If you study nature long enough, you will discover that the natural growth of living things is not random at all, but follows a precise mathematical pattern. John Edmark, an American artist and art lecturer at Stanford University, attempts to highlight nature's ever-evolving mathematical beauty in his mind-blowing, 3D-printed sculptures, which come to life when spun under a strobe light. Behold:
As reference, one can view this strobe-animated, rotating artichoke, via Charlie Nordstrom, Edmark's filmmaking collaborator:
These remarkable sculptures, done during the past year as part of an artist's residency with software company Autodesk, are called Blooms. Inspired by the mathematical proportions and patterns of change found in artichokes, sunflowers and pinecones, these pieces were first created using computer software and then 3D printed. They are then placed on a rotating table and filmed while a strobe light emits pulses of light at precise intervals, says Edmark:
Blooms are 3-D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi).
Wow. One might think that math and art are mutually exclusive, but Edmark believes that there is beautiful knowledge that can be expressed out of a relationship between the two, creating an illuminating experience:
I employ precise mathematics in the design and fabrication of my work. I do this neither out of a desire to exhibit precision per se, nor to exalt the latest technology, but because the questions I’m trying to formulate and answer about spatial relationships can only be addressed with geometrically exacting constructions. Mathematical precision is an essential ally in my goal of achieving clarity.
There's something absolutely mesmerizing in the regular undulations that seem to arise from these objects when they are set into motion. With the help of technology, Edmark's aim is to invite us to look deeper into the finer details of nature itself and its universe of ever-changing phenomena. As he explains:
Nature is generous and inexhaustible, rewarding curiosity with startling insights and an abundance of ever more beautiful mysteries. Through my work I endeavor to share the joy of discovery with others in a continuing pursuit of the timeless patterns of change.
More power to those patterns of change, and more over at John Edmark.