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Day-Glo Fractal Visions Inspired By Alan Turing

Psychedelia inspired by science and math.

In the 1950s, Alan Turing, mathematician and computing pioneer, developed the Reaction-Diffusion Model, which deals with morphology—the study of how creatures take their biological forms. Using morphology in creating art isn't exactly new, but citing the visionary Turing as an influence might just be en vogue.

Mary Franck recently found inspiration in Turing for her Carapace installation, which finds algorithmic shells growing and developing like nature itself. And so has artist Jonathan McCabe, who cites Turing as an influence, while working with the Reaction-Diffusion Model over the past several years. Turing's influence is apparent in McCabe's RSMSTI 2, Turing Flow, Recursive Coupled Turing Pattern, and other image sets on Flickr.


Working on Turing's morphogenesis model, McCabe's RSMSTI 2 set and other images series feature hundreds of rich, intensely-patterned and colored images that are psychedelic and fractal in the most maximalist sense of those words.

The nearest analogues I can think of—though not digital in form—are Fred Tomaselli's psilocybin-infused paintings, or maybe artist Steven Charles's work. Charles, who is legally blind, loads colorful paint onto canvases over several years, making glitched-out, 8-bit-esque imagery look almost biological. But, that is probably accidental.

Turin's influence on McCabe, however, is pronounced and seems concentrated on the cellular level. He doesn't seem that interested in the larger impact of morphology, but on its microscopic pathways. And so McCabe replicates the biological by way of the digital, using generative algorithms to create the morophogenetic imagery.

If you're game for some heady reading material, head over to McCabe's website to read his short paper for the Bridges Conference, titled, “Cyclic Symmetric Multi-Scale Turing Patterns”

h/t It's Nice That


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