When we see shapes we make sense of them, capturing the essence amid the details, seeing the wood not just the trees. This relates to the notion of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts and Gestalt psychology dating from the pre-computer era. It also places the consideration of visual aesthetics into the context of objects or images as a whole. A drawing or painting will capture an essence of the subject without reproducing every detail. With a view to generating more questions than answers, we shall explore connections between ideas of Gestalt psychology theories of perception to the way computers now use mathematical functions to analyze and process images.
Tony examines some of these literary uses of mathematics. It looks at some illustrative examples from Plath to Borges and the Oulipo, mentions some of the recent crop of diverse and fascinating mathematical novels, and discusses some of the issues that arise from this meeting of disciplines.