Elodie Lauten is an acclaimed modern composer whose work has been performed in both the United States and Europe. She is also a visual artist. Ms. Lauten discusses the connection between randomness and order, in the context of mathematics and fractals, and how she found their inspiring relationship to music and visual art. This exhibition is in two parts; Part I: Sound, Part II: Vision.

Sound Clips:

Elodie Lauten's commentary concerning the fractal connection to her music:

Excerpt from Elodie Lauten's composition "Correspondences Music"
which incorporates the Golden Ratio theory in its structure:

Click here to get QuickTime player

Making these pix with a fractal program and processing them in Photoshop didn't seem like hard work: it was more like child's play. I completely and innocently enjoyed the surprising shapes and bright, infinitely self-renewing screen colors. I am not even sure whether to claim this activity as art. It was just so much fun. It is like a new form of expression being born and we haven't built an esthetic for it yet. There are thousands of fractal art images available on the internet and that’s how I became interested… but the fact that they are visually enticing wasn't the only reason… What I am exploring in this project is the correspondences between these ‘living formulas’ and the order/chaos they mirror, and possibly their correspondence with certain timeless musical patterns and harmonies.

Blue Lyapunov:

Yellow Lyapunov:

Red Lyapunov:


The images and animations are variations on a theme, as in music. Using freeware I created the three sets of fractal images shown here. Based on the "Mandelbrot set" I produced the Buddha series, rotating the startup shape by 90 degrees (like a Columbus egg technique) to reveal a Buddha shape, and by changing the parameters I obtained the psychedelic (but not from the point of view of a seventies throwback or retro esthetic) Golden Buddhas. With the Lyapunov set, named after the Russian mathematician who came up with an alternative recursive fractal formula, I got shapes evoking elements of water or fire and processed them with primary colors. The Red Fern series started with a found image - which is not a real fern, but was created from Barnsley's formula of infinite shape iteration. I put the 'fern' image through a number of digital transformations and layered it with other fractal designs I had created and animated an image sequence.


Buddha 9:

Buddha Red:



Golden Buddha 1 & 2:

Golden Buddha 3:


Old math meets new math

The Mandelbrot set is a program based on Benoit Mandelbrot's groundbreaking recursive formula. In simplified terms: take any number, square it and add 1, take the result, square it and add one, and repeat ad infinitum. The brilliant idea was that Mandelbrot told the computer to give each number a color...therefore creating fractal art as a byproduct of his research.

This is how his formula works: for instance, if my first number is 3, 3 square +1=10; 10 square plus 1=101. You can see that the number progression is growing a lot faster than the Renaissance's Fibonacci series (geometric progression) where a number gets added to the next number: for instance, 1+1=2, 2+1=3, 3+2=5, 5+3=8, 8+5=13, 13+8=21 - it takes six iterations to reach the number 21 whether Mandelbrot's formula reaches 101 in only two iterations.

The notable detail about the Fibonacci numbers, if expressed in terms of ratios between one number and the next one in the series, like 3/2 or 1.5, 5/3 or 1.6, 8/5 or 1.6, 13/8 or 1.625, 21/13 or 1.615, they average around 1.6 give or take...i.e. the Golden Section or Phi number of 1.618… the sometimes forgotten number that is no lesser key to universal form than the Pi of 3.14 that unlocks the circumference and area of the circle. What these numbers have in common, Pi and Phi, is the fact that they cannot be divided - they continue ad infinitum, as does the Mandelbrot fractal.




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