Imagine you are an alien.
You follow beams of diffracted light. A distant celestial object exuding white light. Thousands of Kelvins of blackbody radiation hitting thousands of fine wires.
You see those pure spectral colors. You feel their mathematically exact intensities. You squint, and you tune in on – what we call – Red. We see red beams, because there is mist and dust; your alien eyes are set on imaginary cylindrical screens. You follow the red beam, too. But you only take note when it hits your screen.
You dial up the wavelength, and you dial up the radius. Your alien brain can only hold finite data. You see the diffraction patterns change with wavelength, change with the cylinder’s radius. It’s all discretized.
And you are an alien: What is Red to us is Cyan to you, and what is Violet to us is a greenish Yellow to you. It’s all inverted.
Digital physics/math art by elkement, 2023. Diffraction patterns that would be generated by slits in diffraction gratings or by fine wires in the center of the structure. Each line in the structure is the exact mathematical representation of intensity over angle.
Colors weighted as in perfect blackbody radiation. I am replacing each color in the spectrum of visible light by its negative.
A beam of white sunlight would hit the diffraction grating, and each wavelength would be diffracted differently. Collecting the pattern on a cylinder made of paper would result in repeated rainbow-y patterns. I am showing their intensities on different cylindrical screens – red (alien cyan) on the cylinder with the largest radius, violet (alien yellow) on the smallest cylinder.
I am enjoying constraints: Mathematics based on physics, the human eye’s anatomy, and self-inflicted rules. I want to draw plain lines only, not shaded surfaces. I create the code from scratch. But even within this tightly controlled framework, unpredictability and chaos creeps in. Overlaying many lines creates sort of a fabric, and Moiré patterns emerge. The fabric has some regularity, or it looks just speckled.
There is still a vast hyperspace of options to explore: The number of the diffracting lines. Their size and their distances. The position of my alien’s eyes. The size of the cylinders for red, and for violet. The number of the steps in between. The temperature of the radiating black body. And on and on. A small change in any of these parameters can change the character of the structure completely.
I have been investigating these structures since a while, and I have applied similar methods to other structures in mathematical physics. A subset of images is presented in my gallery.
Creating Found Poetry from the first part of this post, above the image. Googling each line of mine, picking a line from on of the top pages found. No editing allowed, no going back and forth, processing one line after the other.
Imagine you are an alien.
who doesn’t have antennaes.
You follow beams of diffracted light.
as they apply to the real world.
A distant celestial object exuding white light.
they must know where to find it.
Thousands of Kelvins of blackbody radiation
shooing away a pair of pigeons
hitting thousands of fine wires.
What are the safe limits
You see those pure spectral colors.
cultural or technical
You feel their mathematically exact intensities.
not perfect but it is the closest we have
ugly turns beautiful
and you tune in on – what we call – Red.
to include virtually everyone living
We see red beams,
there are a few things we can play with
because there is mist and dust.
affecting many aspects of life
Your alien eyes are set
writhing tentacles, and eerie intelligence, tend to take on a mystical quality
on imaginary cylindrical screens.
provided with a plurality of projections
You also follow the red beam,
we’ve got you covered.
But you only take note when it hits your screen.
what makes it even more powerful
You dial up the wavelength,
consider playing the cooperative game
and you dial up the radius.
the user is validated, the connection is allowed
Your alien brain can only hold finite data.
a neural pattern that represents my happiness
You see the diffraction patterns change with wavelength
substance occupies the space on either side
change with the cylinder’s radius.
After a brief turbulence
It’s all discretized.
assuming zero-order hold
And you are an alien:
sent to Earth to observe the life forms here
What is Red to us is Cyan to you,
seen holding or bathing in stars
and what is Violet to us is a greenish Yellow to you.
colors appear to recede or go away
It’s all inverted
Good for you