Scry Visuals

Hello, I’m Scry. I’ve been wanting to start this blog for awhile but never got around to it for various reasons, so now here I’m finally doing it. Given that I’m an artist trying to show something to the world, I probably ought to talk about what that is and why I feel it matters. This will be a platform where I can freely share my thoughts in long form. This first post is just to announce whats to come. Now that I have the basic blog setup (powered by hugo) working, I’m excited to start sharing a bit more!.

As far as what it is I’m trying to show the world with my art, it basically is about trying to capture the structure phenomenology of psychedelic experience. Any experience is of interest but the sort of geometric patterns and objects seen in psychedelic trips are sometimes simple enough to remember and reproduce near exactly. The capture of these objects as art is already valuable, and I hope to make a living based on exchanging that value with others, but I have an additional hope that this work and the skills I develop from it will be a helpful contribution to the future science of consciousness.

The name Scry was chosen as a fitting word for what it is I’m trying to do, and I think it sounds cool. That is, when not mistaken for “scary” as tends to happen in sometimes at least from my experience in Twitter spaces. The word “scry” is defined a few different ways depending on where you look: To use divination to discover hidden knowledge or future events, especially by means of a crystal ball.

Merriam-Webster: To practice crystal gazing.

Cambridge Dictionary: To see what will happen in the future, especially by looking into an object such as a mirror or glass ball.

The way I usually explain it is that its what a “fortune teller” is supposed to be doing. As I use computation to visualize mathematical realities, I consider what I’m doing a very “real” form of scrying. That isn’t to say the practice itself is all woo. My belief on it given my own experience of attempting to scry, and my research into the subject, is that scrying is a practice of allowing less conscious aspects of the mind to “bubble up” and mimic some of the same hallucination potential as psychedelic drugs (at low doses). The setup is to use a crystal ball or black mirror, or otherwise dark surface, and pretty much stare at it in a dim room. Often candle light is used to create the ideal dim lighting, which also provides a flicker. The darkness of the room and surface to stare at provides a sort of empty area in perception which seems to just ask to be filled with detail. Just as induced by psychedelics or extended meditation, that detail does get filled in, revealing to some degree, in some sense, the structure of the mind. So, given how scrying actually works, naturally it itself is part of my work. Instead of taking drugs, which can be healthy but I don’t intend to do too frequently, I can simply stare at an actual crystal ball or black surface for something new to directly replicate. As well I’m a fan of the dreamachine effect and have enjoyed experimenting with it quite a bit as a way to get sober hallucinations.

That covers the actual sort of woo side of scrying, the other part of it is applying that existing definition to how GL Shader Language shaders act as the graphing calculator of my dreams allowing visualization of basically any math. There are restrictions, but mostly in how to best represent a given function, not actually preventing the possibility. For example, recursive function calling isn’t possible in GLSL, but modulus functions or clever use of how functions are defined can make it seem like a shader is nothing but recursion. Anything that exists also can’t actualize infinity itself, so “any” math doesn’t mean literally any and all, but most of anything that my imagination can see, so too can a shader. So the use of GLSL to explore the landscape, sometimes quite literally, of what’s mathematically possible to see, is my practice of scrying, and why I am Scry Visuals.