Archives for the Month of June, 2006

Decibelio – Dataisnature heads off to Madrid

Won ABC, right: Esther Manas

This weekend (23,24 June) sees the arrival of a two day festival of experimental art and music in Madrid. Decibelio brings together an international spectrum of musicians, Vj’s, and visual/graffiti artists (see above) at the Macumba Club. The music renders heavily towards the experimental noise, electechno and break/hardcore beat end of the musical spectrum and features Pan Sonic, Funkstörung and Radium to name a few. The line up is excellent and the best part is that Decibelio has free admission all weekend.

A considerable amount of effort goes into organising this event and we have the brother’s Javier and Pablo Iglesias Algora to thank for that. Decebelio has far reaching tendrils outside of this festival – it also exists as an art & design magazine and framework for exhibitions and cultural raves!

I’ll be heading over along with Yesyesnonno to do some visuals for the show. See you there.

SuperFormula 3d point two

Superformula 3d reconstructions from Sanch

Here’s an update to seemingly popular post on Johan Gielis’s concept of the Superformula used in the VVVV environment.

VVVV’er Sanch is now breaking the Supershape apart with his Destrukt series, metamorphosing its smooth organic contours into shards and strips in curved space. Elegant colour and shading treatment bring to the deconstruction an architectural space.

Rand also is exploring de/re/constructions of the Supershape with his Doyormula and SuperFormula sets. The lush earthly colours of the latter set are well balanced and nicely composed. These pictures lend themselves well to Rorschach-like pattern recognition too, at times revealing building structures with embedded mechanisms, even insectoid activity.

Living Architecture and Parametric Abstraction

TheVeryMany – Marc Fornes

From Supershapes via the Superformula (see previous post) to models of iterative superstructures and algorithmic architecture…

Theverymany embraces the organic in multiform as a basis for architectural conjecture. Marc Fornes site contains pictures of computational botany arrived at from using the Rhino3 prototyping software, ‘his current challenge is the development of the first Self-supported large scale Carbon Fibre Roof Shell (3500m2).’

Theverymany is, as its name suggests, a speculative look into the world of organic structures made up of very many parts. Structures grown through applying plant modelling mathematics to produce rich complex architectural structures.

Similar terrains can be explored at Biothing, featured at NatureisData before. A quick re-cap at Biothing reveals ‘SWELLS – A prototype for dense highrising cityscapes’ where cells on an undulating façade follow emergent patterns.

Michael Hansmeyers online Portfolio, ‘Algorithms in Architecture’ contains some rare gems. Aside from some glassy and ceramic-like virtual models there are some interesting parametric visualisations of GIS data. The results are painting-like surfaces with more than a dash of Abstract Expressionism and a hint of glitch. The images have no connection with the actual terrain such as land borders, instead only the non-spatial attributes, such as land value or use, are visualised.

Other sparks flying off the wheel include the Lattice House at Emergentarchitecture, a space-aged crystal proposition of a building; Interactivearchitecture, Ruairi Glynn’s all-encompassing blog on tangible and physical spatial experiences; Mr Watson, Karen Martin’s excellent blog on the ‘integration of sensors, communications networks, display technologies, smart materials and microcomputers into the physical space’ The latter two are connected with Bartlett Architecture School with traces us back to the Computing for Emergent Architecture blog and all its tendrils.

SuperFormula 3D

Images from Johan Gielis’s paper on 2d Superformula

SuperFormula is a generic geometric transformation equation that encompasses a wide range forms found in nature, the transformation applied to a circle, for example, produces the archetypal shapes of starfish, shells and flowers. Johan Gielis’s paper on the Superformula, available here, is essential reading for the computational biologist and botanist. It’s cited literature reference list, alone, reads like a who’s who of the history of mathematical and computational modelling of morphogenesis.

The history of this kind of study goes back quite a long way, according to D’Arcy Thompson the relation between shapes of flowers and trigonometric functions was first postulated by the monk Grandus in the 17th Century. Along the way others, including Thompson in his classic work ‘On Growth and Form’, have pondered on the idea of a universal line of code to describe natural forms. A quote from ‘On Growth and Form’:

‘For the harmony of the world is made manifest in Form and Number, and the heart and soul and all poetry of Natural Philosophy are embodied in the concept of mathematical beauty’.

L-systems are a beautiful example of this kind of extreme economy of information to describe and convey very complex branching systems such as those found in plants and nerve pathways.

Recently Gielis’s ideas on the Superformula have been taken up by Paul Bourke and extruded into three dimensions; the natural world exists like this after all. Paul has written an OpenGL based software (shareware) for Mac OS-x and Linux enabling explorations into the world of the Supershape. Vincent Berthoux has contributed a Windows version, which uses a text config file to describe the Supershape – its free to download and also available at Paul’s site.

While I don’t always go with the philosophy of trying to reduce the (in my eyes) irreducible complexities of the ‘nature’ into a line of code I certainly do appreciate this kind of work. Outside of science, at the very least, it arms computational artisans with a vocabulary of algorithms for mimicking the some of nature’s greatest work. It can also allow us to apply these formulas to more practical disciplines such as architecture – which judging by a few hundred years of Euclidean obsession can only be a good thing!

It should comes as no surprise then that the boys at VVVV have been putting their beloved toolkit for video synthesis through its paces with vertex shader implementations of the Superformula, check out Sanch’s elegant series: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

I’ve been spending some time with VVVV recently, it’s a fantastic patch based environment ideal for fast prototyping of graphical/video based art/installations. Some more on 4V soon.

UPDATE: 020606 (pm)

Sanch (david dessens), who posted grabs of those wonderful Supershapes, kindly mailed me today with some extra info, he says:

‘…..The contributor of the superformula vertex shader is from tonfilm (tebjan halm) who has implemented the superformula equation, Gregsn (Sebastian Gregor) who has implement the calculi of the normal for shading, and me for debugging…

I will post the shader today in the wiki shader gallery, you will love it, possibilities are crazy……’

Flickr Fruits.

Series d, #5 – David Lu

I’ve been bookmarking Flickr collections over the last 6 months or so, here’s a selection pertaining to the subjects touched upon and loved by Dataisnature.

Jeoqubik’s Abstracts – which contain some nice MAX/MSP generative glitchwork such as Gelk16

Brevity’s 50 People See – resulting from a piece of specially written software that blends Flickr images which share the same tags.

YSOA 881a’s Cluster of computational/architectural schemas and models.

Flight404’s Videospiralfeedback.

Stephen Huber’s Livevideorotating – a set of blurred video vortex’s.

Drupels Videofeedback – contains a sequence of classic analogue video feedback species.

Eric Gjerde’s Origami – a huge repository containing pictures of fine handcrafted origami geometries and tessellations.

Dahveed’s Series a-d – a hybrid of computational and traditional sketches.

Sincretic’s No.Dsgn – Glitchy textures with an anti-design aesthetic.

Dodeckahedrons Things arranged – The interplay of arrangement.

Flikr’s Computer – A set of particle/attractor visualisations made with Agony – a drawing program. Also check out Zoom colour and Patterns.

Other oddities and curiosities include The Secret Art of Graffiti Removal, Arbortecture (Plants growing out of buildings) and the Camera Toss pool.