The Mathematics of Perception


The Mathematics of Perception

32/666 minted

open marketplace

Project #16241

Published on July 11, 2022 at 17:14

This system, called The Mathematics of Perception, emerged from a series of thought experiments. Our xemantic collective applies philosophy to facts about the world. The physics behind sensory experience is already deeply researched. But what makes certain experiences evoke certain feelings and affectionate states in the broader sense? I want to evoke emotions with algorithms. This research is needed for bigger immersive installations, using certain aesthetics for telling various narratives. However I am not a video artist, I don't cut and transform existing frames. I synthesize them with equations. The process can be described as sculpting in light and time with math.

Generating video-experience, which is perceptually pleasant, usually involves 3D modeling. There is no 3D per se involved in this system, not even so called ray marching. It represents an optical illusion of infinitive space coded as a single GLSL fragment shader.

It started with a sketch - how to show an unlimited grid of lights, overlapping each other in perspective and movement.

Then I added depth of field simulation, to blur the light discs depending on perceived distance. Usually generating things "out of focus" is surprisingly expensive to compute. Here simplicity of mathematical analytic formula came very handy without extra cost.

After depth of field, the simulation of connected chromatic aberration followed. This alone is the actual source of color in this system.

By accident I discovered that I can also introduce simulated refractions. It's hard to believe how much this simple addition improved the experience. The "refraction" is not fully following the physics of perception. It is "impossible" on purpose, still believable optical illusion. If you feel oniric and escheresque, probably it's thanks to this single line of code.

The waves are important as well. Usually I use trigonometric functions for expressing motion. They have this ability of producing oscillation cycles we observe everywhere in the physical world. From rocking in our cradles, later observing branches of a tree when the wind blows, through experience of music, which is unconscious perception of ratios between waves, we relate to this kind of swinging movement. This is how we dance.

Each minted variant of this system will have different base parameters and motion, providing similar, but unique experience. I hope that due to differences, each of them might evoke slightly different emotions. Therefore this drop is to please your senses, but also to continue with our experiment. After minting each variant please write us back how you feel out it.

Kazik Pogoda
the mother of xemantic