Visual Inspiration

Usually I am excited by words and concepts.  I am a lifelong bookworm, so I’m obsessed with black marks on white backgrounds.  Living in my head is my constant way of life, thinking wordy thoughts, even to the point of neglecting the colorful details of the external world around me.  But during the day I’m often startled by something visual that inspires me.  I love looking at the trees outside my window, which sets just above my computer monitor that I am typing at now.  I have two windows, the one looking into the internet and the other out onto the world.  The world is full of color, but because of my neglect of noticing it, I’m all the more moved by art.  And maybe, I prefer seeing reality though art rather than viewing reality directly. 

I love catching something visually fascinating as I drive to work each day – the structure of a church steeple, the outline of tree branches against the sky, the way shadows and glare affect my sight.  I wish I could turn what I see into art. I wish I was the kind of guy that hiked in nature and captured it artistically.  Because I spend so much time indoors, most of my visual stimulation comes from the computer screen or the television.

Every once in a while I see art that blows my mind, and generates a flood of thoughts.  The other day I found this computer animation that set my neurons on fire.

Be sure and play this in full screen mode at the highest resolution your computer can handle.  I’ve watched it many times now and it just gets better and better.  This visuals makes me think of mathematics and musical harmony.  This video is like seeing music.  This video is like seeing mathematics as if math wasn’t an abstraction of nature.  “Oscillate” was created by Daniel Sierra for his MFA Computer Art thesis, and you can see more about this work here.

What I find so inspiring about “Oscillate” is that it’s a visual abstraction that makes me see science.  All paintings, no matter how realistic, are an abstraction, in the same way that words and concepts are an abstraction about reality.  Art mimics the world.  “Oscillate” mimics abstract thoughts.  Daniel Sierra imagined seeing animated sine waves much like how classical Greeks imagined mathematics, but instead of putting his thoughts into words, he created a computer animation.

On one hand this video is like abstract art, it doesn’t look like the real world.  But I see it as a realistic painting of an actual abstraction in the real world.

JWH – 6/26/13

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