Is there pain in radio waves?

Download parameter file “dune01.zar”

Is there pain in radio waves?
or somewhere,
suffering in silence,
between the woven wires
a place of hurt?

Download parameter file “dune02.zar”

Who can say
that there is no range like the Andes?
a sanctuary,
electronic oasis
where the troubled
come and wonder
beneath the woven roof of sky.

Download parameter file “dune03.zar”

Or is it some savage sea
rising and falling?
where the shipwrecked and the separated
gather together
awaiting the wave
that will transmit them home.


May 12, 2006

Dot World

A new neighbourhood in Sudzy-ville.

Download parameter file “dot02.zar”

I like mechanical looking stuff. The punched-out, assembly line patterns that foliate our modern living lands.

What makes these bubble balls even more interesting is their mirage-like nature. Zoom in and the interesting sea of dots doesn’t look closer, it rearranges itself.

Even changing the size of the image window causes a near complete change of thing you were looking at.

Just to prove to myself that I’m not losing my mind, I saved the same image twice. The one above is not anti-aliased and the one below is. That’s the only difference.

Download parameter file “dot02aa.zar”

Normally, anti-aliasing just smoothes everything, especially curved structures which tend to be rendered as jaggy, stair stepped, shapes in our squared-off digital medium.

Fiddling with the “Bay Factor” value in the fractal parameter dialog helps to adjust the density of the dots and the size. So does adding more steps to the color values.

What is “Bay Factor?” Just another number to fiddle with. Who cares? Turn the dials and see what happens. It’s not a nuclear reactor.

When I look at these dotty, pearl-pocked images, I see something vintagesque. They have a 1920s, futuristic, bakelite, telephone switchboard, Buck Rogers, Metropolis, I-don’t-know-what, look to them.

I have no right to put my name on these things.

Or approach them with a frame.

Should my shadow fall across them,
have I not blasphemed?
Are they not defiled,
These noble things I could never make,
Or even paint from memory?

Surely I am a dirty rag
an unclean leprous thing,
When I try to smear my name on them
and pretend I own these things.

That they have let me look at them
and not blinded me with fire
I should consider mercy
Instead I soon conspire
to post them to my blog
I am like a liar.

Alright. Rhyme of the Fractal Mariner…

May 10, 2006

Land without music

Some things are everywhere
like drawing and carving
folktales and pottery

There is ground
there is sky
over here
and over there

If I went far away
and said to the people I met:
With my finger
I make a picture
in the sand
They would smile
and say,
we do that too

Fire and make-up
is like air and water
in the places of the world

But there is a land
without music,
where sound is scoured
and pale

Though seeds are planted
and singers arrive
their songs shrivel on the shore
and music will not grow

It has been a long time now
and still they say
draw us a picture
of this “music”


May 8, 2006

Fractal Orbits

Once in a while I like to walk up a tall hillside, sit down and reflect on what I see.

Download parameter file “orange01.zar”

Something that has puzzled me lately is the fractal art contest with Benoit Mandelbrot in Spain. It’s a great thing for the genre of Fractal Art, but it just isn’t my thing and I keep wondering why.

For starters, I wouldn’t even have heard about it if it wasn’t for an email from a friend about another fractal project. Why did something so big and bright not appear on my horizon?

Submissions to the contest ended May 1st. I never even thought of submitting anything. The required dimensions of the submissions seemed foreign and distant to me.

I’ve never made images that big even for the purpose of anti-aliasing. I’m not even sure if the programs I use will allow such sizes. I didn’t even try to find out, either.

Download parameter file “orange02.zar”

If that is Fractal Art, then what am I making? What does that make me? Where on their map is my little town?

Don’t get me wrong, I like Ultra Fractal stuff. It’s very rich and yes, it looks polished and professional. It’s the sort of stuff that really should be hanging in a gallery, winning contests and presented to the world as Fractal Art, or at least at the head of the parade.

Most of the great fractal artists choose Ultra Fractal to work with and I think it’s because the program allows them to compose complex, stereophonic symphonies of fractal imagery. I’ve seen many of these concert hall images and some of them are my all-time favorites.

Download parameter file “orange03.zar”

I think this contest will, among other things, produce a fine showcase of Fractal Art to attract the attention of the public and give them a high class introduction to the artform.


Although all fractal art revolves around the same thing: fractal math; it doesn’t all follow the same orbit. Some of us are on Mars.

We use Martian programs, Martian dimensions, Martian colors and do Martian things with our alien pictures.

We don’t do contests and there’s not enough of us to form a committee or even a webring. In fact, come to think of it, I could be the only one on this planet.

Or asteroid. Maybe I’m way out on an asteroid

May 5, 2006


Download parameter file “shreddy02.zar”

In Sergio Leone’s masterpiece, The Good The Bad and the Ugly, Eli Walach (aka Tuco, the Rat) says to Clint Eastwood, “There are two kinds of spurs in this world, my friend. Those that come in through the door, and those that come in throught the window!

Well, there are two kinds of website people. Those who are satisfied with a design that works and those who want to keep revising it.

I’m of the latter kind, if you know what “latter” refers to. I’m trying to become like the former and concentrate on the content rather than the way it’s displayed.

A few days ago I went back and read some of my archives saved from when I still had the standard two column blog format. That looks better, I thought.

Of course that’s exactly the opposite of what I thought when I switched to the current one column format.

I don’t know why, but the two column thing just seemed more energetic and inspiring and functional. Which is just what I said when I dumped it in favour of the current style.

Download parameter file “shreddy03.zar”

I then began to come up with a redesigned blog style. Why doesn’t everyone do this every three months? Don’t they care?

After 15 minutes of fiddling with the style sheet and rediscovering how exactly two separate columns are made with a style sheet (float: right/left) I asked myself if I really wanted to give up several hours of creative time moving around the virtual furniture of my internet living room. Did I?


So I’m sticking with this single column layout because it’s no longer as much fun to rewrite a style sheet as it is to write a new post.

For those of you who are contemplating a major blog renovation project, I suggest you just pick a plain template with neutral colors and get back to posting. It’s the words and pictures that are important, not the frame.

Well, forget all that. I’ve gone and redesigned it anyhow. Maybe the frame is important. I wonder how much writing has been inspired by a nice pen or a crisp piece of paper, or a comfortable chair, or a nice view out the window, or the page design of a blog… What a mysterious thing the human mind is.

May 3, 2006

Spring in fractal land

Time for a drive in the country…

Download parameter file “bug01.zar”

Next to the joy of seeing some really exotic insect fluttering around a light bulb outside on a summer’s evening, is the thrill of checking out the crushed bugs on the car’s radiator grill after a long drive.

That’s the first thing that hit me (no pun intended) when I saw this poor mandelbrot beetle on the radiator of my fractal truck.

In the same way as the Amazon rainforest has been invaded with logging trucks and the crude ways of industry, so to has fractal land fallen beneath the crushing tires of greedy souvenier hounds and well meaning people like myself.

Let me tell you about the creature that came to dinner one night in Trinidad, down in the Caribbean.

Download parameter file “moth01.zar”

We were visiting the grandmother of my wife’s friend down in the southern, rural part of the island. The house was at the top of a forested hill. It was dark now and we were eating in an upstairs room with a large window.

It’s not uncommon down there for windows not to have screens, as this window didn’t. There was also a single bright light on the wall near the table. The walls were painted white.

Does this sound like a great way to catch flying insects at night? Strangely enough, we were not being bothered by anything as we ate dhall, rice and bhagi (yellow split pea, rice and spinach).

I thought it was a bird. It sounded like a mini-helicopter as it hit the wall and landed on the table beside my plate.

Although I am a rugged man, the sudden appearance of this flying lobster sprawled across the table startled me. I think it was my wife’s friend who belted it first. She’d been here to visit her grandmother often.

The creature was barely stunned and took off briefly, crashing behind my chair. Regaining my courageous northern character, I stepped on it. On some of it.

Download parameter file “mandel01.zar”

My wife’s friend beat him a few more times with a rolled up magazine my wife gave her. Me being the closest, and having the largest feet, I moved in like a matador to deliver the coup de grace with my shoed foot.

Clearly dead, or at least neutralized, we began to wonder what kind of insect he was. My wife’s friend, being a science major, could have identified him but he was too badly thrashed.

Tossed out the window, he was large enough to make an audible noise when he hit the ground.

There were bats in our bedroom and a large frog who came to visit. I slept okay that night because they told me there were never any snakes around at this time of year.

May 1, 2006

Fractal Oddities

I’m not talking people. I mean the sort of, “Oh, isn’t that interesting” type of image that otherwise might just get deleted.

Clouds can look like animals and a fractal can look like….

Download parameter file “chairface01.zar”

…a chair.

You’ve probably already looked at the next picture and are reading this afterwards. That’s what I always do when I’m “reading” a blog with illustrations.

This Chinese vase or ceramic container raises some interesting questions about fractals and artistic design.

Download parameter file “ming01.zar”

It’s kind of freaky isn’t it? It even has handles in the right place and a chinese-looking roof-lid on the top.

The bottom has this sort of snakey or scaly dragon-shaped leg and foot thing to it. The handles on the side near the top appear to have rings dangling from a dragon’s mouth.

If you notice the reddish patches on the sides of the vase, they suggest the “object” is eight-sided, which is not too far off from many authentic chinese designs.

If at this point you think I’m lying, I suggest you load the parameter file into Tiera-Zon 2.7 and see for yourself. Try a different formula and you may discover another ceramic or cloisonne wonder.

Or maybe something more serious with less of a side-show freak appeal.

But back to the serious fractal questions. How could this fractal generated thing look so much like a chinese vase?

I think it’s because many naturally occuring organic shapes have a fractal related mechanism in their growth. Probably something like the shape of a common protien which is “iterated” by being linked into strands or combined to form a crystal like form. These in turn have been incorporated by artisans into their man-made creations.

The vase is not too far off from a coconut (with the husk) with lizard legs. Or a large corn (maise) seed cradled by a snake (and wearing the roof of a pagoda as a hat).

I think this means that the more complex fractal generators get and the futher they go by incorporating chaotic variables (to imitate real world environments), the more fractal imagery will resemble the art we’ve seen as well as producing artistic variations we could never have imagined: surreal; more than natural; or “hyper-natural.”

Hypernatural. I’ve just coined a new universe… on a Friday afternoon…

April 28, 2006

Fractals in Space

Or, Mandelbrot Pilots and the Bubbleships from the Unknown.

Download parameter file “circle05.zar”

Forgive me for handing out weblinks and talking like a normal blog but variety can be a good thing and I stumbled on a really great blog/e-column/website yesterday.

I forget what it was…

Download parameter file “circle03.zar”

Just joking, Digital Rising is a fairly newish blog (5 posts but spread over several months) but looks to be a real goldmine for people interested in Digital Art in the context of other artforms.

I don’t know much about the guy (Bruce Price) who writes it, but from looking at the material, he is a good artist (dedicated, talented) and also a good writer.

Download parameter file “circle07.zar”

I don’t really need to say much more since this is the internet and you can click on the link and check it out for yourselves, but here’s a few thoughts.

This is a guy who is excited about what computers can create. I’m talking here about artwork (or imagery if you prefer not to use the “art” word) that is made with computer programs and not merely converted into a digital format like digital photography is.

Download parameter file “circle08.zar”

Digital photography is just Photography in digital form, but my fractal images here are “photographs” of digitally created content. Digitally-made not digitally stored. Digitally indigenous not digitally converted. We etherize the artwork, saw it in half, and out pours pixels, not paint or canvas or bronze or ceramic or mountain landscapes. It’s got digital DNA. We follow the artwork as it leaves the gallery, sneak up from behind and put a gun to its head and ask, “Who are you!” and it responds with incomprehensible hexidecimal code.

The artwork is hit by a car while crossing the street and seriously injured. Rushed to the hospital, the doctor shouts, “He needs blood, QUICK!” and the nurse rushes in with a laptop computer and plugs a USB cable into the artwork’s arm.

The gallery is about to open for the big digital art show. It’s time for the artwork to get out of its chair, stop sipping cappuchino and reading the newspaper and get back up on the wall where it’s supposed to be. The curator walks past and whacks the artwork on the back of the head with his knuckles. The artwork calmly walks across the room and takes its place on the wall -didn’t feel a thing!

That’s Digital Art.

Anyhow Digital Rising gets my golden link award which has only been awarded once before to Blog with a View and added to my link list up top. So it’s a big deal and not just another blog.

April 26, 2006

What is Algorithmic Art?

Download parameter file “beaded01.zar”

alien paintbrush

astounding collisions between machine and canvas

craters of creativity

untouched and untouchable

Download parameter file “beaded02.zar”

the undrawable

without imagination, beyond imagination

the artist as theif

robot savant

the beauty of brainless thought

Download parameter file “bulb01.zar”

a leak in the fourth dimension


cast iron canvas

masterpiece factory

diesel powered painter

computers with hands

Download parameter file “bulb02.zar”


astonishing scratches

collected not made

portrait of the artist as a rivet

off the floor, onto the wall

Download parameter file “bulb03.zar”

Jack’s other beanstalk

new frames for new wine

artist as scavenger

digital new world


April 24, 2006

They ran off to Venus

April 21, 2006