In a previous post I discussed a mathematical function which represents a range of different list-comprehensions and how their output can be visualised. Here I’ll describe in detail how we can evaluate this function on a computer, using the Python programming language as an example. Here is the mathematical notation for the tattoo function $t$ again:
$$t(\theta, p) = \left\{ \sum_{k=-1}^{n}e^{\frac{2 \pi i k^p}{\theta}} \mid n \in -1,\dots,\theta \right\}$$ What should we expect from mathematical expressions in code?
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In 2007, as part of a series of collaborations with the visual artist James Johnson-Perkins, I made a video demonstrating the diversity of output possible from a fairly simple mathematical function (see function $t$ below). The video was displayed on large, external, urban screens in Derby, Nottingham and Leicester as part of the ‘Do billboards dream of electric sheep?’ exhibition. The shapes displayed in each of the frames of the video were generated by passing the frame number to a function like $t$:
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