Archives for the Month of June, 2005

Results 1 – 20 of about 156,000 for fractal

Context Free Software

And that’s just an image search!

Michael’s blog alerts me to Chris Coyne’s CFDG or Context Free Design Grammar – an application for producing recursion trees and other Fractal output. Judging by some of these examples, it certainly will find it’s way onto my hard drive as soon as a spare moment doeth shine. If you don’t want to command UNIX line by line you can pick up ported Windows and Mac versions of Context Free here. Features include the ability to render very large images – up to 100 Mega-pixels with up to a million individual shapes!

I really like this example … and again it points its finger to navigating underground train systems psychgeographically using these kinds of grammatical algorithms to generate dream routes or urban rhizomes as touched upon previously at dataisnature.

It’s interesting when fractal and recursive patterns trick us by looking not exactly fractal as sometimes they do in this example? – They emit a transparent quality and avoid looking just like yet another fingerprint of mathematical onanism. And it opens the debate about Fractals as art being any good at all in the first place.

Tony posted a funny Anti-Fractal article at his glitch temple a while back and when I saw Jacqueline’s post on ‘good ol’ mandelbrot’ it made me revisit. Obviously I’m two sided about fractals like most things – I’m left-handed and Geminian. I spit on their ordinary frilly sickening colour cycles like Tony, but when I do see something unique it feels good and I think ahh…. fractals and a little flicker of an old love affair resurfaces – for a minute or two at least!

Buddhabrot are special karmic representations of the Mandlebrot set. Melinda Greens Page has all you need to know. I discovered one of these while playing with the Kai’s Powers Tools Plugins for Photoshop when I made my first website in 1997, the Neon Nihilasium (a metajoke)! I cant believe it’s still online cus I stopped paying the host subscription after I informed them I intended to close the account nearly two years ago. Don’t laugh – it was a product of perverted spiritual epiphanies through the study of psychedelic geometry (if you know what I mean)… there are some more fractal investigations here. My friend Ash reviewed my work of luridly coloured nonsense in the Independent newspaper (UK) and made it Site of the Week! I got some serious email questioning me on the metaphysical importance of my work funnily. My neurons are making different kinds of messages theses days.

The word Fractal actually came from the Latin Fractus meaning broken or irregular, which was introduced by Mandlebrot in 1975. Even 30 years after their discovery Fractals seem to keep on arousing our imaginative attention. An arto-mathematical wet dream inside a wet dream and a modern homunculus demon seed of eye-brain-candy-iteration allowing artists to exploit and value what might be called “the order that lies in uncertainty.” Fractals skidoo, skidoo!



The Generator.x project is a conference, exhibition and weblog examining the role of software and generative strategies in current digital art and design.

‘The computer has become an essential tool in all forms of cultural production, and as such it has become the constant companion of creatives everywhere. Increasingly, the computer is both the means of production and the architecture of presentation. In the case of meta-media like HTML and Flash, the software is the medium.’

Generator.x, stylish and bold when it comes to layout and design, looks at the growing movement of Generative Aesthetics, Computational and Procedural Art, and Perfomative Software – including audio-visual art-ware such as VVVV. It is also a growing repository of links to resources on Generative Art as well as features on well known and respected Computation Artisans.

Data Stream…

Walking City – Archigram

………The Herzog & de Meuron exhibition at the Tate Modern is worth the visit…. And this wonderful repository of architectural sketches and art was stumbled upon while researching the amazing paintings of Zaha Hadid… I’ve always liked the imaginative audacity of the Archigram architects, particularly the Walking City

Conclave is a great piece of Flash… …Sometimes I want to script something in Flash I can output to print. Scriptographer is an Illustrator Plugin for producing procedural or generative illustrations using a scripting language. Checkout these cool scriptographed posters by Jonathon Puckey

Musical Algorithms explores the use of classic mathmetical sequences as data for algorithmic composition. Irdial’s free music philosophy is spot-on; checkout Anthony Manning’s work ‘islets..’ or the aforementioned Cornet Project CDx3 of Number Station recordings both on the excellent Irdial. Elsewhere my ears are awash with Sonic Nurse, Icarus, and Early Electronic Music…

…The Journal of Patterns Recognised is now available as a download! Other new Social Fictions include ‘Selkirk – Jabberwocky Cartography of/as a Little Mind’ – a computation psychogeographic paradigm and the ‘Finding New Functions of the sun’ available just in time for solstice love burns…

…A couple of information visualisation sites have stolen my attention recently. Stentoria has ghost map schematics along side a beautiful error page. Qu1et is making some cool visualisations of the Raster-Norton output in Proce55ing, as well as blogging excellent material …

…Now that Proce55ing is finally released as a proper beta 1.0, I guess we can expect to see lots of new work as the environment spreads its tendrils into the computation nu-edge. Tom Carden has set up a P5 blog aggregating feeds documenting proce55ing and related works. There are masses of wicked proce55ing works out there in the digital ecosystem…

….Other cool blogs sucking me in are Loreta, full of oblique wonder and Tom Moody’s place, who’s also does consumer culture art alchemy, in each molecular bond

Strange Crystal


‘In understanding this shape, the arithmetic of the integers extended by the fifth roots of unity proves very helpful.’

An optical micrograph of self-assembled pattern in polymer thin film.

In the constellation Cygnus (the Swan), dark clouds in front of Lynds Bright Nebula 258,

via eyebeam ( Mary Flanagan is reblogging the good stuff! )


Pixilvision Camera

iss appropriation of intended use is a great thing! Released in 1987 and retailed at $100 the Pixelvision PXL-2000 video camera, designed as a toy camera for kids, inevitably found its way into the hands of adult experimental filmmakers. There were a number of aspects built into the design to reduce the amount of information that would needed to be encoded – this of course lead to a particular ‘PXL’ aesthetic and a movement of Pixelvisionaries. The output was grainy and dreamlike and had a frame within a frame on projection. The product was discontinued a few years after it was released – so now you can only pick one up for inflated prices. Sadie Benning’s reputation as the wunderkind of the early 90s New York underground was partly secured by her early Pixelvision pieces.

Pixelpage | Pixelvsion

Collision Signals and Secrecy

Tod Dockstader

Often is only when technology functions in an imperfect or imprecise manner that it truly begins to reveal itself. Tuning an old radio dial puts you in touch with the space between the stations, a mysterious zone of harmonies and distortions that existed and functioned according to a strange and distinct logic. “A lot of really funny things would happen, You know two stations would get off-frequency and their signals would start colliding, so you’d hear something like a demented carousel or a pipe organ gone badly wrong. The old tube radios were very imprecise, so you’d have atmospherics that would come into the frequency. Sometimes it was like cosmic breathing or somethingâ€?

So reads a paragraph from this months (always excellent) WIRE magazine – ‘Radio Activity’ an article on, and interview with Tod Dockstader. Bemused and enthralled by short wave radio, Dockstader used his sound engineering skills working on cartoons (he did the sound for Gerald Mc Boing Boing!) to produce some incredible music pieces with short wave radio samples at their heart.

As I result of the article I’ve been lead to explore Dockstaders music. ‘Telemetry’ is awesome. The sheer range of sound and frequency is amazing, cutting through the speakers at times like a chainsaw lazerbeam. ‘Apocalypse’ trips into a shortwave psychosis, a trip through planatery space-time via the conduit of alien wave transmissions.

All this talk of short wave fascination reminded me of when I was a kid and used to tape record selections of short wave broadcasts. It reminds me of exactly those kinds of interference patterns of wow and flutter you could de-tune into and the feeling of being somewhere in outerspace.

It also brings me to Numbers Stations, covert spy code broadcasts or illicit communications? – strange mantras of number sequences read by female operands you’d hear in short-wave territory that have been broadcast for more than 40 years. There are many websites covering Number Stations on the web so head for your nearest search field.

‘For decades, short-wave listeners have been hearing stations that do nothing but read blocks of numbers, usually using a woman’s voice, in a variety of languages and on innumerable different frequencies. All available evidence indicates that some of these transmissions may be somehow connected to espionage activities. These are the numbers stations, the most enduring mystery on the short-wave bands.’

Atencion 04499 (rpt) Message to 245
04499 150 (rpt five times) 150 blocks will follow
45892 05157 Message
final final End of message (sometimes three finals)

The Conet Project is a four CD set of numbers station recordings from the past 20 years released in 1997 by the ingenious Irdial Discs.

‘When a spy is sent out on a mission, she goes into her target country, gets a job, and sits quietly so no one notices her. Every day, she tunes into a pre defined frequency with a radio that she innocently bought at a local shop, and then…it starts. Depending on who her bosses are, the transmission will start with a piece of music. Examples of this music are, “The Swedish Rhapsody” played on a glockenspiel, or “Magnetic Fields” by Jean Michel Jarre, or some Alpine Yodeling music, or an English country folk tune, like “The Lincolnshire Poacher”. The more bizarre stations will start with a series of avant-garde tones.

Then, either a man or woman’s or child’s voice will start to deliver the message. The Swedish Rhapsody station uses a German girls voice. She counts from one to ten several times before delivering her text. The Lincolnshire poacher station uses a British aristocrats voice. There are stations that use what can only be described as an “erotic” voice to deliver the messages.’

Another specialty within Short wave listening is “DXing,” in which the goal is to receive faint, distant, and otherwise hard-to-hear stations. DXing on short wave is like panning for gold; DXers patiently work through noise, interference, and fading to hear a low powered station deep in the Amazonian basin of Brazil or somewhere in the Indonesian archipelago.

The problem with digital radio stations of course – are that there are no collision signals! You’re stuck with the unchangeable lattice of 1 and 0’s – no tuning, no random signals and no spaces between stations.

But… there are still some interesting digital radio stations of a generative kind:-

Rand()% is a generative radio station. All audio is generated by algorithmic software applications and programs written by sound artists and programmers.

Abstract Generative Radio Mix New Generation

Logarithmic Maps of the Universe

Logarithmic Map of the Universe

Logarithmic Maps of the Universe are the ultimate cosmogeographical schema, halfway between the Ring and Triffid Nebulae there lies the curiously named PSR 1257+12 Pulsar Planet. Located 2630 light years from Earth, It is believed to be orbited by at least four planets. These were the first extrasolar planets ever discovered.