25 August 2005

Photocopier fractals

I found a link to the portfolio of Noah T. Vawter via the Hi-Res! blog. Vawter states, "In Heinz-Otto Peitgen et al's The Science of Fractal Images, a theoretical method of generating fractals is described using a photocopier. It's more than a useful way to think about them, however. You can actually make fractals this way."

Definitely worth checking out, if not just to check out the coolest marriage of analogue office fun with Timothy Leary-inspired wallpaper patterns. The whole idea of fractals has aided me tremendously in my own personal symbolic and/or structural understanding of the universe. It's also eased my understanding of paradox, so I can feel at ease in neglecting ego as master. I found myself blabbing on the other day, on the MADE in Edmonton forums after I (surprise!) managed to offend some users by posting the Bonsai kitten website as a legitimate place to purchase good industrial design. Lo and behold, this is Alberta, so people are little behind here.

Greg Ball, a Western Canadian designer, contributor to MoCo Loco, and all-around good guy, started a new thread later on about the limitations of personal limits and boundaries, and how certain situations and "art" can be intentionally designed to explore the boundaries of so-called morals. What I came to realise is that if people don't react as they deem necessary when presented by something with symbolic significance, they must question themselves and/or suffer some sort of emotional or hopefully even an ontological turmoil.

The more turmoils they can go through, the more paradigms they can shift their perspectives and contexts through. The key is being able to maintain a balance between order and chaos, by allowing a new paradigm/order to be built up in the place of chaos to allow the person to gain their footing, catch a breath of fresh air, and see beauty or find love for a time. Then rinse and repeat, throw another turmoil at them, fracture their understandings, and destroy their values. Give them back ground to stand on. It could be the very same "ground" over and over, perhaps, because, interestingly, it'll be their own projection of relevance upon either object or environment that will change with every change in their own paradigm.

The boundaries are the prisons, the walls in which we live. Comfortably, perhaps, but prisoners nonetheless. The more walls you're willing to burst through, the easier it gets until you learn to just be, without barriers, walls… without being a victim of your own reactions to any sort of symbol.

I digress, but back to fractals as they are all these things and more: they are infinite and contained, formed out of chaos and presenting chaos contained within a beautiful form. Not a form as one would first imagine, but more like the algorithm.

And if what we know as conscious thought maintains our grasp of reality, all by the context by which we interpret it, sorta like when you look at a fractal pattern or the clouds in the sky and you interpret meaning out of whatever it is, you project reality. By grasping the power symbols have over us, we begin to seperate ourselves as willing victims.

Or as William S. Burroughs put it, Language is a disease, and consciousness its virus. At least, that's how I think it went. Which raises some more interesting questions about the nature of the virus and consciousness, neither dead nor alive, just algorithms playing havoc with the reality in which it is intertwined.

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