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"Much as a hand, emerging from the water fingers-first, appears above the surface in the form of five seemingly seperate and independent items, so do dragons, emerging from the lairs of their configurational space, on occasion appear to be plural, though in point of fact they are quite singular." - Stanislaw Lem, The Dragons of Probability, 1965
The Mandelbrot Set is a very stubborn, uncooperative thing. It is almost impossible to use for your own ends. If you try to make art using the Mandelbrot Set as your tool, you merely end up with a Mandelbrot demo. It cannot generally be bent to your own style or aesthetic.

Like most hackers of my generation, I first encountered the Mandelbrot Set in the pages of Scientific American, and immediately ran to my computer (a Mac with 128K of ram and a 512x342 mono screen!) to write my own version and begin exploring. Explorations continued on the VAX at college, and then on my own computers through the 90s.

The original Computer Recreations article from 1985.

After getting more serious about art in the late 90s, and then animation more recently, I have occasionally gone back to it and dabbled, but never found any satisfactory way of using it. Never came up with anything that wasn't just a Mandelbrot demo...

Until recently, when I started exploring the space inbetween the Mandelbrot Set and Julia Sets, and reduced the rendering to a silhouette, to focus purely on the shape without the overwhelming psychedelia of the brightly colors lava flows.

And this finally worked. It's still obviously the Mandelbrot Set (or a mild variant) but the aesthetic is drastically different. It's a photo of the Mandelbrot Set, but like I try to do with my macro photography, it's a very different image of the subject than you'd expect.

Soundtrack by JD Fontanella.

Also, this is the first real project I've run on my recently upgraded (from eight 1996-era R10000 CPUs to sixteen roughly 1999-era R12000 CPUs) Origin-2000. Functional retro-supercomputing. Weee.