"Emergence" is Like Art and Science Having Sex

"#Emergence" by Max Cooper is like #Art and #Science Having Sex


1. the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed.
2. the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent.

Emergence is a sublime collection of music and visual art pieces exploring the emanant nature of reality. The series was principally produced by Max Cooper, a PhD. in Computational Biology turned electronic music producer.

In this collaboration, Max did not leave his scientific background behind. In fact, Emergence is an attempt by Max to link his deep interest in science with art. The results are a nearly-psychedelic exploration of the same questions motivating researchers in their quest for a deeper understanding of the universe.

Emergence is the story of natural laws and processes, their inherent beauty, and their action to yield the universe, us and the world we live in...The story is told using a universe timeline, from pre-big bang to future, with each chapter a collaboration with a different visual artist, including some collaborations with mathematicians or scientists for those chapters using real data visualisation. As such, there is a huge range in visual styles, and for each different idea and piece of music I had in mind, it was a matter of finding the right visual artist and approach to try and tell that part of the story. My aim with this approach was to have plenty of variation to make what is an often abstract narrative, interesting, and also a hope that the over-arching story links the different visual styles together.
— Max Cooper

a few favorite pieces:


Symmetry is one of the most fundamental principles of nature, and also forms the basis of music...which starts with visualisations of the basic building blocks of nature, setting the stage for the physical universe to come into being, and later planets, life, civilisation, and technology.

Symmetry is the idea that one aspect of a system can change while another remains constant. The idea of natural laws themselves, rely on the forms of symmetry that mean the same forces will apply to you as they do to me, independently of our position in space or time. And scientists searches for natures symmetries lie at the heart of much of our best models of reality (see Noether’s Theorem or more recent uses of symmetries in things like the ‘amplituhedron’!).
The principle is also responsible for music, in that our enjoyment of tonality, melody, harmony and rhythm comes from our subconscious appreciation of different types of patterns (i.e. symmetries) in sound waves.


This video sequence by Nick Cobby shows cell-organelle-like structures developing, and lock-and-key-like interactions for the glitch sections. So I thought it would be a nice abstract way of presenting intracellular form and dynamics; the factory operating inside every living cell, reliant on a vast shipping network, countless tiny molecular machines and complex molecules bouncing in a hot soup and fitting together in precise forms to direct metabolism and cell behavior. It’s a miracle it works at all, but nature is great at robustness after billions of years of failed attempts.


I thought I should give special attention in the story to the emergence of self-awareness, given it’s importance in the human condition. I decided to do this with a slowly materialising eye, where the audience is forced to look back at something which reveals to be themselves, as an analogy for the emergent process.

The Digital Self

Nick Cobby had put a great video together for this one, mapping people’s faces with a Kinect, and syncing them to the vocal snippets of the audio track. I use this as an analogy for the information age, where the human form becomes digital.


The video brief was to focus on the emergence of altruism, and Cenk came up with the interesting idea of transposing this from a pre-human evolutionary process, to a future emergence of altruism in robots. This opened the door for some additional scorched world and warring political system narratives, which fit in well with the generally darker themes in the other videos upon the arrival of complex human society. I’m not a pessimist though, things do eventually get better in the overall Emergence story, it just happens when humans and society as we know it have transitioned to a new state.

You can find more info and all of the rest of the work here

Rewire Your Brain to Make Ingenious Connections

The above post was lovingly crafted by Josiah Hultgren. Josiah Hultgren is Founder/CEO of MindFullyAlive, a Senior Lecturer at California Lutheran University, a NeuroCoach, and a practical neuroscience expert. He produces and curates mindfulness content designed to improve structure and functioning of the brain. His mission is to help create a more vibrant world and apply neuroscience in ways that help people reach their highest potential.