Part 1 : An Interview with Rob Bryanton of Imagining the 10th Dimension – the book and the animation
Can you give us a little background into how you wrote this book and came up with the ideas presented within its pages? Is it possible to give us a summary of your main ideas?
The basic idea is something I started to believe as a child – that the other realities that could have existed based upon alternate actions and chance do actually exist – I pictured my life like one of those dandelions gone to seed, with the straight stalk representing the now-locked in past, the base of the flower representing me, and all of those slender lines blooming out from there representing possible futures. Selecting one of those lines then, was like zooming in, where the one line now became part of my past and a new bloom appeared ahead of me – a very fractal, enfolding sort of an image.
By the time I was in my twenties I had worked out the steps up to seven as presented in the animation, and thought it was fascinating that so many mystics and ancient religions pointed to seven as the ultimate number for enlightenment or ascendancy. For years I would show my logical progression to people with pen and paper and a spiel very similar to the one in the animation, some people would think it was cool but many just didn’t get it. This always bothered me, I felt like I had something people in the world would be interested in, but I had never found a way to get it to that audience.
In 2004 I went in for a routine laparoscopic surgery which went wrong, a vein on my liver was accidentally sliced open and I almost bled to death on the operating table. This took me months to recover from, but as I was waking up from my morphine dreams my “way of imagining the dimensions” was one of the first things I wanted to talk about. Despite being barely conscious, there some part of my mind saying “this was something you were supposed to get done, telling people about this new way of imagining the dimensions”. My eldest son, Todd, 22 at the time, confessed later that he assumed it was just the drugs talking.
Then in spring 2005 I was in Australia, my wife had been invited to attend a series of multimedia conferences and I was tagging along because I had never seen that side of the planet. I had picked up a copy of Michio Kaku’s “Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps, and the 10th Dimension” for bedtime reading. At some point during the trip it occurred to me that there was a way to extend the point in the seventh dimension representing our universe to the other different-initial-conditions universes in the multiverse, and that the logic could then be extended up to a point in the tenth dimension, which was where string theorists said the superstrings that create our reality originate from.
During the long plane ride back to Canada, I developed blood clots in my legs which eventually migrated to my lungs. A month or so later I ended up at the emergency ward, so short of breath I couldn’t even fall asleep, and suspecting heart problems had caused the clots in my lungs they placed me in the Cardiac Surveillance Ward for two weeks. It was during that lovely stay in the beautiful private room with a very comfortable bed and kind nurses trained not to upset the potential heart attack victim, that I wrote the first draft of my book on my laptop. The first draft was about a hundred pages, outlined everything in the first ten chapters of the book. I spent the following year polishing the book in my spare time (while continuing my day job as composer for film and television and studio owner). The book was published early July 06, just as the website became popular.
How long did it take for you and your creative collaborators to create the animated sequence explaining your concept of the 10 dimensions? And is that really your voice on the video?
Trent Haus is President and Jason Orban is vice president of OH!Media, they were responsible for the website, and all the graphics in the book. Jason did the graphics design for the flash animation based upon my scratchy little pencil drawings and text descriptions of what I was imagining. We were working on the book graphics and the website graphics at the same time, so as we locked in the look of the still frames that would appear in the book, Jason was being given the go-ahead to animate them.
So the timetable was that I storyboarded out what I was thinking about back when I started writing the book in June 2005. I recorded myself reading the narration at my studio (Talking Dog), designed the sound effects, and gave rough mixes of the audio track in late August to Jason and Trent. A few things had to be changed in the timing of sound effects once the animation was up on its feet, but mostly that all stayed the same. Trent and Jason gave me a good deal on the project, but they were also busy with other projects… so completing the animation got pushed to the back burner for them a number of times by other projects. It didn’t help that I was very picky, as I kept asking for tweaks to make sure the overall look was as clean and simple as it could be. I signed off on the animation in April 2006, the rest of the site was mostly ready by then except we were having some trouble with a custom-designed forum. Eventually we switched it to the standard phpBB forum everyone uses and the site and the animation were finally ready to show to the world by end of June 2006.