• Analogy


    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Niccolò CASAS: Analogy is part of series of design experimentations conducted as MPhil/PhD candidate at The Bartlett under the supervision of Dr. Marjan Colletti and Dr. Marcos Cruz, it concerns the use of fractal geometry as medium to codify and to simulate Decadence.

    Decadence is a process of disintegration of the whole where the particular acquires autonomy and incrementation of visibility by shirking from the functional subordination of the whole. It is about the process of decomposition of an organism, of a society or a culture and, more generally, it concerns the process of fragmentation of a system of relations.

    Is there a possibility to codify, to regulate and finally to simulate this process? Is there a mathematic and a geometry capable of regulating Decadence?

    If we consider Decadence as a state of dynamic transition leading to the fragmentation of the whole, it is the Fractal geometry that articulates this process.

    It is the concept of depth that represents the “trait d’union” between decadent and fractal theories: “Fractal geometry is essentially concerning depth” explains Professor S.Banerjee of The Department of Electrical Engineering at IIT of Kharagpur; “the complexity of natural elements is preserved at any scale.”

    In the same way, Baudelaire was convinced that every object and detail “reveals” its significance at the moment in which space loses its common flatness revealing consecutive depths: the large scale vision or the microscopic vision (“the details of cartographic or molecular scales”) reveals the natural harmonies of geometry.

    Depth and vision are so much of an obsession to the decadent poet that he scientifically indulges in drugs such as Opium and Hashish as a medium to expand space and alter time.

    “A mysterious but only temporary state of the mind develops itself; the profoundness of life, hedged by its multiple problems, reveals itself entirely in the sight” — Charles Baudelaire (The Man God – The Poem of Hashish)

    The theory of Mandelbrot demonstrates that the fractal structure—ruled by Chaos dynamics and Information-based complexity— drives several physical and human phenomena. Meteorology, climatology, geography, turbulence (vortex, cyclones and hurricanes), biological rhythms, lungs, the vascular system, market trends, computer networks, demography, microphones and cosmology are just a few examples.

    Mandelbrot demonstrates that natural shapes and Fractals are characterized by self-similarity. This is the tendency to reveal the same statistical properties at different scales: the whole is exactly or approximately similar to a part of itself.

    Similarly, Baudelaire foresees that the discontinuity and irregularity of natural shapes directly relates to the dynamic and mutable status of nature itself. Furthermore, he identifies in its irregularity the emergence of mathematic “harmonies” that reveal analogies between scale and subject changes:

    “Only those analogies possess an unaccustomed liveliness; they penetrate and they envelop; they overwhelm the mind with their masterfulness. Musical notes become numbers; and if your mind is gifted with some mathematical aptitude, the harmony to which you listen, while keeping its voluptuous and sensual character, transforms itself into a vast rhythmical operation, where numbers beget numbers, and whose phases and generation follow with an inexplicable ease and an agility which equals that of the person playing” — Charles Baudelaire (The Playground of the Seraphim — The Poem of Hashish)

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    NC: Benoit Mandelbrot, Charles Baudelaire, Richard P. Taylor, Jean-Claude Chirollet.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    NC: La question du Detail et l’Art Fractal by Jean-Claude Chirollet, Chaos Fractals, Nature: A New Look At Jackson Pollock by Richard P. Taylor, Baudelaire: Selected Writings on Art and Artists.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    NC: Marjan Colletti, Noriya Ito, Tom Albrighton, Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz.

    Additional credits and links:
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