Thursday, September 07, 2006

Seeking for a New Space on Fractals

When Manet painted The Fifer a new kind of representation has been brought to visual perception of the space in our culture. There a flat space rendered without shadows appeared “like in a deck of playing cards”, as has been said by an art critic. This return to a pictorial space similar of the pre-Renaissance became one of the main interests of most of the 20th Century artists like Picasso, Braque, Matisse, Mondrian, Klee and Miro among many.

A key point for some of these artists has been the interest for the far cultures of Asia, like the Japanese, and other cultures from non-Éuropean world, like African and the cultures from the islands of Oceania, where the space relies basically on the integration of graphical elements on the plane of the picture. The image is created with simple shapes and basic color relationships. The perception matters on considering the whole space, the whole pictorial surface “at once”, as the dominant “thing” the viewer is going to see. If the graphic element is isolated than the image will lose its impact and power of persuation.

Among the best examples of graphics are characteres and other forms of writing like we see in those “not to far alive” cultures of the North America (Navajo and many “prairie´s cultures” ,to the Canadian Northwest coast´s cultures, where today is the British Columbia); at Middle America, like the Youcatan´s cultures (the Maya Empire) and at South America (Inca´s Empire and some people of the forests). These cultures demonstrate how graphics have been intensively used. They also show how rich and varied basic shapes can be and how these variations of simple geometric repeatitions effect how we receive the meaning and mainly, how form and presentation come together. Could not be different if we consider that these works weren´t “art” in the same sense of today. Mostly they were related with the magic proprieties of lines and colors and the patterns were transmited to initiates from a generation to another.

Here we must to make a stop to remind that we are dealing with a long tradition of making marks that carry meanings. In this sense the recent destruction and smugglering of thousands of Mesopotamic clay tablets at the Bagda Archeological Museum must be complaint due they are among the earliest examples of mankind writings.

Where can we get themes and ideas for our modern graphics with meanings? I would say that everywhere in the history of visual culture “written” with images made out of strokes and filling. For us today, the “inspiration” is not limited to comics, cartoons and publicity. Sources extend from the graphic art of the cave´s men about 50,000 (guessing) years ago to contemporary street graffitis. Just a detail brought by the Italian writter Italo Calvino on a text in his book “Sand´s Collection” : the walls of the ancient Rome were fully covered with pornographic grafittis. The whole city was nastily “written”. Very inspiring!

But the list still continues: experimental typographic poems of the Dadaism to the numbers and letters in paintings, drawings and prints of pop artists like Frank Stella and Jasper Johns.

These are some few examples I can remember now. And these examples are comming to my mind after viewing some new works done with Mark Townsend’s recent project. I prefer to leave the commentary with Ron Barnett:

“In a related matter, Mark's Sprite program is integrating a whole world of images into fractal art. Kerry did some work along these lines a number of years ago, and Mark Hammond's BringItIn was another step in this direction. I think we are entering an expanded era for algorithmic art with the integration of several algorithmic types (traditional, IFS, raytracing, etc).”

Without going to far with my thoughts, I would say that the swirling eyes Mark is showing here appears to be the beginning of something new, perhaps a synthesis of fractals embodied by facts and matters of life and the merging inside a long cultural tradition. Let us see what we´re going to do with so many of that.


Blogger Tim said...

I have always thought that "native" or aboriginal art was important to study because it represents a different way of seeing and in most cases a completely original style. Native art has evolved in isolation from the major cultural groups of today and represents the development of unique styles and traditions. No one else in the world makes art like that.

The Aztec and Mayan sculptures that decorated religious temples would even today, in my opinion, be considered great works of art representing an enormous amount of creativity.

I think Native art in the past was not taken seriously because the cultures that made it were not as technologically advanced as ours --the people were thought of as "primitive." But in the area of art they were our equals, and maybe in some instances made even greater achievements.

Anyone who likes art and looks at these things will see it immediately.

9/07/2006 9:54 AM

Blogger Keith said...

Mark's Sprite program? What is that?

9/07/2006 7:01 PM

Blogger Mark Townsend said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9/07/2006 8:00 PM

Blogger Mark Townsend said...

That's something I plan to release on the weekend. It's another tool for importing images into Ultra Fractal. With it you'll be able to create orbit traps with arbitrary shapes based on images. I've already used it to create a banner for this blog. Other examples are the banner that I'll use for the program's Web site, and a couple of image (including the eye) posted on my own

9/07/2006 8:04 PM

Blogger Mark Townsend said...

(It seems you don't try to make the last word of a comment a link.)

9/07/2006 8:07 PM

Blogger Keith said...

Cool. Almost everything that I have done for the last several weeks has had an imported image. I figured that "Bring it in" wasn't being used enough and it was time to hit it hard and see what came of it. Take a look at my Renderosity gallery if you are interested. It's in the links list.

It looks like there is more to Sprite than importing images. I'm looking forward to trying it.

9/08/2006 1:43 AM

Blogger John S. Meade said...

Laurie and Lou are ltime companions. She came up with "this is the time -- and this the >>record<< of the time. And here's a good spot to picnic ala Ada (or Ardor) by Nabakov first and then get back to Guido's TT (thought transference). "This is the name and this is how we write the name (How can you get any pudding if you don't eat your meat?).

Writing is something every boy (who) deserves favor learns as a matter of wrote.

But hooboy there is such wondrous stuff in taking pen to paper, or in some sanhedrin cases -- a stick to sand or if you happen to be a Welsh Inventor-God, blood to water. (Holding the Mike out toward the audience: "But I Digress!!")

Today the act of writing is nothing compared to getting the sandstones to cry out. But we do that ever so casually (causally? -- you decide) too. (Hint: Si chips in DSP processors)

Naming is the only thing more magical than writing. Just because we all do it today so effortlessly doesn't make it any less awesome.

Can't figure a clever enough way to put this in here so here it is.

Before there was Islamic Calligraphy there were the knots of Math Ap Mathonwy. And look at that B's and G's! A guy with Math in his name not once but twice!! (Jeepers!
what a square!). Ya gotta love that!

And who knows maybe eons from now somebody will discover that all this fractal algorithmic colored doodling we doodle lee doodlely do and labor so diligently and lovingly on and on and on is merely pictographic explanations received from our subconscious.

Sometimes, like when I contemplate what a centipede must think of a crop circle, I despair. O that we all could stop being "Man the Wise" and start being "Man the Transconscious". From there it'd be so easy to get on with the show. But for now we sit figetting in our seats through the economic-political-tribal-warfare-against-the -globalization-initiative commercials.

I wasn't too happy about the homoginization of America. None of the troops in Iraq refer to each other as "Jersey" or Dakota" like they did in WW2.
(But they do use terms like "homey" and "bro" -- so there's some advancement there). (I'm pro Dixie Chicks -- Toby needs to get a real job (like being shot at instead of raking in Million$)

But I digress. (Maybe it's just that those observations are slower to go to infinity.)

9/08/2006 8:53 AM

Blogger Damien Jones said...

Mark, Sprite looks really interesting. In fact, that logo looks like you have a really, really high-res image. Do you import JPEGs? GIFs? What's the maximum resolution? Is there a limit on color depth?

Inquiring minds want to know.

9/08/2006 11:52 AM

Blogger Mark Townsend said...

The image I used for the Sprite banner was 660x286. The maximum size probably depends on the amount of memory in your computer, and your patience. It can load JPG, BMP and PNG images. It uses 24 bit images. Of course, I'll have more to say when I release it...hopefully very soon.

9/08/2006 5:08 PM

Blogger Michael said...

The timing of this is crazy. Mark, you may be interested in what has become of your other little app.

9/09/2006 12:12 AM

Blogger Mark Townsend said...

There's something I never expected to see: imported images in Apophysis!

Sprite is out now by the way

9/09/2006 5:19 AM


Post a Comment

<< Home