Laser Etching on Patinated Steel
Microcosms is made from a series of patinated sheets of steel that were etched with a laser to ablate off the rust layer in specific areas. This process was repeated up to three times to create different thicknesses of rust on the metal surface. The images etched into the surface were made using an interactive program that generated circles in a chaotic pattern determined by an iterative, non-linear equation and human motion captured by an X-Box Kinect.
It was my intention to superimpose a highly geometric and clearly artificial form of chaos on top of the natural chaos of the formation of rust in order to draw connections between our rigid, mathematical form of chaos and the chaos of the natural world. The circles are meant to make the viewer believe that there is, perhaps, some sort of logic or pattern to their arrangement. The rust layer that the circles are carved from are another form of chaos, one so complex and varied that any pattern is nigh impossible to discern. Such things are normally cast off as "random". However, we know the science to explain the formation of rust, we know the variables. What is uncertain is the conditions. But with a known mechanism, such a thing could hardly be called random. We simply don't yet have the proper tools to eschew clear and palatable order amidst the chaos.
This piece is a companion piece to Chaos Portraits.