music videos

Obscure Mathematics Make Max Cooper's Music Video Mesmerizing

"There's just something so divine about that law, it's just so primal and insanely complicated. Almost like the soul of everything. It just feels spiritual to me."

by Beckett Mufson
Feb 28 2017, 4:55pm

Images courtesy the artist

The mind-pumping acid ride of a music video Max Cooper put out for his new song, "Symmetry" would not be possible without early 20th century mathematician and theoretical physicist Emmy Noether. Albert Einstein himself described Noether as "the most significant creative mathematical genius thus far," in a letter to The New York Times, and today, you can see one of her elegant contributions to human knowledge get visualized in the psychedelic animation of Kevin McLoughlin. Headphones and full-screen viewing are recommended.

Noether's Theorem concerns itself with symmetry in physical systems. "Symmetry is the idea that one aspect of a system can change while another remains constant," Cooper explains in the video's description. "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... 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."

McLoughlin, whose experimental films have showed us what a Googol looks like, an extra-dimensional portrait of his dad, and sleep deprivation distilled into visual style, applies the mathematical theorem to a spiraling universe of flat circles. "The law of symmetry struck a chord with me in a huge way," McLoughlin tells Creators. "There's just something so divine about that law, it's just so primal and insanely complicated. Almost like the soul of everything. It just feels spiritual to me."

If you're into math stuff, learn more about Noether's Theorem here. If you're rather feel it than read about it, watch Kevin McLoughlin's video for Max Cooper's "Symmetry" beneath a whole horde of our favorite moments.

Listen to more Max Cooper here and watch more from Kevin McLoughlin here.

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