“My kind of art can be compared with the art of the photographer or the cinematographer or the documentary maker, it is showing something that exists, like the fractal exists. I didn’t create it, I didn’t come up with it, I found it. And I’m trying to show that journey of discovery and that is where the creative part comes in.” – Julius Horsthuis
Human beings have often looked for divine significance in shapes and patterns – sacred geometry informing churches, pyramids and standing stones built to connect our world to higher powers. Guided by an invisible logic, crystals bloom; galaxies and black holes whirl into being. Are we witnessing the inner workings of the universe – matter arranging itself along omnipresent formulas?
In ‘Foreign Nature’, Julius Horsthuis employs computer generated fractals. Fractals are the result of various mathematical formulas. He visualises them using Mandelbulb3D – a software whose creator remains a mystery, codenamed “Jesse”. These shapes are natural objects – they are self-similar, meaning: whether zooming in or out, the code that defines them appears to recreate the whole. When micro mirrors macro (atom → cell → solar system) scale is impossible to discern. Horsthuis sees his practice less like that of a painter, architect or their digital equivalents – but more like a naturalist or documentary film-maker. The spaces we encounter are not created, but scouted for and captured. They are discovered by navigating these extraterrestrial landscapes and sci-fi cathedrals and composing a scene within them. The formulas themselves are not the creation of mathematicians, but their discovery. Like land or atomic elements they are often named after the person who finds them (as seen with the Sierpinski formula, the Koch Cube and Julia Space).
‘Foreign Nature’ envelops the whole body – a fully immersive experience behaving like a drug saturating the bloodstream – leading to all kinds of sensation. The visuals evoke those described by people who have experienced altered states of consciousness: psychonauts that use LSD or DMT to access higher planes of existence. Today, technology is the psychoactive – mathematical formulas can be used to envision this source code beyond the senses. To this end, the soundtrack itself was made specifically for the work by Ben Lukas Boysen.
Can we admire mutation and concede that a higher law exists? We may not know if our interstellar neighbours breathe our oxygen or the colour of their suns – but we know that if our physics extends to their planets: plants will grow and clouds will take shape under these same laws. In knowing this, these fractals become a glimpse of the universe many lightyears away.
Julius Horsthuis | b. 1980, The Netherlands
Julius Horsthuis is a digital artist who almost exclusively uses fractals. His work has been featured in the Academy Award winning “Manchester by the Sea” (2016) and “Koning van Katoren” (2012) and in music and art festivals worldwide, such as Coachella Music and Arts Festival, IDFA, Art Futura and SAT symposium Montréal.
Ben Lukas Boysen | b. 1981, Germany
Ben Lukas Boysen is a composer, producer and sound designer. He has produced multiple albums (many under the alias HECQ), and led numerous workshops on composition and sound aesthetics, as well as creating custom sound design for films,Okay commercials, video games and installations. Boysen’s first film score for Restive premiered in 2011, followed by his debut album under his own name in 2013, and the award-winning score for the Sony Playstation game, Everything, in 2016.