November 18, 2003

Eros ex Mathematica

Posted by shonk at 01:45 AM in Sex | TrackBack

Someone (doubtless a grad student with way too much time on his hands) has seen fit to generate these vaguely erotic algorithmic images. And, as if we needed anymore proof of the geekiness of the blogosphere, the link is making the rounds like a transvestite hooker with a crack problem.

What I find amusing is this disclaimer:

The images in this room are created entirely from mathematical algorithms. If you find them offensive in any way, all I can say is that beauty (or obscenity) is in this case most certainly in the eye of the beholder.
First off, who would find this stuff offensive? I mean, sure, it all looks vaguely like stylized genitalia, but no moreso than, say, your average Georgia O'Keefe painting. More seriously, I take issue with the assurance that these images were generated "entirely from mathematical algorithms". Not that I want to argue that they weren't, but rather to ask: what digital images aren't? That is to say, if I had a scrap of artistic ability and decided to make images of breasts, vaginas and penises in Illustrator, I would really, at the fundamental level, be inputting mathematical algorithms and instructing the computer use them to generate the desired images. After all, the algorithms used to generate the linked images didn't pop out of thin air: some person had to think up the algorithms, instruct the computer to use those algorithms to generate an image, manipulate the algorithm to produce flesh tones, etc. The point is, this gallery is different from Illustrator porn not in the underlying concept, but only in the degree of abstraction.

Does that mean art is mathematics? Or that mathematics is art? Well, probably both. But that's another discussion.