Primal Generative: Form Constants & Entoptic Geometry

Subjective_visual_phenomena_-Johann_PurkinjeSubjective Visual Phenomena – Johann Purkinje [From Beiträge zur Kenntniss des Sehens in subjectiver Hinsicht, 1819]

The most primal generative visual experiences may be ones created by the visual cortex alone, or ones involving the visual cortex in close collaboration with entheogenic triggers or external psycho-visual simulate, such as stroboscopic lighting. Precursory research material includes Johann Purkinje’s investigations into subjective visual phenomena in Experiments on the Physiology of the Senses and Heinrich Klüver’s later extrapolation of the four groups of entoptic visual phenomena he called Form Constants. The four groups, lattices, cobwebs, tunnels, and spirals, where annotated by Klüver while studying the effects of mescaline.

A recent paper by Tom Froese and others explores the role of Turing instabilities in the generation of spatio-temporal patterns in the disinhibited visual system and its relationship to the prevalence of certain geometric patterns.

‘One of the originally proposed mechanisms for geometric hallucinations is that of a neural Turing mechanism, embodied in the Wilson–Cowan equations [1973] [..] For example, action potential propagation along a neuron’s axon can be directly described by reaction–diffusion equations, and reaction–diffusion equations are analogical to the Wilson–Cowan neural network equations (H. R. Wilson, 1999, pp. 267–268). We can think of the reaction component as the interactions between neuronal cells, and of the diffusion component as the spread of neural activity through local synaptic connections. Similarly, the local structure of neural interconnectivity dictates the type of emergent phenomena that can be produced. Neural network models of geometric hallucinations have gradually incorporated these empirical insights from neural anatomy and physiology, including the spatial arrangement of different neuronal cell types.’

FormConstantsHeinrich Klüver’s Form Constants

The paper goes on to say:

‘A striking feature that differentiates geometric hallucinations from other visual experiences is that they are generated intrinsically when the subject has been decoupled from its environment. The patterns form irrespective of our lifetime learned memories. Indeed, they could be considered internally directed perceptual experiences, since if the proposed models hold true, they are directly formed from the actual biological structure of the visual system. We are said to have a strange subjective experience of looking into oneself, where the patterns we see directly expose the underlying operation of our brains.’

The hyper-chromatic geologies found in the generative work of John Mccabe, who uses Turing instability equations, certainly hints at psychedelic topologies that can be created by these kinds of mathematical exchanges. Its a tidy thesis to suggest that visual representations, of this kind, are isomorphic to the processes involved. When Tim Leary compared psychedelics, in a sense, to the microscope, perhaps it was not entirely metaphorical. If these models are correct the psychotropic vision is a snapshot of the visual cortex looking at itself and looking at its own neural processes – mimicking recursive loops, and algorithms, in order to plot and sketch form constants on its own display.

In The Signs of All Times: Entoptic Phenomena in Upper Palaeolithic Art Lewis-Williams and Dowson explore evidence of motifs and compositions derived from entoptic phenomena in prehistoric art. The earliest humans may have ascribed enough relevance to entoptic visualisations to begin the journey into pictorial representation and subsequently writing.

Further Readings:

Turing instabilities in biology, culture and consciousness on the enactive origins of symbolic material culture – Tom Froese

Purkinje’s Vision: The Dawning of Neuroscience – Nicholas J. Wade and Josef Brožek [PDF]

Mechanisms of Hallucinations – Heinrich Klüver

What Geometric Visual Hallucinations Tell us About the Visual Cortex – Paul Bressloff and Jack Cowan

Aesthetics Beyond the Phenomenal: Tony Conrad’s THE FLICKER

Previously at Dataisnature:

Kyuha Shim – Spherical Form Constants & Syllabic Constructs

Form Constants – Wendy Collin Sorin

The Generative Song & Sound Pattern Matrixes of the Shipibo Indians

Mind Expanders – Haus-Rucker-Co

One Response to “Primal Generative: Form Constants & Entoptic Geometry”

  1. runeB writes:

    thanks, this was great reading!

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Descriptive Illustrated Catalogue of the Sixty-Eight Competitive Designs for the Great Tower for London – Fred. C. Lynde [1890]

great tower for London

While many of the entries to a completion to design a new tower for London, in 1890, appear as poor copies of the Eiffel Tower, other proposals transcend the architectural traditions and clichés of the time. Futurist monoliths and space-conquering rockets wait alongside Babelesque towers and medieval obelisks preparing for lift-off. The catalogue documents a structure with ‘a captive parachute to hold four persons’, a tower with a spiral railway climbing its exterior, a 1/12-scale model of the ‘Great Pyramid of Giza envisioned as a colony of aerial vegetarians, who would grow their own food in hanging gardens’. The fusion of styles generate anachronistic hybrids which look both forwards and backwards in time, many will be recognisable to those who have pondered the cities described by Calvino or Lovecraft.

great tower for London

great tower for London

great tower for London

great tower for London

great tower for London

great tower for London

great tower for London

great tower for London

Related:
Yuri Avvakumov – Agitarch Structures: Reconfiguring Utopia
The Spatio-Lumino-Chronodynamic Towers & Sculptures of Nicolas Schöffer

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Dataisnature – Facebook Stream [Readings]

The Time Machine - Lawrence LekScore for Music for Electric Metronome – Ichiyanagi Toshi. From An Anthology of Chance Operations edited by La Monte Young, Jackson Mac Law [1961]

The Dataisnature Facebook stream includes related supplementary material not included at this blog alongside links to new Dataisnature posts. There are regularly updated references to online documents, journals and papers in PDF format and links to items covering earth processes, cartography, musical notation and early geometry manuscripts, among many others.

Here is a selection of a few of the reading materials collected at the Facebook stream so far, all by way of the excellent, and essential, Monoskop Log:

The Writing of Stones – Roger Caillois [PDF]. Classic work on lithic scrying & stone pareidolia.

Purkinje’s Vision: The Dawning of Neuroscience – Nicholas J. Wade and Josef Brožek [PDF]. Explores the work of Johann Purkinje’s and his studies of visual perception [Pressure Figures, Galvanic Light Phenomena, Ganzfeld Effects, Light Halos, Afterimages, Visual Persistence and Entoptic Phenomena]

Notations, edited and compiled by John Cage [PDF]. This well-known book is made up of a large collection of graphical scores with text by 269 composers presented in alphabetical order.

An Anthology of Chance Operations edited by La Monte Young, Jackson Mac Law [PDF]. Explores chance operations, indeterminacy improvisation and includes diagrams and scores.

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Lawrence Lek – The Time Machine

The Time Machine - Lawrence LekThe Time Machine – Lawrence Lek

Shortened fragment of an item originally written for Neural Magazine [Issue 46]

In 1893 the French symbolist and proto-science fiction writer Alfred Jarry proposed the term Pataphysics in his novel Dr Faustroll to describe a kind of speculative scientific enquiry, beyond metaphysics, enhanced by a surrealist predilection for absurdity. In 1899 Jarry published an article ‘How to Construct a Time Machine’ in which he describes, and provides detailed specifications, for the construction of such a machine made from Quartz ribbons, copper and ebony gyrostats, electric motors and magnets.

The Time Machine - Lawrence LekThe Time Machine – Lawrence Lek

Lawrence Lek, a speculative sculptor based in London, has created a kinetic device based on Jarry’s descriptions with freely moving gyroscopic parts in accordance with Jarry’s recipe. Video documentation of the piece overlays footage of the machine in motion with detailed blueprints of the sculpture itself. A narration describes both the construction of the device and instructions for its use for the purpose of moving backwards and forwards through time. Filmed, and post-produced, in strong contrasting black and white with aged-film blurring, accented with dramatic shadows, Lek has created a fictitious simulation of scientific documentation. The shadow play, compositional techniques, use of montage is reminiscent of the films that László Moholy-Nagy made of his Light Space Modulator in the early 1930’s. The strobing choreography of machine parts and dynamic light-play creates a mesmerising perceptual effect, transfixing temporality, in order to slow, or indeed, speed up time.

Previously at Dataisnature:
The Spatio-Lumino-Chronodynamic Towers & Sculptures of Nicolas Schöffer
Light Space Modulator – László Moholy-Nagy
Patabotany #1: [At the Libarynth]

Alfred Jarry texts:
The Exploits and Opinions of Dr Faustroll [PDF]
How to Construct a Time Machine [PDF]

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Selected Tweets #20: Voxel Accretions, Logic Crystals & the Algorithmic Origins of Life

Nerve_Cells_CajalNerve Cells – Ramón y Cajal at Wunderkammer

Selected tweets from my Twitter stream: MrPrudence

RockGrowth RG5 & RockGrowth RG8 – Arik Levy. Polished mirror crystal sculptures.

Hagströmerbibliotekets Wunderkammer library of Medico-Historical illustrations. Botanical, Anatomical & Biological woodcuts, lithographs & prints.

Fluid simulation with pseudo Turing reaction diffusion [WebGL] – Felix Woitzel.

Accretor – Driessens & Verstappen. Accretion of small cubical voxels to generate 3D printed sculptures.

Game Of Life Extrusions – Paul Slocum. Baroque Lego-like constructions generated from Cellular Automata algorithms.

Taking Measures Across the American Landscape – James Corner & Alex Mclean. Map drawings & aerial schematics.

Creating Civilizations – Robert Strati. Architectural/mathematical/notational schematic fictions.

taking-measures-across-the-american-landscape-by-james-corner-and-alex-mcleanTaking Measures Across the American Landscape – James Corner & Alex Mclean

Readings

The Algorithmic Origins of Life – Walker & Davies [PDF]. On transitional DNA info systems as catalyst to emergence of life.

Fractal Cities: Geometry of Form/Function – Batty & Longley [PDF]. Urban self-similar morphologies.

Ars Combinatoria – Janet Zwelig. Mystical Systems, Procedural Art and the Computer.

Crystal Clear: Christine Wertheim interviews Shea Zellweger on logic alphabets & the crystallography of logic.

Ten Questions Concerning Generative Computer Art – Jon McCormack, Oliver Bown, Alan Dorin, Jonathan McCabe, Gordon Monro & Mitchell Whitelaw [PDF]. What’s it like to be a computer that makes art?

RockGrowth_RG5_Arik_LevyRockGrowth RG5 – Arik Levy

Minimal Surfaces as Self Organizing Systems – Vlad Tenu [PDF] Particle surfaces & tensegrity structures.

The Stone As A Witness Of Time – Rohip Gupta. ‘The etched memory of every single diurnal rotation of the planet’

Anthology of Chance Operations (1963) [PDF]. Chance operations, indeterminacy improvisation, diagrams and scores.

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Ingrid Graz – Fluvial Terrains of Amorphous Carbon

 Amorphous Carbon
SEM photograph of amorphous carbon – Ingrid Graz

Ingrid Graz’s SEM photographs of amorphous carbon (diamond-like carbon) deposited on glass reveal microscopic fluvial forms suggesting earth-like geomorphologies. Folds and and mounds are created by the contraction of these elastomeric substrates at different rates due to temperature and pressure constraints. Additional micro-landforms are generated by particulate accretions.

Amorphous Carbon
SEM photograph of amorphous carbon – Ingrid Graz

Amorphous Carbon
SEM photograph of amorphous carbon – Ingrid Graz

Ingrid’s images of PDMS (Polydimethylsiloxane), a elastomeric polymer, taken with an optical microscope suggest the lenses of her microscope have been modified and pointed towards the sky. The Laplacian filtered image below reveals the remnants of a distant astronomical body, perhaps sunlight reflected from the dust of an expanding comet, many of which contain amorphous carbon, as it approaches the Sun.

PDMS of Gold
Optical Microscope Image of PDMS of Gold – Ingrid Graz

PDMS of Gold
Optical Microscope Image of PDMS of Gold – Ingrid Graz

PDMS of Gold
Optical Microscope Image of PDMS of Gold – Ingrid Graz

PDMS of Gold
Optical Microscope Image of PDMS of Gold – Ingrid Graz

Related:

The Uncritical Solitonic Undulations of Barchan Sand Dunes
The Slot Valleys of Antelope Canyon as a Hydro-Dynamic Computation
Pathological Geomorphology | Extreme, Excessive & Bizarre Landforms

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Jonathan McCabe – Instability Landscapes

Jonathan McCabe
20130529A – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe’s work specialises in the use of Alan Turing’s reaction diffusion equations to generate rich textural morphologies and dense landscape agglomerations. His recent work combines mutli-scale Turing instability, which generates the well known Turing patterns of spots and stripes, with fluid flow algorithms so that coloured areas predispose themselves to specific kinds flow. The smearing and mixing of patterns at different scales generates hyper saturated recursive colourations and shadows that together form lush expansive, and psychedelic, landscapes.

Jonathan McCabe
20130529B – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20130529U – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20130529H – Jonathan McCabe

That reaction diffusion patterns have been used to model natural forms in the name of algorithmic botany and biology is well noted. McCabe’s coloured compositions extend this kind of simulation into the realms of the poetic fantasy without removing the hard-edged diffusion artefacts. Think of Greg Egan’s artificial life simulator, the Autoverse, or the ‘Garden of Eden’ configuration, both revealed in his pan-computational fiction Permutation City. The latter is an infinitely-expanding, massively complex cellular automaton universe notably based on a fictional, Turing-complete cellular automaton known as TVC (“Turing/Von Neumann/Chiang”). McCabe’s lavas and rivulets fractalize through swirling mountain ranges to melt bifurcating icebergs into activator-inhibitor streams. The end result is refreshingly painterly for a such an overt computational process.

Jonathan McCabe
20130529J – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20130529N – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20130529Y – Jonathan McCabe

Monochromatic works, in a similar vein, reveal a deeper connection to the geological world. Self-similar desert topologies coalesce into geometric deposition structures. Stalagmites and stalactites imbue hypogean caves with filigree patterns. Part-bone part-plant systems infiltrate space to create ornamental geopathological lithographies.

Jonathan McCabe
20131130C – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20131203A – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20131203M – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe
20131203N – Jonathan McCabe

Jonathan McCabe previously at Dataisnature:

Jonathan McCabe – Biological Mandalas
Nervous States & Thunderbolt Pagodas

Related Posts:

Hypogean Wildstyle: Dominik Strzelec’s Byzantine Geology
Maj Plemnitas – Linkscale Thesis
aDiatomea – Sonically Superformed Micro-organisms

One Response to “Jonathan McCabe – Instability Landscapes”

  1. LS writes:

    Love Jonathan’s work!

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John A. Hiigli – Layering the Isotropic Vector Matrix

Cr_176_THREE_CUBE_OCTAHEDRONS_(FRONT) – John A. HiigliCr 176 Three Cube Octahedrons (Front) – John A. Hiigli

John A. Hiigli’s transparent pigment paintings and drawings combine aspects of transformation geometry, tessellation and subdivsioning systems. After discovering the work of Buckminster Fuller in the late 1960′s, and studying Fuller’s Geodesics and Synergetics, Hiigli has refined a body of work in which, typically, tetrahedral or polyhedral units are combined and layered to create dense lattices and translucent three-dimensional structures.

Cr_175_THREE_CUBE_OCTAHEDRONS_(side) – John A. HiigliCr 175 Three Cube Octahedrons (Side) – John A. Hiigli

Cr_194_CUBE_OCTAHEDRONS – John A. HiigliCr 194 Cube Octahedrons – John A. Hiigli

Many of Hiigli’s paintings model Buckminster Fuller’s Isotropic Vector Matrix – a skeletal framework and alternative to the standard xyz system, defined by cubic closest packed spheres, alternatively known as the face-centered cubic lattice to crystallographers. The spatial system of Isotropic Vector Matrix essentially translates to a geometry of least resistance.

CR56 – John A. HiigliCR56 – John A. Hiigli

CR50 – John A. HiigliCR50 – John A. Hiigli

CR143 – John A. HiigliCR143 – John A. Hiigli

‘When the centers of equiradius spheres in closest packing are joined by most economical lines, an isotropic vector matrix is disclosed. This matrix constitutes an array of equilateral triangles that corresponds with the comprehensive coordination of nature’s most economical, most comfortable, structural interrelationships. Remove the spheres and leave the vectors, and you have the octahedron-tetrahedron complex, the octet truss, the isotropic vector matrix’ – Buckminster Fuller.

VIRUS_XIX – John A. HiigliVirus XIX – John A. Hiigli

Cr_185_KALEIDOSCOPE – John A. HiigliCr 185 Kaleidoscope – John A. Hiigli

CR39 – John A. HiigliCR39 – John A. Hiigli

‘In complex constructions, increasing numbers of polyhedrons have a common nucleus embedded in a vector matrix. A large structure is embedded with a smaller structure, which encloses a smaller third structure, and so on. This decreasing volumetric relationship (‘change of scale’) of the structures produces the illusion of depth in space’ – John A. Hiigli

Related Post:
Drop City – Colonizing consciousness with abodes of Truncated Icosorhombic Dodecahedra

Further Readings:
Synergetics – Buckmister Fuller

One Response to “John A. Hiigli – Layering the Isotropic Vector Matrix”

  1. Charline Lancel writes:

    This image is vectorial or matrix, can it be both at the same time?
    http://www.imedias.pro/cours-en-ligne/graphisme-design/definition-resolution-taille-image/les-images-vectorielles-matricielles/

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Victory Over the Sun – El Lissitzky’s Drawings for Suprematist Automatons

Victory Over The Sun [Poster] - El LissitzkyVictory Over The Sun [Poster] – El Lissitzky

‘Every form is the frozen instantaneous picture of a process. Thus a work is a stopping-place on the road of becoming and not the fixed goal’ – El Lissitzky, Texts 1920-1923

El Lissitzky created his series of architectonic figures after seeing a production of Victory Over the Sun, the futuristic Russian opera with music by Mikhail Matyushin and costumes/stage designed by Kasimir Malevich. Premièred in St. Petersberg in 1913, the opera’s libretto was written by radical sound poet Aleksei Kruchenykh in the linguistically experimental and symbolic Zaum language. Paired up with Malevich’s set design and costumes, this pro-technological phonosemantic opera inspired Lissitzky to recreate figures of the opera’s main protagonists as suprematist automatons. A portfolio of ten large colour lithographs showing the main characters was published in Hanover in 1923. Lissitzky’s ultimate vision was to recast the opera as an electromechanical show with mechanical puppets. Much like his Proun (Project for the Affirmation of the New) series affirm the possibility of new utopian architectural forms, without explicit plans for their construction, his ‘Victory’ drawings imply the geometrical choreographies of constructivist automatons for the coming utopian machine age. The movements of figures are suggested by using shifting axes, multiple perspectives and directional signifiers. Lissitzky’s lyrical sense of humour is not withstanding whilst dealing with the tensions between pure abstraction, narration and representation.

New Man - El LissitzkyNew Man – El Lissitzky

The Announcer - El LissitzkyThe Announcer – El Lissitzky

Postman - El LissitzkyPostman – El Lissitzky

Anxious People - El LissitzkyAnxious People – El Lissitzky

Globetrotter (In-Time) - El LissitzkyGlobetrotter (In-Time) – El Lissitzky

Troublemaker - El LissitzkyTroublemaker – El Lissitzky

Old Man - El LissitzkyOld Man – El Lissitzky

Gravediggers - El LissitzkyGravediggers – El Lissitzky

Related:

The Architectural Fantasies of Iakov Chernikhov
Yuri Avvakumov – Agitarch Structures: Reconfiguring Utopia

Further Links:

Zaum and Sun: The ‘first Futurist opera’ revisited
The Historical Context of El Lissitzky – Dr. John Milner
El Lissitzky on Pinterest

One Response to “Victory Over the Sun – El Lissitzky’s Drawings for Suprematist Automatons”

  1. Dataisnature writes:

    Coincidentally:

    Utopia LTD at GRAD in London presents an exhibition of Soviet avant-garde artwork reconstructed by Henry Milner. It includes works by El Lissitzky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, Vladimir Tatlin and Gustavs Klucis.

    There are 4 models of El Lissitzky’s ‘Victory’ figures:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/transphormetic/tags/lissitsky/

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Paul Sharits: Declarative Mode [Against the Tyranny of Preconception]

Declarative Mode – Paul SharitsScore for Declarative Mode 6C – Paul Sharits

Paul Shartis’s scores for his film Declarative Mode, made in 1976-77, consist of coloured ink marks on graph paper, notating shifts between pure colour tones during frame transitions. Sequences of frame flicker, containing saturated hues, are reduced to tessellations of symmetry breaking motifs resembling fluid flow diagrams and lattice structures.

The film, itself, consists of two identical prints projected simultaneously, with one overlayed inside the other, and slightly out of sync, creating a non predictable and dynamic interplay between patterns. In this sense Sharits creates a bandwidth of partially deterministic possibility – there is some degree of randomness between predefined limits.

Declarative Mode – Paul SharitsScore for Declarative Mode 6B – Paul Sharits

Although known for his work as a structural film maker Sharits maintained that Declarative Mode was a ‘non-structural film and is narrative like, even while it contains much flicker. One cannot predict the scene by scene fabric, nor is there an overall unifying principle. The film attempts to be like-life full of unexpected twists and turns. It is an homage to Jefferson’s anti-slavery section of the Declaration of Independence and it is my declaration of independence from the tyranny of preconception, of working from an overall structure of structural logic’

Declarative Mode – Paul SharitsScore for Declarative Mode 3A – Paul Sharits

In Declarative Mode we see only a visual structure that gradually moves ‘from a measured poise towards an ecstatic level of colour-light pulsation (ending in micro-oscillations around 5 cycles per second, which is at the primary fade-wave cycle possible in sound speed 16mm film and is also a rhythm associated with certain neuron pulses during expansive, inspirational states of consciousness)’ – Paul Shartis in Stuart Leibman’s monograph [PDF]

Declarative Mode – Paul SharitsScore for Declarative Mode 3C – Paul Sharits

According to Anthony Bannon, ‘Sharits creates new hues not actually present upon the film through their co-temporal blending and through after-image retention. It’s a a complex phenomenon that yields sublime transitions across a spectral range, while the inner frame pulses with illusionistic movement as the hues change from warm to cool’

Declarative Mode – Paul SharitsUntitled, Undated – Paul Sharits [Colored drawing 60 x 60 x 40cm]

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