"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.

about Charles Ostman

Contact Charles Ostman

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

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

Organomorph 1

Organomorph1 This image was created by the morphing together of two 3D raytraced "virtual world" images, utilizing an artificial life routine to drive the control points in the morphing engine. Both of the virtual world images themselves are renderings of 3D artificial lifeforms, which were subsequently morphed together with an artificial lifeform driven process, hence the title, "organomorph". This is one example of a series of "experiments" in which the hidden asthetic potential of a synthetically derived "virtual world" was discovered through procedural means.

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

Fractal Vortex 1

Fractal Vortex 1 is a view into the hyperdimensional regions of fractal space where anything, and everything, is theoretically possible. Experiments conducted by myself and many others have explored the mathematical expression of complex forms "discovered" in often hidden regions of comlexity embedded in a domains of fractal space.

Though I have created many of my own hybrid fractal sets in an effort to explore such theoretical realms, no other individual better personifies this arena of exploration and discovery than the great master himself, Benoit Mandelbrot. Complex new technologies may be rapidly transforming the arena of expressive content in the arts, but the "return to nature" is a theme I very heartily embrace. My desire is to embrace the "aternative nature" of virtual worlds.

As the master himself Benoit Mandelbrot states in his book, the Fractal Geometry of Nature, "Fractal geometry will make you see everything differently. 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."

Dendrite

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.

Chaos Matrix

Chaos Matrix represents a moment in time and space, frozen in its virtual domain as a represtation of a process which may indeed soon be translated into the real world. As the title suggests, this is indeed a chaotic event, "frozen" in time and space. Dodechehedron nanocrystals have assembled themselves into a self-organizing, "intelligent" material matrix. A myriad of such self organizing and self assembling materials already exist, and represents one of the new domains of discovery in the field of applied nanotechnology. These nanocrystals, however, are completely virtual, and was rendered here as a three dimensional procedurally driven event.

Organomorph 2

Organomorph2 This image was created by the morphing together of two 3D raytraced "virtual world" images, utilizing an artificial life routine to drive the control points in the morphing engine. Both of the virtual world images themselves are renderings of 3D artificial lifeforms, which were subsequently morphed together with an artificial lifeform driven process, hence the title, "organomorph". This is one example of a series of "experiments" in which the hidden asthetic potential of a synthetically derived "virtual world" was discovered through procedural means.

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

Explore the "virtual future" of digital biota, artificial lifeforms and ecologies, virtual humans, and the emergent anthropology of synthetic societies in "Avatars", the book - Bruce Damer - ISBN 0-201-68840-9 Many thanks to Bruce Damer and the Biota organization, which has fostered through its continued efforts the cultural, societal, and technical integration of organic and "artificial entities" into the ubiquitous evolutionary evenstream which the human species is soon to encounter.

The "Organic Artists" - Avatars

Aesthetic Exploration in the "Virtual Nature" of Synthetic Environments and Artificial Ecologies
Excerpt from the newly released book by Bruce Damer, "Avatars": ISBN 0-021-68840-9 Life in Digital Space - Bots, Biota and Virtual Pets. The NanoWorlds of Charles Ostman. Charles Ostman is a real wonder of a "Professional Synergist" from Berkeley, California. Ostman brings his years of experience in building successively smaller and more complex electronics at Lawrence Berkeley labs and intense interest in Nanotechnology to bear through his organic art vision. Ostman's works seek to give us a reflection from a future "virtual terraform" inhabited by "synthetic sentients". Ostman sees a time in the future when Nanotechnology (the ability to make things one atom at a time) renders all current economic systems obsolete and transforms human lifestyles and our very perception of reality Ostman is science editor for Mondo 2000 and a frequent guest on Art Bell's Coast to Coast all night radio show. The basic inspirational building blocks of Ostman's art include molecular machines, self assembling "nano lego" components, nanobots and nanocritters, pseudo proteins, quasi viral components,"artificial" organisms, and ubiquitous nano "foglettes". Visit the NanoWorlds of Charles Ostman

This is how I actually see the universe, and how I 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. 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 the Virtual Terraform 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 universe", 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". In other words, there is vastly more potential in creating a synthetic environment which actually contains the dynamic elements of an evolving "organism" or ecosystem, than merely "drawing" a picture of such an environment.

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.

Enter this world, and examine the contents of these renderings of nanoscale systems and bio-molecular "device" simulations which I have been creating as part of an ongoing project with Nanothinc, the Institute for Global Futures, and other interested organizations.

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.

The included imgages are computer generated 3D renderings of theoretical nanocomponents, created by the author as a visualization of possible implementations of such molecular substructures and interactive symbiotic components. These are a few examples from a much larger collection of rendered, theoretical nanosubcomponent systems, consisting of various "species" types with specific interactive and symbiotic properties.

The world, as we currently know it to be, what it will become . . . the convergence, the "test", and beyond . . .Strategic Synergist - At the forefront of evolving technologies.

My ultimate focus is on the concept of nanotechnology representing the next great revolution, as an evolutionary threshold which will transform, but also test, the human civilization's capacity to adapt and evolve to this new realm. The substrate of socio-economic systems, valuation indices of commodities and currency systems, the status of industry base strata and their attendant distribution structures, which are already in a state of flux as this fabric is being drawn into the global connectivity grid, currently referred to as the internet, is only a precursory indicator of what the nanotechnology age is about to potentially create.

This entire genre' of development will evolve into an new socio-economic system substrate not conceivable by today's standards of reference. Various aspects of applied and theoretical nanotechnology, neural prosthesis and implantable interface devices, ubiqutous computing and process functionality domains as a virtual asset resource base accessable on the internet, the evolution of newly forming socio-economic substrate systems emminating from the "virtual terraform" . . . these are only a few of the key marker threshold points in an evolutionary event stream which are embedded into the existance matrices of the near future.

In my world, I am not merely an observer, who occassionally writes about such speculations, but rather, am a direct participant in some of the developmental processes which will make these very technologies and their eventual applications possible. It is my personal belief that a series of choices, decision boundaries to be negotiated, will soon become self apparent to the society at large.

The hope is that a process resembling "reasoned thought" may be collectively applied, by which the trajectory of such developments can be manifest in the most mutually beneficial and benign implementations possible. This is the test, the "rights of passage" into and beyond the event horizon of the Next Millenium


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

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About 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