2005/04/06

Digital variations versus fractals

I terminated my first 168 digital variations.
Enter the slide-show

As I wrote in an earlier post those digital works are procuring me much satisfaction. In 2003 I created 60 fractals (post-psychedelic collection) but I had not found the experience as much enriching as this time around. There is for sure a fundamental difference between fractals and the variations that I'm realizing now:
- fractals: images resulting from the application of a mathematical formula in a fractal imaging software that are then finished in the Gimp or photoshop.
- variations: I manipulate a digital photo of a painting in "The Gimp" (free imaging software similar to photoshop).

In fractals you are using a mathematical formula that you create or one that you borrow from soneone else. The software calculates the parameters in the formula and the result is an image that can then be manipulated further through incremental changes applied to the formula. This process of incremental changes is automated in most of the available softwares so the art in creating fractals is to stop the process of change on the image that gives you the most satisfaction. In other words, this is where subjectivity finally has the last say... What I describe here is how a visual artist as myself interacts with fractals. Some people find their pleasure not so much in the process that I describe here but in the creation of the mathematical formula itself. But however you approach fractals the resulting images will always appear as if they had been machine made. You will not find in a fractal the imprefections that are related to hand work. The best analogy I guess would be to say that the lines and forms in fractals are like industrial lines and forms.

I do not mean here to degrade fractals my intention is just trying to let you feel how I myself see the difference between fractals and digital variations.

In my digital variations, because I start from a photo of an existing painting, I never can reach the perfection of a machined straight line nor the perfection of a machined curve nor the perfection of a color transition. The imperfections that are resulting from a hand work are resulting from the communication between the eyes that see, the brain that decides and the hands that execute. The eyes do not necessarily register the exactitude of what they look at, the brain decides according to the preferences that we accumulated as a result of our past experiences and the hands can only do what they have been trained to do... What I want to show here is that a hand work done by a person contains the character of that person, his mood, likes and dislikes and other preferences. Digital variations of the photo of a painting are not taking away the character of the hand work nor of the craft of the creator of the painting they are just amplifying or reducing this or that imprint of the character.

The difference between fractals and digital variations is thus analogous to the difference between industrial products and arts and crafts wares. From my own experience I conclude that fractals are like hamburgers from MacDonalds while digital variations are like fine Chinese or French cuisine. That must be the reason why I find so much pleasure in my digital variations...




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