Contemporary art and science – visualising ripples in the fabric of reality.

contemporary art and science - visualising form generated from formless states
The image above is an example of work from a series that I created specifically to explore concepts from the worlds of science and philosophy.
The original motivation behind the work was a wish to devise a visual means of expressing the concept that our incredibly complex universe is generated from the interaction of extremely simple fundamental forces that underlie the cosmos.

The image explores the generation of complex forms from simple forms. The image is composed of two identical grids of regularly spaced small circles, with one of the grids positioned one above the other and rotated so that the arrangement of circles on the two grids are at different angles to each other, meaning that they overlap.

A simple algorithm is applied to the overlapping grids that dictates that where the black areas of the circles overlap the blacks cancel each other out, effectively leaving white.  See the two examples below, showing differing amounts of overlap.

how the algorithm works

The two simple overlapping grids of circles generate surprisingly complex patterns, forming multiple and various interacting rings, some of which are obvious while others are fugitive and seem to come in and out of existence as your eye scans the image.


contemporary art in the exploration of science

What’s more, when the two grids are rotated relative to each other the whole formation of rings and patterns shifts and changes as the grids alter their positions relative to each other. See how the patterns in the image below aren’t the same as those in the image at the top.

contemporary art in the exploration of science


The square grid in the image  is a metaphor for the deepest, most fundamental and basic level of the physical universe, where nothing exists other than the simplest of all possible fluctuations in ‘nothingness’ itself (represented by the uniform circles).

Complexity and structure come into existence when this  basic level of the physical universe – the grid of circles – interacts with itself, creating intricate forms that contain a new and complex internal structure. It is this complex internal structure that then gives rise to even more complex structures within the universe,  for instance giving form to the elementary particles that act as the building blocks of the universe that we’re familiar with (while also giving form to the parts of the universe that we’ve got no inkling about, too) .

I like to think of the patterns in the images as metaphors for ripples in the fabric of reality.

There are several more examples of my work in this field, including more videos of rotating grids here.

The videos show the shifting and transient nature of the complex patterns very well, expressing, I like to think, the way that structure in physical reality “pops” in and out of existence.

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