“You’ve never heard of chaos theory? Non-linear equations? Strange attractors?" It’s been several years since Ian Malcolm, the charismatic mathematician in Jurassic Park, tried to roughly explain the ins and outs of chaos theory—the concept that certain events, as small as they are, cause echoes in time which can lead to adverse effects. Each micro-variation in the present is considered to bring a tangible difference to the state of a system. The condition of the system is therefore defined as unstable and makes it impossible to predict future events.
Spanish artist Félix Luque Sanchez developed his installation, Different Ways to Infinity, from his interest in chaos theory. This, his most recent work, is a hybrid reflection surrounding notions of complexity, infinity, and chaos which will be presented for the very first time this week during the French festival EXIT.
So, how do you reach infinity? Rather than answer the question directly his piece gives us hints and clues, many of them reminiscent of 80s sci-fi literature. To help understand th e sophisticated approach behind Different Ways to Infinity we spoke with Sanchez so that he could clarify certain technical points for us. At first glance, the installation appears in the form of a laboratory displaying a series of scientific records. The uniqueness of this system is enhanced by the diversity of the medium used.
The synth and dynamic animations.
“DWI is a science fiction artwork that recreates a series of experiments around processes that tend to infinity.” Sanchez notes. “The works are divided into two groups: ‘Modular’ which is a modular system to generate forms and approaches infinity by its geometrical potential to fill completely the tridimensional space, and ‘Chaos’ which is an ensemble of works inspired by chaos theory and approaches infinity through complexity.”
The first component is a sculpture composed of complex geometrical shapes with very specific properties. Sanchez explains: "This is a modular system that generates combinations or forms using rhombic dodecahedron, a space filling polyhedra. It uses magnetic connectors to assemble together, physically and electronically, the dodecahedrons (like the Apple MagSafe). The edges of the dodecahedrons have LEDs that interact with people around the object."
Different Ways to Infinity—modular component.
The second component is a synthesizer which uses features from Chua’s circuits and is connected to oscilloscopes that reinterpret the data.“The synth uses an Arduino microprocessor to control motorized potentiometers, which modulate the signal in and out of chaos in an infinite loop.” says Sanchez. “This signal can be seen through oscilloscopes and heard through speakers. When chaos has been reached, the sound approaches white noise.”
Chaotic events are then represented by fractal shapes, scientifically labelled “Lorentz attractors”.
Different Ways to Infinity—chaotic component.
Chaos (Fluid Dynamics)
Finally, the last components of the installation are large prints and 3D animations which are the results of scientific experiments, as Sanchez explains. “A set of 3D animations and large prints uses fluid dynamic and particle software (like Krakatoa and Realflow) to simulate different behaviors in the propagation and explosion of smoke and particles. They are done in collaboration with Spanish artist Iñigo Bilbao”.
Through this research process the computational fluid mechanics of the smoke and particles are highlighted upfront (see below).
For all those who wish to discover this imaginary laboratory and reevaluate the limits of infinity, Different Ways to Infinity will be presented at the EXIT festival in Créteil, France from 4th to 14th April.
Photos Credits : Félix Luque Sanchez