Le Confident

Ideas tête-à-tête

Generative Art 2

Yesterday I posted about generative art, especially videos picturing abstract forms that react in some thought-through way to music, the listener or just the programmer-artist. This morning I started a course on dynamics over at edX and because I’m always interested in those difficult things that lie way beyond my capabilities, I googled, what artistic minds can do with fluid dynamics.

Fluid dynamics are essentially what governs the motion of flames and water, every gas and liquid really. It is a very complicated field, in that it requires the approximative solutions of non linear differential equations and many of them. But this is also the reason for it’s high artistic potential because it shows complex, fractal and sometimes chaotic behaviour and it’s all the more impressive, when it is being mastered in simple, elegant ways.

This might also account for the fact, that most artists in this field spat out by google, are in fact programmers implementing some computer-graphical sorcery.
The first artist I want to show you, is Kim Pimmel (an unfortunate name from a german-native perspective 🙂 ) – he makes deeply zoomed short films of the behaviour of liquids. In this example, you have soap, food color and a ferromagnetic ink:

Check out his vimeo profile:

vimeo http://vimeo.com/kimpimmel

Next I want to mention Mark Stock, whose work I touched briefly upon yesterday. He’s a scientist in liquid dynamics and also creates videos to show certain physical principles. In this case, the subject is the Rayleigh-Taylor instability, which describes how a fluid containing liquids of different densities mixes. This is also the reason why gas clouds in astronomy take the shapes of filaments or the famous pillars of creation:

Next is Fabian Oefner, whom I discovered over at “fuckyeahfluiddynamics“. His art is a combination of detailed liquid behavor and high speed photography, which we talked about earlier this week. Here is a sample. It is unfortunately also an advertisement:

Go and see his site in any case, well designed and enjoyable work: http://fabianoefner.com/

While researching I came around the fractalforums , learning, that the navier-stokes formulas employed to compute fluid dynamics are fractal in nature. From there, the way led me to a blog called algorithmic-worlds, which I also added to our blogroll, because of a vast and knowledgeable collection of all kinds of generative art and because of the owners original fractal artworks. Especially worth mentionning is the way in which he presents his work. His images are shown as gigaimages, that means extremely high resolution, which you can zoom into a number of times, thereby experiencing some of the iterative charme of fractals. See this for example:

S. Monnier Fractal zoomable

Back at the fractalforum I caught a video about their latest fractal creation contest. Back when I’d first been interested in the topic, artistic fractals were essentially 2D. Now this video is build on mandelbulb, a program which you can download here, that is build on the idea of calculating the mandelbrot set in an arbitrary number of dimensions. See the results!

Tom Lowe, the man behind this idea, also went on to devise a cellular automaton (like the Game of Life) where the cells don’t react only to their 2D neighbours, but also to neighbouring cells along the third axis:

For me this is very exciting, as we saw in an earlier post, that the 2D Game of Life was programmed by Paul Rendell to perform simple computational tasks. The same would be possible here, only that a 3D computer approaches even more the concept of a virtual intelligence existing through and as the temporal and spatial distribution of the elements of a complex system. Artistically this has been used by Jonathan McCabe. He devised a number of superimposed layers of patterns, where all together cause a controlled change, of an image. Here an example with the Mona Lisa:

I really urge you to hop over to algorithmic-worlds and browse through the array of amazing artists there. The last one I want to pick out for you right now is Emma McNally. She draws by hand, but her work is evidently based on some geometric concept or the algorithms of celestial mechanics. Take a look:

McNally 1

McNally 1

McNally 2

McNally 2

algorithmic art mcnally generative art

McNally 3

Emma McNally

Okay. We started this post with fluid mechanics and we’ll end there, too. See the work of greek sculptor Manolis Marikakis. He creates fountains, which manipulate water in very strict, very elegant ways. This is really an artist playing with physics to show beauty by mastery: floating dishes, water blown into circles, optical lenses formed by water: here you go, a youtube tour and his homepage:

Manolis Maridakis

But I didn’t find an artist quite as accomplished as nature is: She can form fire by circular acceleration. A fire froms, sucks in air, which turns around it and becomes faster, the closer it gets, because angular momentum has to be concerved. Thereby it creates a coat of a fast moving vortex around the fire, which then takes the form of a tornado!

See also:

An instructive undergraduate paper on art and fluid dynamics





International Fractal Art Symposium Spain, June 2014


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