Monthly Archives: October 2011

From Diagram to Visual Experience: More on the Reality of the Hypercube Theater

We recently launched our Hypercube Theater, a stage derived from the hypercube (the tesseract) on which four-dimensional figures can make real appearances before our eyes. In that posting, a series of small photographs and diagrams served to illustrate our line of reasoning.

 

Now we have transformed these diagrams into screen-filling images, a development which illustrates an important point. Beyond the difference in size, this marks the advance from a mere diagram to a true visual experience.

 

We consult diagrams for the information they convey, but we approach a true illustration in search of a visual experience. It’s the familiar difference between looking, and seeing. When we look at a powerful photograph, what we see is, not a picture on paper, but a mountain range. It is as if we were there: we experience, we say, a sense of presence.

 

In three dimensions, this same distinction applies, becoming the difference, let us say, between a cardboard stage-set, and a ship in a storm at sea. Even in daily life, this same distinction arises. Our eyes present to us, we realize, only optical images of the room around us; but we experience, not such images of a room, but presence in the room itself.

 

It’s in this spirit that we approach the hypercube, not as a mere geometrical figure, but as a theater – a stage on which all the entities of a four-dimensional world can make their appearances, present to our eyes.

 

The new version of our Gateway Theater posting tests the ability of screen-filling images to support this transformation. Ideally, of course, the computer screen would – like the theater stage it is becoming – fill our field of view. Even on a laptop screen, however, our visual imagination will have the power to fill that gap! Follow the link below to experiment with a first step in entering the fourth dimension!

Enter the updated Gateway to the Fourth Dimension here.

Let us know if this works for you.