Douglas Hofstadter, the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gödel, Escher, Bach, thinks we've lost sight of what artificial intelligence really means. His stubborn quest to replicate the human mind.
Rubix by University of Greenwich student Chris Kelly - an Escher-like surrealist film which mixes and rotates urban landscapes like a Rubik's Cube, created for his thesis "Time and Relative Dimensions in Space: The Possibilities of Utilising Virtual[ly Impossible] Environments in Architecture." (via)
M.C. Escher Meets IKEA for some impossible items you WISH you could buy. Of course, this isn't a totally new idea, in fact, even an IKEA fansite has played with the concept. (Dedicated to anyone who ever suspected the assembly instructions were written in an alternate reality) But sometimes, even without intending, a do-it-yourselfer can achieve something pretty close. And now, IKEA itself has embraced the Escher influence in one ad. [more inside]
Escher Circuits. What if you could compute the output of complex algorithms just by viewing an image?
Our everyday visual perceptions rely upon unfathomably complex computations carried out by tens of billions of neurons across over half our cortex. In spite of this, it does not “feel” like work to see. Our cognitive powers are, in stark contrast, “slow and painful,” and we have great trouble with embarrassingly simple logic tasks. Might it be possible to harness our visual computational powers for other tasks, perhaps for tasks cognition finds difficult? I have recently begun such a research program with the goal of devising ways of converting digital logic circuits into visual stimuli – “visual circuits” – which, when presented to the eye, “tricks” the visual system into carrying out the digital logic computation and generating a perception that amounts to the “output” of the computation. That is, the technique amounts to turning our visual system into a programmable computer.
Gödel, Escher, Bach, Tumblr Gödel, Escher, Bach, Tumblr is an online book group. We're reading one chapter a week of Douglas Hofstadter’s 1979 masterpiece book about artificial intelligence, mathematics, consciousness, puzzles, music, and language. They've been reading since the start of the month, so start in the archive. [Previously, More Previously, Event more previously, Previously in the future]
Douglas Hofstadter's Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid has been recorded as a series of video lectures for MIT's Open Courseware project.
You might have seen the Droste Effect before, perhaps even the animated version. But here's a new iteration - a music video.
This week in mathematical physics, John Baez looks at the amazing tile patterns in the Alhambra in Granada, dividing the patterns into their characteristic Wallpaper Groups based on their symmetries. And if these patterns aren't good enough for you, try drawing your own with the Escher Web Sketch tool. [more inside]
OLE Coordinate System is the software that drives Echochrome, an Interactive Optical Illusion. The playable demo lets you play in an Escherian space. [via]
Andrew Lipson and Daniel Shiu build faithful, 3D versions of Escher prints using LEGOs: Relativity, Ascending and Descending, Waterfall, and Belvedere. (Only one of those four images required any photo manipulation to create its "Escher effect" -- can you tell which one, without scrolling down to see the descriptions on each page?) Other people's LEGO adventures: a playable harpsichord, the Golden Gate Bridge, and a portrait of Catwoman.
Victim of the Brain A 'docudrama' about Godel, Escher and Bach author, Douglas Hofstadter, and philosopher Dan Dennett produced in 1988. I'm not sure how to describe it, other than incredibly strange and fascinating.
Seb Przd's photos specialising in delightful and mind-bending spherical panoramas and conformal mappings.
Fascination with ground and figure carries on in various fields after The Rubin vase / face Illusion, M.C. Escher, and Marshall McLuhan. Besides being extremely important in the fields of photography and poetry, the figure/ground relationship is important to physicist Paul Davies, who says "the true miracle of nature is to be found in the ingenious and unswerving lawfulness of the cosmos, a lawfulness that permits complex order to emerge from chaos, life to emerge from inanimate matter, and consciousness to emerge from life." Also, Peter Grundy and Yiang Yan discuss how contextual ground relates to linguistic figure in Bill Clinton's famous apology, Andrew Graydon plays with the distinction between sound as environment and sound as music, and W.C. Richardson creates paintings in which "positive and negative spaces seem unstable; figure becomes ground, ground becomes figure."
The Thief And The Cobbler. Richard Williams via Garrett Gilchrist. The best of YouTube (to date)? You decide. Want some animated M.C. Escher, Rube Goldberg mayhem, magic, despair, true love, a happy ending...and more? Click the link and try the "Play All Videos" link on the right (17 segments make up the whole). Cast and Crew. If you categorically hate YouTube links, pass it by. via
Escher Web Sketch [Java]
The sculptures of Shigeo Fukuda show that shadows and reflections (mpegs) may not be what they appear to be. When you turn M.C. Escher's drawings into sculptures, you can get some impossible objects (mpeg). And Dick Termes paintings on globes are stunning examples (Quicktime) of six point perspective. All of these works of illusionary art are featured in the book Masters of Deception: Escher, Dalí & the Artists of Optical Illusion and must be seen to be believed.
The Gold-Digging Ant-Lions of India is but one tale about insects and culture. Although, The Cultural Entomology Digest seems to have been out of circulation for a decade, you can still read about Japanese Crests based on Butterflies, Chinese Cricket Culture and hints of a Greek Cricket culture, Beetles as Religious Symbols or the Insects of MC Escher.
Snakes. An animated film based on a woodcut by M.C. Escher. Slow to load, beautiful to watch (and listen to).
LEGO Escher is an amazing collection of some of the more famous prints by famous surrealist M.C. Escher rendered in LEGO. There's tons more like this at LUGNET (LEGO International Users Group Network).
GardeningFilter! James Dyson's Wrong Garden - water going uphill in a perpetual-motional Escher-like fashion; how is it done...?
M.C. Escher + Lego = ? I used to make spaceships and houses with my Lego not 3D representations of famous optical illusions! [via Filepile]
Mathematician Henrik Lenstra was intrigued by a blank space in he middle of a drawing by MC Escher. Over two years he managed to describe the mathematical structure of the drawing, project what should go in the missing space and produce an extraordanary animation of the result.