With the following keywords: fractals+creativity requested from Google, the number of entries were over 500,000 – there is obviously interest, even excitement over fractals. Fractal analysis helps explain many phenomena which we are accustomed to considering as ‘chaos’, and this very term may be obsolete one day, along with the antonyms order/chaos, because fractals seem to, if not fully explain, at least underscore the hidden patterns in an apparently random set. And haven’t you noticed that lately the weather reports are a lot more accurate? Now, the chaos whose underpinnings I would like to see explained is the one created by human shortcomings and inadequate leadership: ghost in the machine, faulty brain signals?…

The powerful fractal formula, so innocent-looking in its simplicity, would not have been tested without the computer running an outlandish number of iterations. And almost playfully, magically, one day Benoit Mandelbrot set the computer to color-code the numbers – and in that seemingly small gesture, he enabled the birth of a new form of art.

Examples of fractal music using self-similar elements are available on the internet, as well as software to create it. However, as I understand it, in principle, all music is self-similar to a corresponding scale or set of proportions (intervals). This is why, if on occasion I have toyed with palindrome patterns, the Fibonacci series, and various degrees of self-similarity, I find that using fractals to create art is infinitely more satisfying than using them for music composition.

Some of this fractal art I made and music (not initiated from fractals but from pure ratios) that goes along with it are now on display at Cybergallery66 as part of my Correspondences web page http://www.cybergallery66.org/cg6609/p/el/el00.html. Milton Fletcher (artist, photographer, writer) founded the cybergallery in 1998. On this Cybershow #9 you will also see Strike!, an unexpected and, so far, guy-only combination of boxing and chamber music, brainstorm of cellist Dan Barrett, where ten-minute sets of modern music alternate with 8-minute boxing matches of 3 rounds each. The 2007 Strike! collaborative effort is well-documented on the web page.

I’ll admit I am a closet artist. I don’t like to say I’m an artist as many people are likely to negatively react to the word ‘artist’ – and not for the same reasons. This is a word that seems to bring hatred and contempt along with it… With an exhibition list under 10 venues I don’t mean to measure up to anyone who has made art their way of life as I have made music mine, but for some strange reason, I have always regarded drawing as a means of spiritual improvement and protection, and I have been drawing mandalas and talismans for years as a practice. Never touched paint. Worked with collage and mixed media. Designed sound installations (even though they are expensive to produce, and I never got to see many of them realized) but the medium is so totally spectacular. And as soon as I was able to get my hands on computer design programs, I worked with them, and now fractal-making programs, which are widely available and free on the internet (but not terribly self-explanatory, though.)

Maybe it’s genes – as few people would know, my father, Errol Parker, besides being a jazz musician, studied art with Arman (the French sculptor who made accumulations of car parts and such) and in 1963 Errol had a gallery show in Paris called Metamorphosis, inspired by Kafka’s story of a man transforming into a coackroach – but the sculptures were made of a certain kind of polyurethane that gave my father a severe allergic reaction; he got very sick and ultimately his eyes changed color, turning from brown to hazel – and stayed that way; he had to stop the polyurethane activity altogether.

I found a good book providing basic information on fractals in an accessible and humorous form: Introducing Fractal Geometry, by Nigel Lesmoir-Gordon, Will Rood, Ralph Edney.

  • Share/Bookmark
Leave a Reply