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Gestalt: Director's Cut
September 1, 2009 7:41 PM   Subscribe

The sublime fractal-based short film Gestalt (previously) has been re-rendered in high definition. Go forth and iterate.

Also, don't miss Fleischfilm's newer, and similarly unnerving Energie! - also in HD. In case you lose patience, it really starts to blow up around the minute mark.

I'd also like to take this opportunity to request that the community to post any interesting fractal (or mathematical whatnot) based films that have come up lately. I know you would have anyway, but we may as well make the party official.
posted by BlackLeotardFront (24 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite

Having just watched the film, and not read about it yet, I would not be surprised to find out that fractals were used in generating the audio.

A story that always delighted me (from Bart Kosko's book "Chaos" IIRC) is that of Conrad Lorenz sitting and listening to the output of his eponymous equation fed from an analog computer into an audio amplifier, in an attempt to better understand what this strange recursive function was doing.
posted by idiopath at 7:59 PM on September 1, 2009

Zooming into a Mandelbrot set the size of the observable universe ("If the final frame were the size of your screen, the full set would be larger than the known universe.")

Exploring parts of a colorful Mandelbrot set which exhibits some life-like characteristics
posted by Rhaomi at 8:02 PM on September 1, 2009 [2 favorites]

Heads up: epileptic trigger warning for the "Energie!" link. I guess this sort of thing is almost to be expected with experimental / algorithmic video, but that one does a large amount of stark and fast strobing.
posted by idiopath at 8:02 PM on September 1, 2009

This reminds me of the LSD descriptions on Erowid.

I dig it.
posted by stilist at 8:03 PM on September 1, 2009

Also: XaoS, free open source cross-platform software for exploring Mandelbrot, Julia, and other fractal sets on your desktop.
posted by Rhaomi at 8:04 PM on September 1, 2009

Some people said that the Bobby McFerrin videos that were going around, the ones where he led the audience through a pentatonic scale, were "hacking the brain".

If so, that was a script kiddie using winnuke to make a ping of death in hopes you are still running windows 95, and Energie! is a zero day buffer overflow for my brain. It blew my mind, and given some of the creative projects I have been working on up until now, may very well have changed my life. It made my eyes and brain sync up in ways they don't do without heavy chemical help.

The one issue I have with that video is the choice of soundtrack - visuals like that demand something like Merzbow's 1930 or Massona's Spark.

The video made me need to make something complimentary in response, which I think is pretty much the highest compliment I could give.
posted by idiopath at 8:13 PM on September 1, 2009

idiopath: "Some people said that the Bobby McFerrin videos that were going around, the ones where he led the audience through a pentatonic scale, were "hacking the brain".

If so, that was a script kiddie using winnuke to make a ping of death in hopes you are still running windows 95, and Energie! is a zero day buffer overflow for my brain.

Speaking of which:

"Different Kinds of Darkness"
"comp.basilisk FAQ"
posted by Rhaomi at 8:25 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

idiopath: yeah, when I was watching it the first time I actually felt like I was going into a trance. Good call on the epileptic warning. It gets pretty intense towards the end. Like Pokemon intense.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 8:29 PM on September 1, 2009

I would like to watch Energie in super slow-mo, or one frame at a time....
posted by OHenryPacey at 8:33 PM on September 1, 2009

The other stuff on his site is excellent too, actually I thought that Gestalt was the weakest thing up there out of the ones I have seen so far. Thorsten Fleisch seems to be one of the few individuals who simultaneously are technically adept enough to see potential in technology and know how to utilize and modify it, while being artistically minded enough to be able to take the risks that that new technology makes possible. I would really like to see what would happen if this guy let Kim Cascone do a soundtrack for him (Cascone seems similarly skilled with using new algorithms and new aesthetics together).
posted by idiopath at 8:37 PM on September 1, 2009

Yeah, Gestalt was kinda uninteresting, but that "Energie!"... thing... is something else. I just watched the whole thing full-screen without blinking, and I think I might have broken my visual cortex.

Rhaomi: Nice list. I'd add Understand, by Ted Chiang.
posted by teraflop at 9:04 PM on September 1, 2009

Looks like he hooked up with Basement Jaxx ... I'd like to see him working with someone like Tim Hecker or some of the people from Serein.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 9:05 PM on September 1, 2009

Doing this kind of thing (for very small values of 'this kind of thing') with stone knives and bearskins -- a TRS-80 Model III with a monochrome 127x47 resolution monitor and 16K RAM -- was how I taught myself both math and how to write code, when I was like 13.

I wish we'd had today's technology when I was young, but then again, if we did, I'd probably have been wasting time posting comments to community weblogs rather than exploring mathematics.

You know else who I really love, who's working veins like this, but more on the wowfunpretty! rather than wowmathkickass! side? Ryan Geiss.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:32 PM on September 1, 2009

These are amazing. Particularly Energie! - feels a lot like a Brakhage film only somehow even more (pleasurably) seizure inducing.

Bummed about the compression on Vimeo, though - do these exist in HD at a higher bit rate somewhere? Compression is not kind to this kind of thing.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 9:48 PM on September 1, 2009

Wow, that was... seizure-tastic.

I'm left with the same sort of brain numb I get when sitting in a car with sunlight strobing through trees just out of my line of sight.

-shivers- I think I'll go take some extra meds.
posted by strixus at 10:05 PM on September 1, 2009

When I was an undergraduate, Benoit Mandelbrot lectured at UCal. The task of squiring him around fell to me. He was not interested at all in talking about fractals or julia sets. He just kept asking what the cows were for that were grazing on campus, and for a pair of UCSC Banana Slug swim trunks. When the subject of fractals surfaces, I am forever blessed with this memory, and I now bequeath it to MetaFilter.
posted by effluvia at 10:06 PM on September 1, 2009 [3 favorites]

Energie!: holy shit. That was an input my visual cortex was not originally designed to process. Luckily I've exercised it a lot over the years.

And the middle of his Kosmos is... intense. The rhythms of the sounds and visuals interact with each other in a way that is simultaneously hypnotic and disturbing.
posted by egypturnash at 10:24 PM on September 1, 2009

Energie is awesome. What's trippy is if, after it really gets going, you pause it and realize that half of what you're "seeing" is your brain messing with you with afterimages from the strobing.
posted by juv3nal at 10:36 PM on September 1, 2009

Hey, that was great. I especially liked the part where that glimmering crocoduck and the two-headed fourth order batpig sideslip and manage to simultaneously extrude tesseract-style through a multitude of dimensions so they can sneak up on that annoying machine elf and punch him in the junk-basket.

Regardless, I was hoping for more coverage of the butter-crested hypersloth. Watching those things eat nested blue hyperboloids and Sierpinski foam is always entertaining.
posted by loquacious at 11:56 PM on September 1, 2009

Behold Atmta by Quite.

There is your entertainment! It is a thing to watch with the lights off, volume up, full screen while high on your favorite mind-altering substance! Take that, pre-rendered academic silliness.

Seriously, that's just scratching the surface. These guys did an amazing realtime 4d quaternion set. It is available for download.
posted by electronslave at 12:19 AM on September 2, 2009

In the same vein we also have _grau by Robert Seidel. Cache in the FPP is gone but it's now available on YouTube in HD.
posted by surrendering monkey at 11:19 AM on September 2, 2009 [1 favorite]

I loved Energie!, but this kind of thing can't be good for you. It's been about half an hour and I can still kind of see it.
posted by vanar sena at 11:41 AM on September 2, 2009

E̯̱̫̯̯̼͖̖̱̲̠͙͙̳̭̙̥̙ͩͭ̋̇ͨ̏n̖̬͙̙͉̻͖̂̑̐̍̑̃ͫ̑̏̃̂̊ͮe͚͖͍̼̥̗͙̗̬̹̝̮͎͍̮͈͇͙͈̎́̽ͪ̇r̗̝̺̲̘͓̜̟̰̘̬̮̗̫̳̺̔̽͐̍̑͛ͥ̓̀̽̌͗ͅg̜̻̗̫͓͊̊͌ͧͭ̓̐i̙̖̖̼͖̻͎͓̣͂͆̎ͨͪ̄͂̊͋̈́͛̐ͬ̋̒͐̔ͪẻ͖̝͕̟̭̮͚̟̟̦ͯ̃̿ͮ̽ͣ̒ͪ̚!̻̝̯̩̏̓ͥͭ̔ͣ͛̇̈ ͎̜͈̪̰͗̅̎ͪ̈̓͐̉
posted by various at 11:50 AM on September 2, 2009

Energie!: My eyes hurt after it finished and I realised I hadn't blinked for the last couple of minutes of that.
posted by jaduncan at 11:33 PM on September 2, 2009

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