Fractal Art

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    Something about this peculiar art piece handing out in the desert caught my eye.

    I mumbled something about perceiving beauty in the emergent patterns derived from simple iterative algorithms (shells, organic growth, fractals, culture, evolution) as they represent embedded computational complexity - a virtuoso display not easily replicated (prior to computer art).

    The artiste next to me mentioned that Jackson Pollock’s appeal came from the higher dimension of his fractal patterns, compared to, say, children’s splatter.

    (full size of photo... to jump in the rabbit hole)

    js.brain, solerena, sbove, eric.agan, and 5 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. jurvetson 31 months ago | reply

      context.... hanging on the right... I don't know the artist

      I found some references to the Pollock studies:

      "The fractal dimensions of Pollock's earlier drip paintings, Taylor concluded, correspond closely to those found in nature. A 1948 painting entitled Number 14, for instance, has a fractal dimension of 1.45, similar to that of many coastlines.

      A skeptic might suggest that the effect is coincidental. But Pollock clearly knew what he was after: The later the painting, the richer and more complex its patterns, and the higher its fractal dimension. Blue Poles, one of Pollock's last drip paintings, now valued at more than $30 million, was painted over a period of six months and boasts the highest fractal dimension of any Pollock painting Taylor tested: 1.72. Pollock was apparently testing the limits of what the human eye would find aesthetically pleasing.

      To find out if Pollock's fractals account for his lasting appeal, Taylor next invented a device he calls the Pollockizer. It consists of a container of paint hanging from a string like a pendulum, which can be kicked into motion by electromagnetic coils near the top. As the container moves, a nozzle at the bottom flings paint on a piece of paper on the ground beneath it. By tuning the size and frequency of the kick, Taylor could make the Pollockizer's motions chaotic or regular, thereby creating both fractal and nonfractal patterns.

      When Taylor surveyed 120 people to see which patterns they preferred, 113 chose the fractal patterns.

      The results, published in Nature last March, were conclusive: Subjects preferred fractal dimensions between 1.3 and 1.5, regardless of their origin, roughly 80 percent of the time.

      Taylor is so confident of his method that he says he can date any Pollock canvas to within a year by analyzing its fractal dimension.

      According to James Wise, an adjunct professor of environmental sciences at Washington State University and one of Taylor's collaborators, those preferences may date back to our earliest ancestors. On the African savanna they could tell whether the grass was ruffled by the wind or by a stalking lion by tuning in to variations in fractal dimensions. But in settings with high fractal dimensions (a densely branching rain forest, for instance), early humans would have been more vulnerable—and thus more uneasy. "Perhaps our appreciation of lower-dimension fractal patterns isn't so much about beauty," Taylor says, "but more a survival instinct."

      And that reminded me of my earlier post on the atavistic archetypes of beauty.

    2. js.brain 31 months ago | reply

      Very interesting! would like to read more about this topic!

    3. vennettaj 31 months ago | reply

      i think you can get your horoscope right with this one

    4. subarcticmike 31 months ago | reply

      hmm a set of 12
      wait a minute
      it's a chronograph!

      if only watches came like that

    5. jerryfi_99 31 months ago | reply

      Pollock's works are an acquired taste, I think. Took me quite a while to "appreciate" them, and I'm still not sure how much I've been influenced by realized prices. Much prefer some of Neiman's stuff (a fan since the '60s). But for $30M, I think I'd go out and buy a canvas, a couple of gals of enamel, and give it a toss. YMMV, everyone's a critic, and there's no accounting for taste. And I've been called a Philistine by the best. ;-)

      Interesting study correlating fractal dimensions to Pollock's work. Never thought of that.

    6. Jef Poskanzer 31 months ago | reply

      I splatter-paint my own sweatshirts and I find them aesthetically pleasing.

    7. solerena 31 months ago | reply

      One of curiosities, interesting as always.

    8. jurvetson 31 months ago | reply

      — Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder... an emergent property of iterative algorithms. =)

      .— Can you imagine that wrist watch? It would be a turbo tourbillon.

      — Here is a very cool, but manic, short video on perceiving patterns in beauty and fractal forms

    9. sbove 31 months ago | reply

      Hehheh. The guy in the video (Jason Silva) is just about exactly as manic (or fast paced) as a Steve Jurvetson talk I once witnessed at TED ;-)

      This art piece is exceptionally intricate. I just took a look at the full res file...fantastic. Who is the artist?

      Had not seen the Taylor study on fractals in Pollack...I would be shocked if it was intentional/calculated on Pollack's part ("Gee, I think I'll do a new piece based on a 1.57 fractal") but it most certainly was instinctive/intuitive...which is indicative of the "emergent" harmonics/fractals/symmetries in most works of art that find wide appreciation: synchronicity with the "emergent iterative algorithm" that is us & everything we experience...

    10. tribe13 31 months ago | reply

      the artist is andrei ( heyoka) olenov....
      he is available here...

      hope that helps .. i think the tag was ripped off during the week sometime.. have a good one...

    11. sbove 31 months ago | reply

      Thanks Tribe13! (SJ: I emailed the Fractal Nation folks this URL saying "who did this amazing work?!"

    12. sbove 31 months ago | reply

      Here's a better link to Andrei's personal site and art page (he is also a musician/dj):

    13. Tomi Tapio 31 months ago | reply

      Really, a photo of someone else's art. *shakes head*

    14. jurvetson 20 months ago | reply

      Yes, it's called blogging. =) To start a conversation about the art..

    15. darla96 17 months ago | reply

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    16. Princess 812 17 months ago | reply

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