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Fractals: from villages to artwork
December 10, 2007|BlatheringsDesignGeeking Out

Fractals: from villages to artwork

Jock Cooper - fractal-recursions.comI have been a fan of fractals as art for a number of years now ever since I started seeing them pop up as desktop images. But I ran across this guys site on Deviant Art, Tom Wilcox. His work is nothing short of amazing, extremely beautiful. I must have wasted an hour of my early morning looking at his work. This led me to find another artist, Jock Cooper. One of the things I found particularly amazing on Jocks site was the mechanical fractals. This is something I have never seen before until today. Amazing; check his site out.

The whole idea of fractals is something that I found sort of mystifying. I say that simply because I don’t really have the mathematical aptitude for this; it’s the same reason why I find that TV show numb3rs so fascinating. I guess I’m really a math geek at heart even though I’m not really not that good at it.

Mandlebrot fractalBr4x just sent me a link this evening to a fractals talk at TED; Ron Eglash: African fractals, in buildings and braids. He talks briefly about his trip to African villages to examine the fractal structure. This is interesting, he traveled through African villages to examine the underpinning fractal design patterns within the architecture of the village. The fractal design also has roots to the social class structure of the villagers as well. I never thought that people would have used this self organizing structure to create architecture and essentially what is city planning, on a much smaller scale.

Another thing that was interesting about his talk, was that the fractals used in Africa are not a universal appearance. For instance the Anasazi didn’t use fractals in design, rather a rectangular pattern within a circle – rather than a circle within a circle within a circle.

Ron goes on to talk about various other occurrences in other villages and locations, and how a colleague of his, is working on developing a mail delivery structure based on a fractal system to accommodate the fractal pattern structure of some of these villages. All of the applets he used are online and free for anyone to use. The image to the above left is very similar to one of the village designs Ron focused on in his talk.

Check out this talk, and you won’t be disappointed if you listen or watch more talks from TED.

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  • ryan
    December 10, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    I find this subject fascinating. Especially the research done by Ron Eglash in Africa. It’s amusing that 3D engines use fractals to generate life-like patterns when they can be found naturally occurring in the veins of leaves and snowflakes. Very cool.

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