Monday, November 22, 2004

Why I like lattice

To me, lattice is literally a space frame...a method for visualizing and defining space. Space is underappreciated. We launch ourselves through space with nary a thought for the nothingness that allows us to move in the first place. There are some scientists who theorize the perception of space and time are hardwired in the human brain. From an article in Wired News on the nature of time:

"When time seems to stop, people often feel as if space becomes two-dimensional. On the other hand, when the subject feels they perceive the past, present and future (all at once), they simultaneously have the impression that space has infinite dimensions."

There are theories that we only percieve time as a sequence of events that happen 'now'. The past has no reality-- it is only a function of our memory. The future is simply an extrapolation of now and our stored versions of previous nows. Similarly, we only perceive space through the relationships of objects in space.

It's all fine and well for mathematicians to live in a relativistic world of interdependent dimensions, but it makes me uncomfortable. Lattice converts invisible and three-dimesional space into a visible two-dimensional plane. With lattice I can impose a rigid, yet transparent structure on space, just as through conscious action I can manipulate the stream of events and therefore time.

Like space itself, lattice is usually applied as a framework, a structure for climbing vines, or as in Chinese architecture, a minimal wall that simultaneously separates and joins.

Lattice is mathematically beautiful. Complex patterns can be defined through shape 'grammars' that define rotations, translations, and shears of simple shapes in the same way that literature can be created from the combination of words and grammatical rules.

http://janhaag.com/oscl.htm
http://web.mit.edu/~haldane/www/icerays/
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/time-experience/
http://www.inteco.cl/biology/nature.htm