Why Fractals?

After reading an article called “How to create interesting work” I’ve decided to do the “Why” exercise.

Here’s what I’ve got.


-So, Why Fractals?

Because they’re pretty, fascinating, infinite…

-But Why Fractals?

As a kid I saw one of my father’s math books, with all the abstract geometric drawings, Mobius loops, Non-Euclidian planes… it made me wonder what’s it all about.

-But why Fractals?

Around 2008 I started playing with Apophysis, PC-based software for generating fractals, things just evolved from there – different software, processes, edits, prints and products based on fractals.

-Why Fractals though?

That’s how I started making art, I guess. I installed a fractal generating software, learned how to use it and started making cool images. I always wanted to (still am) learn how to draw and paint, but other things were more important. I wanted to make art and this was how I got to do it.

I used to draw some geometric and abstract designs which I thought were pretty cool. I love doing things by hand, but computers give you so much more creative freedom with a less of a learning curve. There are amazing apps for tablets that do stuff I’d have to study for years to do by hand. They are limited in some ways too, but as far as drawing and painting goes, they are getting pretty close. The only difference that might never be erased are the ways we interact with a digital medium. There is a distinct difference between, lets say, watercolor and pencil – type of paints or pencils, type of paper or canvas – all that is absent in a digital environment. We get the “effect” of watercolor without ever “getting wet”, not having to wait for the paint to dry, the feelings/sensations of holding a brush or touching the paper with it. But, on the other hand, we have the experience of working with a computer, or a mobile device – you can even make sketches on iWatch these days – touch screens and their “electrostatic” sensations (if you use your fingertips a lot you might start feeling uncomfortable tingling). Digital Pens and styluses help and they are so good these days (pricey too, but paints are as well). I would like to get some more digital art gear. But for now, let’s focus on fractals.

I feel there is something special hidden in Fractals, something we yet to understand. Something hinted by people who know a bit about them, or understand something intuitively. I try to do both – learn about and meditate on Fractals. For example, the fact that mathematically, they are infinite. Interesting fact, but what does it mean Physically (i.e. in our Manifested Reality, in some way or form)? To Explain that, we can, handily, use analogies with Nature, since manifestations of fractal properties are so prevalent there. Let’s take an imaginary bean and plant it in a small pot. It will sprout and grow, in a certain way – grasses and trees grow in a “straight line” segments, vines grow in spirals, mushrooms omni-directionally. Things to look for are, the branching patterns, leaf or petal patterns, root growth patters, fruit development, and many other patterns, which add up to the organism’s look in its many stages. The size of the pot will be one of the major defining factors on the length and fertility of the plant. But Gravity is just as important. No gravity will give us more of an omni-directional look, stronger gravity would produce shorter organisms. An Earth 1/2 of the current size would produce much taller trees and animals about 25% taller. Nutrients and energy sources are as much as important. So, here you have an Algorithm for a bean. If you could manipulate all of the above, or at least some of the parameters, you could grow a bonsai bean or a bean that would reach the sky all the way to the land of giants! At least theoretically. Recent example – our Industrial Agriculture, which attempts to alter the look and “usefulness” of plants through artificial nutrients, bug sprays and genetic modification (which is messing with the plant’s internal code). But it completely ignores the importance of soil, not just as dirt where you plant something, but as an ecosystem. Yet another Fractal property – as a system within a system – self-similarity. Roots are similar to the branches, big branches to small one’s. Trees to rivers, or snakes. Oranges to stars and planets and other round objects and organisms. Cells to galaxies. Humans are similar to other four-limbed animals, mostly to “higher” primates, a bit to lizards too 🙂 There are “Levels” in this Universe (and maybe other levels of Universes). 1.Subatomic particles and atoms and molecules, 2.cells and organisms, 3.planets and galaxies. There are levels before and after, below or above these. But we can’t know or see it all. Yet, through self-similarity we can guess the rest. A fractal, in its essence is what Buddhists or Hindu call the Circle of Recurrence, Samsara. Shipibo Indian’s ayahuaska patterns.The Mama-Matrix. Cosmic Goo. Prakriti. We see it, means we are not it. That’s Atman, Spirit, Higher Mind, the Observer. It is beyond any pattern or description, it is what observes all patterns and all descriptions. Personality belongs to the matrix of emotions and sensations and reactions of our body.

Then, there is all the stuff we can do with fractal – cellphone antennas, software algorithms, graphic art and music. Robotics are based on recursive logic, software is written using “classes”…

You see, I’m a philosopher by nature. Thinking about fractals always leads to the “Universe and Beyond.”

I guess, every good philosopher is looking for a Philosopher’s Stone or the Meaning of Life, or Magic.

And I guess every philosopher needs a portal.

Fractals are mine.

IMG 1821 - Why Fractals?

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