GAFFTA: Transpose

Starting in February 2010 and lasting through April, I exhibited some work in a two person show at the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts (GAFFTA). The other artist was the very talented Aaron Koblin, known for his work with Radiohead and the Flight Patterns piece.

I showed five different pieces, ranging from prints to sculpture to an interactive installation. All of the pieces were related to my exploration with magnetism and mathematical phenomena.

Selected Works
Made with Processing and Cinder (C++ framework).

One of the 46″ flat screen displays shows a 22 minute reel of some older video projects. Most are audio reactive. Included are a Magnetosphere rework, Fuji, Cymatic Fluid, Solar with Lyrics, Audio-reactive Landscape,¬†Relentless, and Branching.

Moment of Fission, series of 6 prints
Made with Processing.

For this series, I placed anywhere from a dozen to a few hundred charged particles into a small space. All of the particles want desperately to push away from every other particle. A couple frames after they explode outward, I render out the results. The prints attempt to visualize the act of atomic fission.

Dodecahedral Variations

When I was planning content for the show, fellow GAFFTA alum Ryan Alexander suggested I add some sculptures to the show. In specific, the magnetic solid sculptures I have been making off and on over the last couple years.

These forms are created with cylinder magnets, spherical magnets, and ball bearings. Magnetism is the only thing holding the forms together. They are fairly fragile and picking them up will likely crush them. All of the forms I created were variations of the 12 sided dodecahedron. This particular platonic solid seems to be the form the magnets are happiest with.

The largest structure required a temporary scaffold of sorts. Without the scaffold, I would be unable to complete the form without it succumbing to gravity. This structure took me a few hours to create and on the day of the show, it collapsed on the way to the gallery. I ended up rebuilding it the day of the show.

Quantum Decoherence
Made in Cinder (C++ framework).

This pair of prints was made for 40″x30″ backlit lightboxes. While exploring ideas for the interactive piece, I started playing around with Gray-Scott reaction diffusion. The formulas for reaction diffusion are surprisingly easy but they can create a large variety of beautiful organic patterns which resemble many patterns found in nature.

The aesthetics are based on the results achieved with scanning tunneling microscopes. It is intended to be viewed as a visual interpretation of the wave-particle duality of light and matter. The individual nodes do not exist separately from each other. They are simply different densities of the same ether. They grow and turn white as a wave, emanating from the center, passes by.

Reactive Diffusion, interactive installation
Made in Cinder (C++ framework).

This installation shows off reaction diffusion in all its glory. A 46″ flat screen display shows a view of the webcam which is pointing at the viewer. It functions as a digital mirror, but the reflection is highly distorted. The entire screen is morphed by a reaction diffusion effect. The reaction flows across the screen and undulates in a intensely mesmerizing way.

Music by Helios (“Backlight” from the album Caesura)

When I created this project, it initially managed to eek out about 10 fps when running at full resolution. It ended up feeling really sluggish. I bought a nice tower PC but it still barely reached 15 fps. My mentor and collaborator, Andrew Bell, suggested I move everything to the GPU because the slowdown was likely due to the way I was abusing FBOs. The original version pulled data off the FBO, modified a large quad mesh, then sent the content to a GLSL shader which handled the lighting and coloring.

The rework now has everything running in GLSL shaders. The huge mesh grid is gone, replaced by just one single textured quad being drawn fullscreen. This brought the frame rate up to 60+ on both the PC tower and my MacBook Pro laptop.