Archives for the Month of August, 2005

Colourist Geometries and Rule-Set Art

Colourist Geometries – Howard R. Barnhart

Howard R. Barnhart is been producing some exquisite geometric art that’s worth investigation. Using Colorist and Constructivist methods, he has produced a range of work in different mediums that have at times a computational aesthetic. In fact his journals (scroll to bottom of the page) seem to contain references to systems or ‘algorithms’ for the ordering of colors and shapes in his work.

This pulls us over to Sol Lewitt’s maxim ‘The idea becomes the machine that makes the art’. Lewitt worked using sets of instructions to produce geometrically precise paintings and in doing so set a precedent in the area of generative art. Interestingly Nu-school computation artisans have looked at Lewitt’s rule-set methodology as a way of questioning the relevancy of this type of conceptual art to current software-based art.

Glitch photograms

PhotoGrams – BELFIX

Tony Beflix has been producing tangible reproductions of his glitch experiments. Fresh off of the Beflix laboratory printing press is a sequence of long-exposure photograms of output from his customized VJ software. Check out those moody glitch glyphs then enter the blurry linear metropolis of Corruptionville.

Those familiar with (s)Hoxton, London & who read this feed will probably know the Foundry. Tony will be doing some live visuals there this coming Saturday night.

Chaotic fingerprints and space-time labyrinths

Talysis I – Paul Prudence

Here are some stills from Talysis – a short film I made for the Crystalpunk Workshop for Soft Architecture held in Utrecht, Holland in Autumn 2005. The film explored elements self-organisation and crystallisation – autocatalytic replication and recursive symmetry using digital video feedback.

Its navigates the possibility of a sentient geometry to produce a stream of geometric archetypes; a collective unconscious for emergent dynamical systems; a video feedback language system for pattern recognition.

Video Feedback is a great example of real-time evolving self-organising systems near the edge of chaos. With a relatively simple camera-monitor/TV set-up you can produce a vast spectrum of time-based fractal species, many of which bare great similarity to the complex dynamical systems found in nature.

Video Feedback patterns are produced by pointing the camera at a monitor or TV to create a visual feedback loop. Complex animated patterns are made of light which is trapped in a loop. There doesn’t seem to be any obvious practical application for video feedback but the forms generated are hypnotic and beautiful.

Video Feedback

One of the great things about experimenting with VF is that you cannot often predict the form of the final recursive vortex.

VF species come in all shapes and sizes. Often they resemble common fractal forms like that of the Julia set or Sierpinski triangle. Elsewhere perfect labyrinths immerge out of the void, sometimes fine lineations form into fingerprints. Many of the shapes generated can be found in nature – Some VF forms look like micro-organisms or resemble artforms in nature – particularly radiolarians. Sometimes they take on the form of spiral galaxies and star clusters from deep space.

The best site dealing with VF on the web has to be Jesper Peterson’s which has links to a great many pictures and galleries as well as essays and info on generating VF patterns. To start with check out his personal collection.

XXLux – Barbara Doser Hofstette

Feedback freaks have done their best to outline their set-ups for producing different kinds of VF shapes – a basic set-up with instructions for generating VF patterns can be found here.

In order to make fractal feedback the cameras image needs to be multiplied and recombined so that the images may overlap freely. Here are some instructions on exactly how to do this.

Finally it should be noted that these artefacts spark Dataisnatures’s attention over to Crowley’s Thoth Tarot Card the Six of Wands – Swiftness. Of Which the MegaTherion says in his Book of Thoth:

‘The card refers to Hod, splendour, in the suit of Fire, whence it refers to the phenomena of speech, light and electricity.

The pictorial representation of the card shows the Light-wands turned into electrical rays, sustaining or even constituting Matter by their vibrating energy. Above this restored universe shine rainbow; the division of pure light, which deals with maxima, into the seven colours of the spectrum, which exhibit interplay and correlation.

It will be noted that there are no flames; they have all been taken up into the wands to turn them into rays. On the other hand, the electric energy has created intelligible geometric form.’

Dataisnature is directly concerned with the apparent sentience behind these geometrical forms and their secret syntax.


Colorcount Wattenberg

Using the Treemap algorithm for visualizing data, Martin Wattenberg’s Colorcount assigns colours to words by finding the average colour of images returned from a search engine based on a search for that word. The resulting tapestry is a computational synaesthetic land map of the English lexicon.

Another excellent Treemap visualization is Marcos Weskamp’s Newsmap. Newsmap sucks in data from the Google news aggregator and converts it into a Mondrian-esque grid of headlines. Headlines are collected into categories represented by colour. The frequency of reportage for each story is further reflected in the amount of space each story takes up as a block on the screen.

Drawing Life – Michael Chang

Drawing Life – Michael Chang

Manifest is a neat little proce55ing project from Michael Chang that allows the user to draw sea-type creatures into existence of varying size, shape and behavior. These submerged organisms then take on a life of there own via kinematic movement according to a set of AI rules. If you run the screen-mouse articulated version you will not notice that:

‘The project interprets strokes made from a tablet pen. When a stroke is completed (or closed into a loop) it manifests an organism based on stroke length, speed, and pressure.’

Electroplastique – Marius Watz

Electroplastique – Marius Watz

ElectroPlastique1 grows organic undulations of nodes to produce a kind of watery landscape. Once manifested the landscape reduces itself to a sentient skeleton mesh finally to break into shards of colour – splinter vectors.

The inspiration comes from the extraordinary work of the Op-Artist Victor Vasarely and the piece itself, a 4 screen installation made with Proce55ing, was produced for the Territoires Electroniques festival at Le Fondation Vasarely.

‘A regular grid is deformed and then used as the basis of a series of organic abstract systems that evolve over time (5 minutes). Due to the panoramic format of the 4-screen projection, the impression is much like a landscape. In the end the grid is exploded and disappears, hinting at a non-Cartesian vector’

I’ve been a big fan of Marius Watz’s work for quite some time, his wonderful output of computational art can be found at Unlekker and Evolutionzone

Incidentally there was a wonderful new book out on Vasarely published early this year



The word “Chaoscope” was invented by Ralph Abraham, long time chaos theorist, to describe computer tools used to help comprehend dynamic systems, a superset of the strange attractors.

Chaoscope is an image rendering program running on Windows for producing 3 dimensional strange attractors, this ongoing project is released as freeware! Judging by the gallery it looks good for generating rare species of exotic and unique form.

Related articles:

Julya Sets & Fractal Cities
Results 1 – 20 of about 156,000 for fractal