The Elements of Evolution (77-1) Abstract Art

Abstract Art

The prevalence of certain geometric patterns in the symbolic material culture of many prehistoric cultures, starting shortly after the emergence of our biological species and continuing in some indigenous cultures until today, is explained in terms of the characteristic contents of biologically determined hallucinatory experience. ~ archeologists Tom Froese, Alexander Woodward, and Takashi Ikegami

Evidence of symbolic imagery reaches back to the earliest artifacts. There is a long tradition, beginning at least 100,000 years ago, of painting with red ochre in geometrical patterns. These patterns are often variations of selfsame themes.

Similar symbolic patterns recurrently occur around the world: a cave painting 73,000 ya in South Africa, Japanese Jomon pottery from 4000 bce, and many works in between, as well those to the present day. English mathematician Alan Turing described these patterns in the 1952 article “The Chemical Basis of Morphogenesis.” Turing patterns comprise various geometric forms, including a diffusion of spots, spirals, traveling waves, and maze-like grids. They appear in innumerable natural forms, from galactic formations to animal skins.

Turing patterns emerge from distributed activity of nonlinear, dynamic, reaction-diffusion systems that exhibit local excitatory and sparse inhibitory connectivity. A reaction-diffusion system is a mathematical model which explains how a concentration of one or more substances changes spatial distribution on a surface under the influence of local chemical reactions which transform the substance(s) and their spreading out.

In the human mind, Turing patterns can reputedly appear which resemble the cellular structures of the brain. These patterns supposedly become more accessible under the influence of hallucinogens.

When these visual patterns are seen during altered states of consciousness they are directly experienced as highly charged with significance. ~ Tom Froese, Alexander Woodward, & Takashi Ikegami

Then again, artistic incorporation of Turning patterns may simply be an abstracted reflection of Nature.