"There is a danger in reading further . . . you risk the loss of your childhood vision of clouds, forests, galaxies, leaves, feathers, flowers, rocks, mountains, torrents of water, carpets, bricks, and much else besides . . . never again will your interpretation of these things be quite the same Benoit B. Mandelbrot


Fine Art From the Alternative Nature of Virtual Worlds - Digitally Applied Acrylic Paint on Canvas

Life is a wonderful thing. Just as it flourishes in the nature of the "real" world, can also flourish in the alternative nature to be discovered in the virtual world. This is the wonder, the "enrapturement" which I attempt to discover as I utilize the computer as a sort of "virtual camera", in which the objective is to capture the results of the dynamics inherent in the activities of artificial lifeforms, synthetic environments, or other processes which in some way mimic these types of events.

Contact Charles Ostman

About Charles Ostman

"Strategic Synergist" - Research, advanced technology development, author, lecturer, and, just perhaps, "virtual artist".

Spawning entities, flourishing on the virtual terraform - this art is not "drawn", it's grown.


A very common form found throughout nature is the Dendrite. This is a "virtual dendrite", grown as an L-system fractal generated 3D branching structure, and texture mapped with a fractal generated procedural texture. The theory represented by this image is that this could be the defacto equivilant of a "synthetic dendrite", grown as an artificial enhancement for embedding into organic neural tissue in the human brain.

However, dendrites can be found in an extraordinary diverse range of forms and circumstances, as the branchng structures of trees, geological formations embedded in a mineral matrix, or as implied here, the model of a potential synthetic neural dendrite, as a type of prosthetic enhancement.

"Synthetic entities" have the potential of "spawning" an infinite variety of forms, structures, and textures not viewable via any other means.

This is the world, the universe, in all of its inifinite depth, complexity, beauty, mystery, which I find myself drawn to, and enraptured by . . . that I may be allowed the opportunity to probe, explore these infinite realms, is the priviledge that these tools of the "media matrix" allow, and for which I am grateful to have access.

This is how I actually see the universe, and use a variety of technical tools and processes, combined with computational resources to allow "access" to other parallel universes. In the various shows and galleries I have appeared in, these images are usually presented either as numbered and signed dye sublimation prints, or as digitally applied archival quality acrylic paint on canvas. Please note the attatched image file, which is a photograph of a canvas example. Peer into the workshop, and "virtual gallery" of Berkeley Designs for a glimpse of the foundry from which these various experiments in evolving artforms are spawned, and proliferate.

The Alternative Nature of Virtual Worlds as an "art experience"

Spawning entities, flourishing on the virtual terraform - I don't "draw" art, I grow it.Driven by a fascination with structure, form, and the mechanics of interactive forces as they occur in nature, the goal is to create scenes which are the results of compuational models based on these characteristics. Virtually all constructs observed in the nature of the "real world", such as the branching structures of trees, the construction of a leaf or flower, the distribution patterns of stars in a galaxy, pebbles on a beach, or even the wispy forms of a cloud, can be defined and replicated with a series of formulae and procedural algorithms.

Once these processes have been defined and established as a procedural set of rules, these rules can be modified or "distorted".

There is vast potential for asthetic discovery in synthetic environments which actually contain the dynamic elements of an evolving "organism" or ecosystem.

This is the real power of the computer, to be able to create structures and forms, as a process, utilizing interactive forces and influences, as they occur (or don't occur) in nature, to spawn the contents of a scene. It is in this way that "impossible" virtual worlds can be explored, ranging from chaotic events that defy the "ordinary" rules of nature, to the evolution of artificial life forms flourishing in synthetic environments.

Biota III - The program, themes, speakers

Presentation - The Anthropological Implications of Digital Biota

Explore the worlds of Digital Biota, where the integration of lifeforms, synthetic and real, form the anthropological ecology of the future

The history of the future is already evolving . . .

Interview by Peter Langeuin - Techno Marvels in the Making

presented at ALife VI - Artificial Life VI conference, UCLA, 1998 - Digital Biota Workshop / Aesthetics of Artificial Life Art Exhibit Aesthetic Exploration in the "Virtual Nature" of Synthetic Environments and Artificial Ecologies

The "Aesthetics of Artificial Life" expo event

ALife VI Conference - Nerve Garden, a Public Terrarium in Cyberspace

As described in the excerpt from my paper titled "Virtual Reality as an Art Medium", is both the theory and application of utilizing the computer as a computational engine to create synthetic environments and quasi-organic entities flourishing in these virtual realms, as an alternative form of nature (both at the nano and "macro" scale). In this context, the computer can "discover" asthetic content as well as functional models of such domains, not unlike the way a photographer may "discover", and capture the asthetics of nature as it occurs in the "real" world.

In this context, the computer can be utilized as a type of computational camera

The "Brain of Charles". . .

The "Brain of Charles" - this "virtual brain" was created by the author by raytracing the volumetric data of a 3D scanned brain, which was subsequently surface mapped with a custom developed procedural texturing routine. The topology in the background is actually the result of a chunk of calcite which was also scanned in with the Cyberware 3D scanning system, and then also surface mapped with a procedural texturing routine. This entire scene, complete with the metallic probe entering the lower right corner of the "brain entity", was rendered as part of the scene art featured in the article written by the author for Mondo 2000 magazine, on the topic of current and near future mind-machine interface technology. For further exploration into this, and other such realms, and beyond, please visit the Mondo 2000 website (see below)

Enter the Entity . . . from the virtual beyond . . . I surrender my belief barrier, enraptured

Charles Ostman

Evolved Art - Portals into the Virtual Terraform . . . Charles flourishing with his recent "spawnings" at the Anon Salon

Send e-mail to Charles Ostman

Visit the far frontier . . . Get your own Mondo 2000

Resources And Insight . . . . . . for the Entrpreneurial Engineer Midnight Engineering

Where Art and Technology Come Together Fine art on various media, virtual and real "entities", environments, custom applications and technology development for the "discovery" of asthetic content . . . Berkeley Designs

Artificial Life flourishing on the Virtual Terraform . . . Enter online, see it "live" at SigGraph 97! Digital Biota Project

Contact . . . at the Contact Consortium Enter the portal to myriad virtual terraforms, worlds, universes, and the technologies and people who make them possible Contact Consortium

Special thanks to Bruce Damer and DigitalSpace Corp. Helping to pioneer the exploration and development of life on the virtual terraform . . . DigitalSpace