of Development - Abscapes, pages 5 & 6, November 20, 1984; page 9 December 9 1984)


The Idea
A Language System
Record of Our Times

link: full screen view


Abscapes as Mastheads

As a exercise in continuing to develop Abscapes concepts and to bring more message to the Mastheads used in this web site, in late 04 and early 05 I started to use prior Abscapes studies, the MG Taylor Modeling Language and pictures (usually with historic context) to create deeper meaning. This is mostly done by using the elements in an iconic way while paying attention both position and juxtaposition of those elements. The basic electronic techniques employed have been the opacity tool to fade images over one another and the rollover tool to change the image when there is a user mouse-over and click for a link. In some cases, the specific images in a Masthead are linked to appropriate articles. These are simple techniques and the results are still far, far away from the subtly and complexity required of a true Abscapes piece. These simple means do, however, supply a surprising amount of content and nuance while enlivening the visual experience without getting into annoying pyrotechnics.
The implications of the graphics shown below can only be found by reading the articles they head up. There are specific connections between what the graphics show and what the words say. It is worth while to think of the graphics from the point of view of “gesture” in this regard.
click on the graphics to go to their relevant articles



“This image juxtaposes two picture taken 20 years apart with the studies “System” and “Hierarchy” posing a set of questions that are taken up in the text of the article.

20 Years



“The rollover imposes the 4 Step Model onto the four images. There is direct relevance of each 4 Step glyph to the meaning of the image including the exact location of the glyph.

20 Years Recreation



“This image imposes a NASA photo over the 1987 study “System.”

Planetary Architecture



“The rollover reduces the first image and introduces the MGT logo to suggest intent and process. The logo, itself is an image that actually has three different arrow directions depending how you “see” it.

Planetary Architecture Process

“This graphic combines 6 elements to tell the story of 1974. The images are iconic and denotative.

Recreating 1974

The Recreation Model “points” to the various elements: Vision to Quo Vatus - the question; Template to Rate of Change - the situation; Act to the KC Master Plan and EcoSphere - projects of this era; Feedback to a picture of me published in 1977 at the time I launched the Renascence Project.
These examples are far from exhausting all the possibilities. It is amazing how much can be gotten in into such a simple format. Like all graphics the pieces should make a pleasing pattern and with shape, color and texture connote meaning general to humanity, specific to a culture, and individual to many people. An Abscape must, in addition, contain specific denotative and ostensive meanings. This is how architecture works, by combining connotative and denotative elements [future link] to make explicit the meaning of what a building shelters, facilitates and expresses. In the case of an Abscape, the denotative meanings can be be quite precise and take the viewer through a thought process design to provoke certain patterns aimed at a specific insight and content understanding. This is what sacred architecture did for centuries from the beginning of civilization up to the beginning of the modern era when the misunderstanding of “rationality” caused the canons to be almost totally lost [future link: the temple in man]. I subtitled this URL Studies in Sacred Architecture [in media of all kinds] and so far I have not gotten to this aspect yet - I will. Many of the old cannons still have power. New ones have to be developed which speak to our time and to the future which is now possible - a positive future. “Sacred” does not have to mean “religious” in the sense that this has become practice in recent eras. All societies have myths - some life sustaining and some not [link: making national symbols - the flaw in the american myth] . Sacred Architecture cannons embed specific myths - many common to many civilizations and eras - in concrete, objective, physical form. These had to be decoded in order to get at certain esoteric mysteries. The content was important however it was the mental transformation required to understand that was important. This tradition goes back to cave paintings. Today, this language is mostly lost causing Manley P. hall to comment that “if architects understood what their buildings we saying, they would be embarrassed.”
May 28, 2007



The 4 Step ReCreation Model is used with four images ghosted over the Model. The forms have meaning as do the messages of the images, as well as, where they are placed in relation to the model Icons. This Masthead Abscape is about intension and the steps and means to the goal of building the capacity to do Planetary Architecture.

HabitatMakers: THERE to HERE


The Vision is Planetary Architecture. The Iconic Earth-Moon picture is imposed over the Icon of vision so that the earth is in the circle of the step of vision creation.The ValueWeb Model is imposed over the Design Template step with the Management (function) - or System Integrator icon - in the circle juxtaposed over the Template step Icon. The form that the vision is recreated in is the organizational capacity to build and employ a ValueWeb capable of achieving the vision. Over Act - or work - is the image of the Leopard Studio with the POD of the Studio superimposed over the Act Icon. The Leopard Project is the first HabitatMakers project of a series of works that will lead to the building of Xanadu. It is, therefore, the achievement of Xanadu that provides the feedback to both the efficacy of the program and the validity of the vision. The fact that the Feedback Icon is centered on the center dome of (surrounded by the 4 work-function-focused domes) of Xanadu is not without significance. Recall, also, that the Icons used for the steps in the 4 Step Process Model are employed in many other aspects of the Taylor Modeling Language. The meaning and the philosophy of the 4 Step Process has to be incorporated, as do Icons like the earth-Moon image into the understanding (s) of what messages this masthead, as a whole, conveys.

Thus, a multi-year program, design strategy and process is illustrated, along with specific works to be built, that make a beginning and end of the program and represents the feedback, the symbols and fact of having built the capacity to practice planetary Architecture. This is a great deal of information and symbolism integrated into an image that can be grasped, both whole and in parts, in an instant. A full Abscape on the level of art will of course have many such images, on many levels of recursion, and most likely of a far more subtle character so that the mental process of the viewer are greatly challenged and stimulated. This complexity would make the work have emergent properties which would allow many valid interpretations because of the experience of the viewers interaction and the perspectives which they bring to their interaction with the work. As with all my work, graphic, architecture or facilitation, although content rich, it is not what I do that is the point. the point is what the user does because of their interaction with my work.

There are other relationships of interest in this Abscape. The ones noted above are the main ones. The significance of this Masthead is that the Leopard Project will be the first habitatMakers [link: habitatmakers] project and this project has included in it work the first commissioned full scale Abscape work that I will create. It so happens that the theme of this piece will be the poem by Coleridge [link: in xanadu did...].
The proposal for MOMA, the last Abscape I will describe in this URL, will also be a significant advance in the development of the art. This proposal, for an exhibit in New York, is about the art of collaboration and the Languages employed to provoke, facilitate and describe GroupGenius. This will be delivered to MOMA in the form of an enriched pod cast in which the Modeling Language, 3d model simulations of the architecture of collaborative spaces, and Abscapes will be both subject (of the proposal) and technique used in the presentation of the proposal.
June 1 , 2007



The Modeling Language used to describe the Future Views publishing program with position and relationships, in the page geometry, adding another layer of information.

Page FV 49:
FutureViews Notebook

This page (URL) on Abscapes was initiated in March 2002. I started with documents and studies that, at that time were nearly 20 years old. the electronic “Masthead” applications featured on this page have been additional, partial applications of the Abscape concept. Further, Abscape patterns and ideas have found there way into the layout of many of my Notebook pages. The development of Abscapes, during this period, has remained nascent in practice yet robust in my mind. And, in addition to this, there have been three further aspects of the ideas evolution in this five year period: First, the integration with the geometry and symbolism of the architectural projects has greatly progressed. This is not so much because Abscapes have developed; it is because the projects we have been given to do have become more capable of this by their inherent charge, nature and scope. Second - and this was unexpected - is the integration of the Abscape work into the main stream of my other work and the business of MG Taylor. In the beginning, as is plain in the documentation from the early 80s, Abscapes was conceived by me as something sympathetic to and philosophically aligned with my other work yet different in expression and in terms of the business aspect. This is no longer true and I consider this emergent property a delightful outcome. Third, There are now three projects which will, in themselves, push the evolution of the Abscape idea to it first level of mature expression.
The first is the FutureViews publishing program which is outlined on Page FV 49, above. You can click on the graphic is see a larger view of this page. This and the other FutureViews Notebook pages [future link] are self explanatory. The second is the Leopard Studio project which has the modeling language “built in” to the floor plan and many elements of the building. Also, the first true Abscape as part of the adjacent Dining and Conference Room. And, third... the MOMA project. These last two will be outlined on this page, below, with links to their own project pages. Therefore, in the history of this page, March 2005 to June 2007, the Abscape has moved from idea to the first examples of manifestation both as an applied technique and as a art expression in itself. This is as it should be given that the root of Abscapes is the same as the architectural, facilitation, philosophical and business expressions of my work.
The Leopard Abscape theme is based on the Coleridge poem fragment about Xanadu built by Kubla Khan. This image of a city has long haunted me [link: history of the xanadu project]. Coleridge and I go a long way back together as it was with his work that my mother taught me to read [link: my story - 1943]. “The City on the Hill” is a strong myth in Western Culture and I expect also in many other of the great cultures in our planet’s history. It is a symbol of aspiration, a sensibility surprisingly absent from today’s world. Stan’s folding WorkWall, in his Dining-Conference Room has a blank surface, when shut, on its outer panel which has been prepared for the Abscape. When the doors are shut and not in use we want the this art piece to be the dominate expression - not an utility support tools of the work process.
Part of the WorkWall can be seen on the left of the picture. This 48 by 72 inch panel will frame the Abscape which will be a mosaic-montage of woods (clear and painted), tiles, mirror, glass and canvas pieces which will tell the Xanadu story from three different levels of recursion and time frames. This three recursion story will be told in three iterations, within each recursion, employing multiple levels of thickness directly expressing the properties of an emergent process.
I will build this piece while supervising the construction of the Studio. By late summer, early fall the Studio, Dining-Conference Room (with FLlw barrel chairs) and the back yard trellis structure will be done. The Studio will be my first completed, stand alone, modern expression of my mature work, built under my supervision without compromise. The beginning - a step on the road to Xanadu which is the “end-state” of my work to make collaborative workspaces able to facilitate global transformation.
GoTo: Xanadu Abscape
IMAGINE A ROOM...” is the title of the proposed MOMA exhibit. This will be developed in three iterations if taken to its full expression as an exhibit. The first will be an enriched pod cast for MOMA illustrating the idea. The second a full Abscape multimedia show that is itself a robust rendering of the the ART of GroupGenius. This may be what is used in the show as an exhibit. The third iteration will include the first two in an environment of “Taylor” collaborative WorkFurniture and Armature populated with a broad variety of collaborative artifacts: documentations, videos, pictures, graphics and music telling the entire story of the concept from Asomof’s Foundation Series, Hesse’s Glass Bead Game, the development of Cybernetics and Systems Science to the Taylor patent (and pending) and DesignShop, NavCenter, ValueWeb practices. This ROOM will be illustrated in 3d models in the two prior iterations: the enhanced pod cast and the multimedia show.
MOMA is doing a show featuring the integration of science and art [taylor system and method outline bibliography] in support of - and as an expression of - collective genius and collaborative practices. I think it is an objective statement, that MG Taylor has the greatest experience and repository of artifacts on this subject, that can be found, and also the strongest ValueWeb of KnowledgeWorkers necessary to the production of an exhibit illustrating how environment, work tools and work processes can be integrated to support collaborative action. The apprroach outlined above, in itself, illustrates iteration and recursion principles [link: zone of emergence model] - necessary aspects of emergence - at work. It will be produced by a ValueWeb practicing GroupGenius methods. The Exibit, from beginning to end, will illustrate its own thesis. And, it will be - if taken to its full expression - be a full scale, interative, experiential Abscape.
GoTo: MOMA Proposal

These projects complete the first iteration
of the Abscape concept development

GoTo: Abscape 2

Return To: INDEX
GoTo: Story of a Masthead
Matt Taylor
Palo Alto
March 17, 2002

SolutionBox voice of this document:


posted: March 17, 2002

revised: June 1, 2007
• 20020317.194627.mt • 20030329.438129.mt •
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• 20050727.000011.mt • 20070528.678011.mt •
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(note: this document is about 90% finished)

Copyright© Matt Taylor 1984, 1987, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007

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