Math and the Arts
The computer revolution was crucial for science, but for math it was more the computer graphic revolution that opened new branches, as math became visible. It was in 1974 that my university, UC Santa Cruz, obtained its first computer graphic monitor, and as I brought it into my research program on chaos theory, my research spun off a visual art machine. From a primitive computer art competition for students in 1974, this activity evolved into an undergraduate course on Chaos, Fractals, and the Arts in 2003, and a graduate course on Mathematics and the Arts in 2008.
As an early participant in chaos theory, a new branch of mathematics boosted by computer graphics, I became interested in the place of chaos theory in the long history of mathematics. In my first history book, Chaos, Gaia, Eros published in 1994, chaos theory was applied to its own history. The paradigm shift idea is represented in the history of ideas as a punctuated evolution, or tipping point. In my book, the chaos revolution is placed within a sequence of similar shifts, including, for example, the prehistoric agricultural revolution, and the scientific revolution of the 16th century.
The Kepler Project
Nina Wise, an old friend since the 1970s, has become an important performance artist over the years. In 2004 we were both teaching at UC Santa Cruz at the same time, in the morning, and would meet weekly for lunch. Our discussions converged on the paradigm shift idea, and eventually culminated in her play, The Kepler Project. A 45-minute monologue version of it has recently been presented at the Morrison Planetarium in San Francisco, accompanied by new music, sound effects, and spectacular computer graphics projected on the dome. The underlying theme of the project is Paradigm Shifts Then and Now, as in my book, Chaos, Gaia, Eros. Read more about it here:
The Esalen Workshop
Nina and I are discussing our joint work in a weekend workshop at the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, June 30-July 1, entitled Paradigm Shifts Then and Now: Building the Future Together. As it happens, there is another workshop at Esalen on the same weekend, by Nora Bateson and Rex Weyler, on a similar theme. Nina and Rex are old friends and we are planning to join the two workshops for one session, on Saturday evening, for a quadrilogue on the current paradigm shift. Read more about it here:
It is a very beautiful time of year to visit Esalen.