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Home > Nathan Selikoff :: Algorithmic Artwork
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"Helios [var. 1198505515]," by Nathan Selikoff

This artwork is based on a rendering of a strange attractor, and is inspired by extreme ultraviolet images of our sun. Helios is part of the "Aesthetic Explorations of Attractor Space" series, more of which can be seen at

Underlying each image in this series of work is a two-dimensional plot of the "typical behavior" of a chaotic dynamical system. Of course, there is nothing typical about a strange attractor, as it is chaotic and has a fractal structure. The base images are computed with a set of iterated functions, which serve as a numerical approximation to integrating the underlying differential equations. The iterated functions contain four coefficients, which are controlled by sliders in interactive custom software and control the appearance of the attractor. Once a particular form is settled on, it is rendered as a high-resolution 16-bit grayscale image. Finally, in Photoshop, the render is colorized using gradient mapping and edited to enhance contrast, control composition, and add special effects. The number in the artwork title encodes the moment at which the attractor was "discovered" and archived for rendering.

owl-king.jpg butterfly-effect.jpg helios-var-1198505515~0.jpg SA_1188475827~0.jpg SA_1188415571~0.jpg

American Mathematical Society