Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Visualization: Changing Perspective

I give some perspective on "image use and artistic expression." But such journeys are not limited to the "ideas of a book" or "a painting" in some form of geometric code.

Some will remember Salvador Dali picture I posted. I thought it okay, to see beyond with words, or how one might see a painting and it's contribution to thoughts. Thoughts about a higher dimensional world that is being explained in ways, that we do not generally think about.

So while it is not mysterious, there is some thought given to the ideas of moving within non-euclidean realms. In the one hand, "discrete forms" have us look at how such a model in terms of quantum gravity is built, and these images and paintings, accordingly?

Arthur Miller
Miller has since moved away from conventional history of science, having become interested in visual imagery through reading the German-language papers of Einstein, Heisenberg and Schrödinger - "people who were concerned with visualization and visualizability". Philosophy was an integral part of the German school system in the early 1900s, Miller explains, and German school pupils were thoroughly trained in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

Click on image for a larger view

On page 65 of Hyperspace by Michio Kaku, he writes, "Picasso's paintings are a splendid example, showing a clear rejection of the perspective, with woman's faces viewed from several angles. Instead of a single point of view, Picasso's paintings show multiple perspectives, as though they were painted by someone from the fourth dimension, able to see all perspectives simultaneous

Talk of the Nation, August 20, 2004 · How did Leonardo da Vinci use math to influence the way we see the Mona Lisa? And how does our visual system affect our perception of that, and other, works of art? A look at math, biology and the science of viewing art.

This idea of dimension seemed an appropriate response to what I see in the Monte Carlo effect. I mean here we are trying to dewscibe what dimenison might mean in terms of a gravity issue. Is there any relevance?

What are Surfaces and Membranes?

Surfaces are everywhere: the computer screen in front of you has a smooth surface; we walk on the surface of the earth; and people have even walked on the surface of the moon.

By surface we mean something 2 dimensional (*). Clearly objects like a coffee cup or a pencil are 3 dimensional but their edges - their surfaces - are 2 dimensional. We can put this another way by seeing that the surface has no thickness - it is just the places where the coffee cup ends and the air or coffee begins.

Surfaces can be flat, like a table top, or curved like the surface of a football, a balloon or a soap bubble. The surface of water can be either flat without ripples, or curved when it has ripples or waves on it.

We use the word membrane to mean a sheet-like 2 dimensional object, an object with area but very little or no thickness. Good examples are sheets of paper or a piece of plastic food wrap. Just like surfaces, membranes can be flat or curved; rough or smooth.

Quantum Gravity Simulation

P. Picasso
Portrait of Ambrose Vollard (1910)
M. Duchamp
Nude Descending a Staircase, No. 2 (1912)
J. Metzinger
Le Gouter/Teatime (1911)

The appearance of figures in cubist art --- which are often viewed from several direction simultaneously --- has been linked to ideas concerning extra dimensions:


Cubist Art: Picasso's painting 'Portrait of Dora Maar'

Cubist art revolted against the restrictions that perspective imposed. Picasso's art shows a clear rejection of the perspective, with women's faces viewed simultaneously from several angles. Picasso's paintings show multiple perspectives, as though they were painted by someone from the 4th dimension, able to see all perspectives simultaneously.

Art Mirrors Physics Mirrors Art, by Stephen G. Brush

The French mathematician Henri Poincaré provided inspiration for both Einstein and Picasso. Einstein read Poincaré's Science and Hypothesis (French edition 1902, German translation 1904) and discussed it with his friends in Bern. He might also have read Poincaré's 1898 article on the measurement of time, in which the synchronization of clocks was discussed--a topic of professional interest to Einstein as a patent examiner. Picasso learned about Science and Hypothesis indirectly through Maurice Princet, an insurance actuary who explained the new geometry to Picasso and his friends in Paris. At that time there was considerable popular fascination with the idea of a fourth spatial dimension, thought by some to be the home of spirits, conceived by others as an "astral plane" where one can see all sides of an object at once. The British novelist H. G. Wells caused a sensation with his book The Time Machine (1895, French translation in a popular magazine 1898-99), where the fourth dimension was time, not space.

Piece Depicts the Cycle of Birth, Life, and Death-Origin, Indentity, and Destiny by Gabriele Veneziano

The Myth of the Beginning of Time

The new willingness to consider what might have happened before the big bang is the latest swing of an intellectual pendulum that has rocked back and forth for millenia. In one form or another, the issue of the ultimate beginning has engaged philosophers and theologians in nearly every culture. It is entwined with a grand set of concerns, one famously encapsulated in a 1897 painting by Paul Gauguin: D'ou venons? Que sommes-nous? Ou allons-nous? Scientific America, The Time before Time, May 2004

Sister Wendy's American Masterpieces"

"This is Gauguin's ultimate masterpiece - if all the Gauguins in the world, except one, were to be evaporated (perish the thought!), this would be the one to preserve. He claimed that he did not think of the long title until the work was finished, but he is known to have been creative with the truth. The picture is so superbly organized into three "scoops" - a circle to right and to left, and a great oval in the center - that I cannot but believe he had his questions in mind from the start. I am often tempted to forget that these are questions, and to think that he is suggesting answers, but there are no answers here; there are three fundamental questions, posed visually.

"On the right (Where do we come from?), we see the baby, and three young women - those who are closest to that eternal mystery. In the center, Gauguin meditates on what we are. Here are two women, talking about destiny (or so he described them), a man looking puzzled and half-aggressive, and in the middle, a youth plucking the fruit of experience. This has nothing to do, I feel sure, with the Garden of Eden; it is humanity's innocent and natural desire to live and to search for more life. A child eats the fruit, overlooked by the remote presence of an idol - emblem of our need for the spiritual. There are women (one mysteriously curled up into a shell), and there are animals with whom we share the world: a goat, a cat, and kittens. In the final section (Where are we going?), a beautiful young woman broods, and an old woman prepares to die. Her pallor and gray hair tell us so, but the message is underscored by the presence of a strange white bird. I once described it as "a mutated puffin," and I do not think I can do better. It is Gauguin's symbol of the afterlife, of the unknown (just as the dog, on the far right, is his symbol of himself).

"All this is set in a paradise of tropical beauty: the Tahiti of sunlight, freedom, and color that Gauguin left everything to find. A little river runs through the woods, and behind it is a great slash of brilliant blue sea, with the misty mountains of another island rising beyond Gauguin wanted to make it absolutely clear that this picture was his testament. He seems to have concocted a story that, being ill and unappreciated (that part was true enough), he determined on suicide - the great refusal. He wrote to a friend, describing his journey into the mountains with arsenic. Then he found himself still alive, and returned to paint more masterworks. It is sad that so great an artist felt he needed to manufacture a ploy to get people to appreciate his work. I wish he could see us now, looking with awe at this supreme painting.

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