Archives for the month of: January, 2013

“Fractals are not just artificial constructs, they shape us and the world we live in.” (Gleick – 1987).

Fractals for me, explain all natural phenomenon. While fractal geometry was conceived at the beginning of the 20th century, it was not until the advancement of the super computer that we have been able to see the complete implication and brilliance of fractals. I don’t claim to be an authority or expert on the subject, but I’ll try and explain here what little I know.

The notion behind fractals is moderately humble and apparent when described simply. But the arithmetic used to cultivate those concepts is not as easy. A fractal is a geometric figure with two distinct properties. Primarily, it is Irregular, fractured or fragmented. Moreover, it is Self-similar; that is, the figure appears similar no matter how great the scale of magnification. These objects display self-similar structure over an extended, but finite, scale range.

Alex Grey

Alex Grey

Benoit Mandelbrot, now known as the ‘father or fractals’, devised the term fractal to define such figures, stemming from the Latin word “fractus” meaning broken, fragmented, or irregular. He also outlined astonishing parallels in appearance concerning some fractal sets and numerous natural geometric patterns. Consequently, the term “natural fractal” refers to natural phenomena that are similar to fractal sets, such as the path followed by a dust particle as it bounces about in the air.

“Fractal Geometry plays two roles. It is the geometry of deterministic chaos and it can also describe the geometry of mountains, clouds and galaxies.” – (Benoit Mandelbrot – 1984)

The majority of objects in nature do not adhere to simple traditional geometric forms. Clouds, trees, and mountains typically do not resemble circles, triangles, or squares.  Within the natural world there are no straight lines or smooth edges. A sunflowers pattern for growth, the faultless symmetry of a microbe, the striped coat of a zebra, the barreling of ocean waves, or the harmonized turns and swoops of a flock of starlings twirling amongst trees prior to landing on a telephone wire. How can all those individuals part of the flock evade collisions or confrontations with their neighbors? How do they orchestrate these elegant, precise and instantaneous movements in such a sizeable group?These are a small number of thousands of additional examples are the kaleidoscope of patterns and forms that nature gifts us over a lifecycle.

mountain fractal   4497160728_bf070998f2   wave fractal   FractalClouds

  bacteria fractal   sun_small    abstract-zebra-stripes-colour-black-size-8774-8004_medium    starlings_flock450

Take a tree, for example. Preference a specific branch and examine it thoroughly. Then select a collection of leaves on that branch. In Chaology (the study of chaos) all three of the matters described – the tree, the branch, and the leaves – are identical. For many, the term chaos insinuates randomness, unpredictability and possibly even untidiness. Chaos is actually extremely structured and adheres to certain patterns and algorithms. The complications occur in finding these elusive and sophisticated patterns. One purpose of examining chaos through fractals is to grasp the patterns in the dynamical organization found in nature that superficially appear unpredictable and incomprehensible.  To many Chaologists, the examination of chaos and fractals is beyond just an innovative and fresh field of science that fuses mathematics, theoretical physics, art, and computer science – it is a revolution. It is the breakthrough of a new geometry, one that helps us in defining and understanding the infinite universe we live in; one that is in constant motion, not as static depictions in textbooks. Today, fractal geometry has increasing implementations and applications, from predicting stock market prices to making new discoveries in theoretical physics.

Fractal Trees

Timm Dapper

Mathematicians have attempted to describe fractal shapes for over one hundred years, but with the processing power and imaging abilities of modern computers, fractals have enjoyed a new popularity because they can be digitally rendered and explored in all of their fascinating beauty. However beautiful these renderings are, for me they don’t compare to fractals that form in nature. Are visual intakes are saturated with the computer generated images representing fractals, so much so that for many they define fractal geometry. I feel that a reason for creating my video may be an attempt to disperse the brilliance of fractal geometry.

                                                                               Tiera4414aa    pastel-fractals-background
Computer generated Fractals

For a clear introduction to fractals (including an interesting fractal-generating application for Macintosh), go to: fracintro.

On receiving the brief to create personal work to later be exhibited I immediately feel it is necessary to create a body of work  that engages its audience with an increased interactivity. After previously experimenting with stop motion imagery, I have decided to adopt the method of capturing images, along with others in creating a video composed solely of still imagery. The concept for the video follows my dissertation hypothesis, exploring the aesthetic beauty of naturally forming fractals.  The investigation into the natural world is a reoccurring element throughout the majority of my personal work, however the choice of concept is in an attempt to connect my practical and more my more problematic theory workings.

In visualizing this concept I propose to create a fracture and fragmented stop motion video containing images of the dispersion of inks in water as a base layer. The images of the inks in dispersing in the water, forming its own natural fractal shapes will become the backdrop to which I will blend images of actual natural forming fractals, (Peacock feathers, spider webs and the branching in tree growth.) This imagery will be made using numerous techniques, predominantly time-lapse Photography and Incredibly high-speed photography.


The Mandelbrot Set Iconic Fractal

This stop motion video will not only be accompanied to an appropriate piece of music, but will however be constructed around the music in a fractal fashion. Many composers and compositions implement fractal-based timing within the construction of there music. The music should evoke strong emotions, with a slow uncluttered intro, leading to a dramatic peak, finally slowly working itself down and fading out. I envisage the music this ‘progressive’ in an attempt to engulf the viewer along with myself in to the ‘narrative’ as I wish to express through the video my own strong and personal ideals regarding the concept.

In the creation of this project I will be undertaking a significant amount of research immediately. Primarily regarding the core concept of fractals. This will initially include the history of fractals to the implementation of fractal geometry today, with everything in-between. Following the primary fractal research will be investigations into other artist working either with similar concepts or techniques. From traditional greats such as Da Vinci and Eadweard Muybridge who’s studies in motion have be c a consistent influence upon my own work.


Da VinciStudies in the Rules of Proportion          


Muybridge ­ – Studies in Motion


To more modern unknown artist such as Perry Burge and Eshel Ben Jacob who beautified photos of bacteria growing in Petri dishes with a bit of color and shading to create an amazing collection, which is rich in natural forming fractal geometry. Finally furthering my research to the search for natural forming fractal elements to develop upon in the creation of the narrative of the video. This portion of the research I envisage to be highly visual.


Perry Burge– Diserpersion of Ink 


                  Eshel Ben JacobBacteria Art

Whilst creating this project, equipment’s and technologies will be employed many of which I have not used before.  Predominantly the majority of the imagery will be shot on a Canon Eos 40D, however I will be utilizing the versatility of the new GoPro 3. The tin camera is predominantly for recording straight HD quality video; it also can shoot bust images of around 20 images a second. This function along with the detail in which the camera is 100% waterproof makes the GoPro incredibly suitable for the aesthetics I visualize for the finished project.  Regarding the technologies and software I am likely to encounter would of course Photoshop. This will be used in the editing of each image ready to be montaged into the individual frame. When each frame is created another software from Adobe called Premiere Pro, which is a editing software for moving image that a have minimal experience with will be employed to seamlessly stich each frame together and to the selected music. Much other software has been suggested to me and which may be called upon, these range from After-effects to Flash.  The visuals are not the only aspect of the work that will be editing, the music will also need to trimmed and cut in certain places, in doing this I am thinking of utilizing a free software called Audacity. Having never edited music before and after a little research around the area, this small but powerful program should be sufficient to my needs.

The problem I am likely to encounter in the creation of the project will primarily be due to the sheer scale of the work. Working with a high volume of images, to which I have estimated numbers will be well into the thousands, the utter amount of images will be overwhelming. If we say the length of the video would be 3.30 minutes (average song Length) then we have 198 seconds of video, and if there are 25 frames per second then the minimal amount of will be 4950, images for the base layer of ink alone. All this editing with the having to coherently edit the whole video to the chosen track I foresee becoming a sizeable setback in my timeframe.