
turbulence_
infinite_p21c 48" x 24"


Artist Statement: I enjoy using computer simulations of natural and artificial phenomena to
visualize patterns created from either the isolation of a particular
dominant force or the interplay between codominant forces. An
advantage of working with computer models for these physical systems is
the availability of data for any component of the system: effectors or
inerts can be made visible, temporal and spatial dimensions can be
swapped, and nonphysical projections of data can be created. New
patterns can be explored by nearly any combination of forces or
projections. The aim of my work is the creative exploration of this
space.
In these pieces I attempt to illustrate the unseen depth and complexity of
fluid turbulence and the difficulty in recreating it's effects on a
computer. Though it is an essential physical phenomenon, humans are
surprisingly illequipped to visualize the structure or grasp the sheer
ubiquity of turbulence. My choice to instantiate the transient vortex
cores as solid cylinders is an attempt to understand it's structure as well
as to conceptualize it's depth. Creating a feeling of depth and realism
requires not only a computationallyintensive interreflection calculation,
but extreme detail using not textures, but real geometry.
In these simulations, turbulence is represented by segments of a long
line, each segment representing the mathematical "vortex core" of a local
packet of fluid. In this way, a turbulent flow can be represented more
compactly by its vorticity, and not its velocity. The motions that
evolve the path of these vortex lines are a product of computer
simulations of vorticity dynamics. In vorticity dynamics, each segment
of each vortex line induces motion in every other segment in the
simulation. The schemes designed to make this sort of calculation
computationally tractable are called vortex methods.
Ultimately, each image is a photometricallyaccurate computer rendering
of a tangle of these vortex lines. Special oversampling and filtering
operations are performed in order to create the most detailed image
possible. This image is then output to a Lightjet digital printer, which
exposes photographic paper with a laser after internally upsampling the
image to 4000 dpi.

