Sunday, January 15, 2017

Looking for Visual Primitives

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No such thing as only one

In a world such as ours, a world of quantum wave/particle fields, there is no such thing as one of anything. This insight came to me in the bath. I watched a single droplet hit the surface of the water and emanate concentric peaks and troughs outward. Then I imagined this in three dimensions. In that moment, I realized that our understanding of every object is contained within its own three-dimensional sphere of transformations.

On the left is a graphic I created to try to show how our concept of a circle (as shown in the center), includes every size and transformation from the centre to the periphery, every point within the sphere, until it becomes so small at the edged that it extinguishes into nothing. This also shows how we may very well create an 'anchor pattern', as shown in the centre, as a prototypical symbol, and use this as our mental reference, and also as a shared symbol for language.

This idea also explains how we can "know" or understand a that a distorted circle, or one that is larger or smaller than our anchor pattern, is ALSO recognized as a circle.

I would call this transformation sphere, with an anchor pattern, a CONCEPT.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

(The Latest) Oldest Map Ever

From Turkey, Catelhoyuk, 8,500 years old.

Michael Marshall at New Scientist explains that archaeologists had know for years about a mural created 8,500 years ago in Turkey, but that new research is suggesting that the painting is both a depiction of a volcanic eruption and a map. In a paper published recently in PLoS ONE, archaeologist Axel Schmitt argues that the series of dots on stone “depicts an explosive summit eruption of the Hasan Dağı twin-peaks volcano located ~130 km northeast of Çatalhöyük, and a birds-eye view of a town plan in the foreground.”

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Language as a Front Runner

Bird call waveform pattern

morse code
ogham pattern
ogham pattern on a Celtic ring
In some recent research, I was surprised to discover that language evolved before the depiction of graphic symbols. For some reason, I'd always thought that graphical symbols came first, or at least -- in tandem with spoken language. Someone asked me, "How do they know that spoken language came first?" I had to reply that I didn't know yet why this was 'known'.

But, if language did come first, and graphical depictions second, this would imply one of two things: 1) graphical depictions were initially linear, because language is a linear form (OR) graphical depictions developed adjacent to or in parallel with the development of language.

Because not too much research has yet been done to decipher the pictures of the Middle to Upper Paleolithic period regarding the meaning of patterns, this era of cognitive history is still mysterious and filled with unanswered questions.

What I came across today is fascinating, though, moving on the language first, linear depiction first theory. What does an early Celtic language comprised of lines, read right to left, called ogham, and a bird call and morse code all have in common? Each has a linear sequence, depicted as a simple representational pattern. Each has 'on' and 'off' elements. Acoustic patterns require a temporal interval to convey the on/off sequence. A visual pattern represents on/off with proximity and spatial position. The spaces between the lines of the ogham pattern are like the spaces seen in the birdcall waveform pattern and in the morse code alphabet. Take a look for yourself.

It makes me wonder if perhaps bird calls were the initial inspiration for humans to attempt language.

Jennifer Bartlett - Painter

In the early 1980s, while working on my fine arts degree, and for some reasons I wouldn't understand until much later in my life, I became mesmerized by the art of Jennifer Bartlett. I saw her first series of paintings, "In the Garden", featured in a printed arts magazine. Her work was strangely fascinating. The colours, the impressionistic strokes, the play of light dancing across the landscape and that mysteriously-empty fountain with the cherub statue, painted again and again from so many different angles and perspectives. What did it mean? What was she trying to tell us? My curiosity about her work surprised me. Usually, I found contemporary art pieces rather boring and obvious, as simplistic reflections of modern life. I was already experiencing modern reality first-hand. I could see it all around me. And feel it. Why would I ever want to examine a crafted substitute?

Until recently, I hadn't thought about Jennifer Bartlett's work for years. But with renewed interest (and the help of Google) I discovered that one of her recent exhibits involves painting maps. She started out as a map maker. In her work I think there are elements that hint at what I believe may be 'first principles' of perception and cognition. Fundamental clues about how we see and understand the world. Timeless.

In the words of critic Maurice Berger, Bartlett’s art “juxtaposes the raw and the cooked, examining the way the world is filtered through the human mind and is encoded into cultural conventions or sign systems.”

Jennifer Bartlett Fibonacci 1-987, 2010 enamel over silkscreen grid on baked enamel, steel plates 63" x 63" (160 cm x 160 cm), overall installed (

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our Minds Understand Arrangements as Singular Entities

Our minds understand arrangements - literally, a range of variants as a single object. We know and accept that within a certain bounded range of possibilities, certain transformations are possible and acceptable for a shape. For example, a circle retains its identity to us even across a range of transformations. Escher understood this and demonstrated it in his artwork time and again. Any shape or form can exist and still retain its identity to us within a bounded range of possible transformations if strongly anchored around a core prototype shape or form. What we understand to be ONE object, one shape, one form, is actually a quantum field of variants surrounding a core prototype, an exemplar.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The arrangement of physical matter is driven by the requirement to conserve energy, to maintain a state that costs the least amount of energy.

The patterns in nature that we resonate to - that are "pleasing" to us, may very well be optimized arrangements of physical matter with ideal energy configurations.

Geometric structures may perhaps be optimal configurations for the distribution of energy and matter that do not ever actually exist exactly in nature.

Mental structures, too, may follow energy conservation principles.

Energy conservation in a physical world of patterned matter.
Nature is efficient.