March 28, 2019: Dreaming of mathematics. I am looking at a cube, covered in curving lines that snake around the corners and map a multidimensional equation. Someone explains to me that the derivatives of these curves (like velocity is to position, and acceleration is to velocity) represent the edge sensors of an organism, which detect contrast and change in the environment at a fundamental pre-conscious level. We have edge detectors like this in our retina, which send efficiently coded signals to our brain to help us see details in the world more quickly.
As I mentally project this calculus onto the curves, I watch as they grow projections, like hairs growing out of an organism, whiskers, or mycelia underground. This moment feels like the “sharpen” filter in Photoshop, heightening the contrast of everything around me. This helps me perceive that the derivative of my perception of time is the pinprick of the moment, an edge detector of quantum consciousness, the “bija” or particle of thought. Simply take the derivative of what is apparently linear perception, define its instantaneous curvature, exponentially sharpen it to better sense the verb that is time.
When I woke up from this dream, my mind was filled with an intuition of curves and power functions, like measuring waveforms of energy and quickly sensing their quality at this precise moment. The feeling faded after a few minutes, and my day proceeded as normal, but with an echo of this beautiful perception. A remnant image hovered in my periphery, of this cube with textures and lines, floating in front of me with a saturated background that merged into its corners, making it seem curved and organic. On the following day I made a quick run to the art supply store and purchased six small square canvases. I then started a project that combined painting and sculpture, to remind myself of this dream.
I also made two test canvasses to practice the contrast and textures I wanted to create on the cube. The first of these studies has a good deep contrast, but the complexity of the gesso ridges was insufficient to create the filaments I wanted. On the second study, I was able to achieve a much better filagree, but some of the color gradations reduced the contrast I was seeking. On both of these studies, I followed the color scheme of the dream more closely, because in the dream, the lines were black and the edges were actually white, fading into a white background. I learned that I needed to invert the colors, to make the body of the 3D cube very dark, and use white for the lines. I worked on these while the thick gesso on the cube slowly dried. I was able to start painting on the cube after a bout a month of gesso application.
This whole approach to texture and fly-over landscapes took a new direction in May 2019, when I saw some NASA images of methane lakes on the Saturn moon of Titan. Here is an example of one of the originals in false color from NASA:
And these were the results from that inspiration, using similar materials as the “Acceleration Dream” paintings, but with the addition of gold metallic lustre.