Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Complexity and fractal algorithms

I really liked cph piece on the appropriation of surveying equipment and slavery - it's wonderful, but this is really in response to Bill Gilbert's post on planting plans based on fractal algorithms. I wonder how the planting turned out and whether it did actually increase the plants chance of survival.
When I designed 'Heart of Reeds' in my home town I worked with ecologists to find a pattern which would give us the most likelihood of biodiversity. Given that we were designing the shape of land and water, the ecologists felt that the more 'borderlands' we could make, the more biodiversity we would get, so in effect I was drawing with islands. In the end I settled on a a double vortex complex pattern from the apex of a heart, where the pattern of the muscles is laid down in the pattern of the most efficient flow of blood. This in medical terms is a Cardiac Twist. Simplified this pattern, which symbolically connects us to nature, also provides what amounts to ribbons of islands.

2 Cardiac Twist drawings: blood and river mud on paper

The work was excavated in 2004, planted with reeds, one metre apart, and the vegetation which was there before, allowed to regenerate. It is managed for the benefit of biodiversity and the only plant which is discouraged is willow, to prevent woodland developing. In terms of wildlife it has been specacularly successful and there are many species which have colonised the land and water. It is teaming with life and this makes it a much loved place for people of the town.

I wonder if this complex pattern is also a fractal algorithm, since it is also found in river and weather systems and also the formation of galaxies. If you go up or down in scale similar patterns exist. Is this universal pattern of flow the most conducive to life?

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