Chaotic Music and Fractal Art: A Glimpse into the Neurophysiology of Aesthetics
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The enjoyment of music and art are uniquely human experiences. Yet we still do not understand the attributes that lead us to appreciate some artistic works and not others. In this talk I will address how concepts in mathematics and physics can help us to think about these matters. Chaos refers to irregular time series that are generated following a definite set of deterministic rules. A fractal is an image, in which magnification of a small region is similar to the whole. I will give examples of how the concepts of chaos and fractals can be exploited to propose simple computer algorithms that can be used to generate sequences of sounds and images. I will also show how random patterns of dots can be manipulated to generate displays that are visually interesting, and that can be used as an input to probe the physiological processes underlying visual perception. The talk will challenge you to think about what you hear and see, and how you do it.