Monday, October 31, 2016

"Echoes"

My last post was about fractal animations, and on BoingBoing I saw another interesting video using fractal animation.
It is called "Echoes" by artist Chris Bjerre. The animation uses a simple black & white palette, but explores a kaleidoscope of ever-changing forms.


At one point in the animation (00:38), the pattern known as "The Flower of Life" briefly emerges. This design is the basis for the strategy game that I created, "Da Vinci's Challenge". This pattern is an element of sacred geometry, the study of the forms and relationships that underly reality.


I'm not sure whether this pattern was programmed into the sequence in some way, or if it organically arose from the fractal mathematics.

Either way, this fundamental pattern appeared in the chaotic variation of fractal forms. Since my eye is trained to look for this design, it popped out at me & inspired me to share.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Fractal Shorts


 I am endlessly, recursively fascinated by fractal geometry & the imagery that can be produced with it.

Recently I found a series of awe-inspiring animations using 3D fractal renderings. The artist is Julius Horsthuis, and there is a whole playlist of his mind-bending creations in YouTube. I would recommend bookmarking this page so you can go back & watch through the dozens of videos on his playlist:


 Here are a few of my favorites, but they all should really be seen:

"Emergence" feels like finding an impossibly constructed alien temple in a dense jungle:



"Divergent Evolution" takes the idea of a jungle theme even deeper and immerses us in an ever-shifting organic landscape.



"Solar Wind" has a cosmic, but foreboding feel to it:


"Dream/Iterate" uniquely includes a human figure in the animation, who is transported to a very non-human fractal realm:


Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Donald Trump Halloween Costume

This past weekend, my fiancée and I were invited to a Halloween party. We both had tried to think of costumes for weeks, and were considering dressing up as Anakin Skywalker & Padme Amidala from Star Wars.

Last week, she sent me a pic of people dressed as Donald Trump with Hillary Clinton in a prison outfit. We thought it was funny, but she didn't want to dress as Hillary. Instead, she came up with the hysterical idea of being a "cat" for Donald to "grab," if you get the reference.

So, she dressed up as a cute cat, and I put together a Trump costume- with a suit & red tie, horrible wig, orange face paint, tiny baby doll hands, and the most ridiculous facial expressions I could muster. I thought it turned out pretty funny & it was a hit with our friends on Facebook. Here are a few photos:




Saturday, October 22, 2016

"Seed of Life Gold"

I have a gallery of 3D rendered art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.


Here is another addition to the gallery, a sacred geometry symbol. It's a gold arrangement of circles known as "The Seed of Life", reflected in chrome to form an overlapping design:

 "Seed of Life Gold"
by Paul Micarelli

Awhile ago, I used to make a lot of 3D art using Vue software, which was intuitive for me to learn. My previous computer became obsolete, so I wasn't able to run the program anymore. Last year for my birthday, my wonderful fiancée helped me pay for a purchase of a newer Mac Mini. I downloaded a trial version, and this week I finally registered for their free Vue Pioneer. This image was my first attempt at getting back into using the 3D software.

I don't run any ads on this site, but I'd appreciate it if you check out my Cafepress shop. There are prints and products with this design available:

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Friday, October 21, 2016

Common Planet Economics

http://earthvote.org/common-planet.html

One of the major sources of misery & distress in this world is the economic system that has been set up to regulate human activity. It is a system based on debt and fiat currency that only has value because the central banks say it has value.

Economics is one of those areas in which the status quo has been entrenched for so long, that people just accept how shitty it is and don't think of better solutions. Luckily, there are people who take the time to dream of better possibilities & think of new ways of doing things. Sometimes new ideas start out as fiction, such as the the post-scarcity economics of Star Trek.

The Monkey Buddha Archives:

I came across this introduction to a "Common Planet" manifesto on Phroyd's World and believe it's the type of thinking we need to transform our economic system. It seems outrageously idealistic and impossible to implement in our current situation, but only by presenting ideas and new perspectives can we even begin to change our society and its institutions.

earthvote.org:

The plan has aspects of Universal Basic Income, an approach of eliminating welfare programs & poverty by guaranteeing a basic income to every person.

This would be paid for by redistributing wealth from the very top of the economic pyramid, which is now basically extracted from circulation and hoarded for personal score-keeping, instead of used to benefit all of society. Anyone who argues against wealth redistribution from the top>down is making a de facto argument in favor of wealth redistribution from the bottom>up. Some of the same people who lament the disappearance of the "middle class" vehemently argue against raising taxes on the top 1%. The wealth of not just this country but of this world is being siphoned from the average population & into the bank accounts of the ultra-rich at an unsustainable rate. This is an indisputable fact, and something must be done to regain some sense of fairness in the economic priorities of the human race.

Perhaps change will be slowly implemented over decades or centuries, maybe we are stuck with this system for the foreseeable future. However, if people formulate, analyze, and discuss new ways of thinking, then the possibility of improving our state of being becomes much more likely. These approaches need to gain recognition in the collective consciousness, and will result in people demanding & creating a better world.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Make America Grope Again

We are coming up on the third & final US Presidential debate, and this election season has been a real shitshow.

Despite Hillary Clinton being a deeply flawed candidate, the pure insanity of Donald Trump's campaign is proving to be too much for all but the most diehard supporters & Hillary haters. If Trump stuck with his messages about jobs and trade, he would have a real shot. Instead, he is lashing out and tweeting his way toward what could be a significant loss. Some people still think that he is a secret Clinton plant, meant to throw the election for Hillary & rip apart the Republican party. I don't think it's really that deep- it's just the case of a spoiled narcissist & chauvinist who is finally getting scrutinized and facing the prospect of losing to a woman.

After the barrage of stories coming out regarding Trump's disposition toward grabbing, uh, women, I had the idea for this graphic before I went to sleep one night. Other people have used this phrase on graphics, but I had to do my own take on it. Like Donald around a beautiful woman, I just couldn't help myself!


Yes, I know... this graphic could also apply to Bill Clinton & his history. However, Trump is the one running for President, and he's the one I feel is the more dangerous of the two candidates. That, and the fact that he is such a fascist, thin-skinned jackass about everything makes me want to pile on & shun this guy from public life. Unfortunately, that probaboly won't happen & he'll use his base of supporters to create a media outlet or subscription TV channel of some sort. I think this campaign was ultimately a ploy to make money and to increase his profile, so we may be stuck with Donald Trump & his cult of personality for a long time.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

"Modern Chaos"

I've started a gallery of abstract art that I created, with hi-res images that I'll continually add to.

  
Here is another addition in the gallery:



"Modern Chaos"
by Paul Micarelli

Prints & products featuring my designs are available in my Cafepress store.

The Monkey Buddha Bazaar:

Friday, October 14, 2016

"Star Wars: Rogue One" Trailer


The poster & final trailer for "Star Wars: Rogue One" were released this week. It is the first in, what I assume, will be many "Star Wars Stories" in addition to the numbered main Episodes I-IX.

The "Rogue One" story takes place before the very first Star Wars movie, which is now know as "Episode IV: A New Hope". This movie details the efforts of the Rebellion & the central character Jyn Erso to stop the Empire from realizing it's planet-destroying weapon, The Death Star. Jyn's father Galen Erso was coerced by the Empire to help design the super laser weapon on the Death Star, and there is speculation that his reluctance may have been a factor in the presence of the exhaust port design flaw that was used in its destruction.

We all know the Death Star ends up being completed, then used against Princess Leia's planet of Alderann, and finally destroyed by Luke Skywalker. Despite knowing the eventual outcome, this movie looks to be an engaging and beautifully shot backstory to these events.


What most people are hyped about is the appearance of the greatest villain, and in my opinion the greatest character in all of fiction, Darth Vader. The former Jedi Anakin Skywalker is now the menacing Sith Lord and is probably overseeing the construction of the Death Star, while hunting down the Rebels who are trying to thwart the Empire's plans. This trailer only shows a few fleeting glimpses of Vader's menacing presence, but it is enough to make any Star Wars fan get excited for this movie.


There is alot of other cool stuff in this trailer, including this shot of a giant fallen Jedi statue on the planet Jedha, that I didn't notice until I saw someone mention it in comments about the trailer.


These are some of the other cool details that I think are part of what's going to make this a great addition to the Star Wars universe:
• The battles with AT-ATs in tropical settings
• Director Orson Krennic, the threatening Imperial officer in charge of the Death Star project 
• Blind Force-believing martial artist Chirrup Imre, played by Donnie Yen
• The oppressive presence & power of the Empire that is represented by the looming Star Destroyers
• Hope and resistance to authoritarianism as a message of the strength of the human (or alien) spirit

There has been some question about whether this is too much Star Wars media being released by Disney. As long as the content is well-produced & provides inspiring storylines, this lifelong Star Wars fan is happy to explore as much of the galaxy far, far way as possible.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Star Wars Cinematics

 This weekend, I was watching a couple of episodes of Star Wars: Rebels with my nephews. Even though it is a cartoon, it's really well produced and delves into some of the more interesting aspects of Star Wars- such as the mystical aspects of The Force and the power of Jedi & Sith holocrons.

The beauty of the Star Wars saga is its fictional universe that is ripe for endless characters & stories. This has not only been explored in movies & TV shows, but also video games. I was also showing my nephews cinematics from the multiplayer online game "The Old Republic" which takes place over a thousand years before the events of "Episode IV: A New Hope". They are almost like awesome mini-movies in themselves & show the amazing creative possibilities that that Star Wars galaxy presents.

This trailer is for an expansion to the game. It follows a force-weilding child who is trained and corrupted by the Sith Emperor Valkorion, the leader of the Eternal Empire, who lived 5,000 years before Emperor Palpatine.


STAR WARS: The Old Republic – Knights of the Eternal Throne
 "Betrayed" Trailer 


 Here's another trailer for the original game, showing the Sith infiltrating the Jedi Temple:


STAR WARS™: The Old Republic™
'Deceived' Cinematic Trailer


Finally, here's another video I came across that blew me away, breaking down the amazing visual effects used in "Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens":


Friday, October 07, 2016

"Sisyphus" Kinetic Sand Art


I've seen a few sites linking to this amazing creation by Bruce Shapiro that integrates art & technology in a mesmerizing way.

The installation is called "Sisyphus". It is named after the Greek myth of the tortured soul who is forced to roll a boulder up a mountain each day, only to have it continuously roll back down to the bottom.


Sisyphus consists of a metal ball that guided through a surface covered in sand, presumably using computer-guided magnets underneath the table.


Watching this system in action brings to mind the quote by Arthur C. Clarke, "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic."

It is a modern take on the Zen art of rock & sand gardens, with similarly profound meditative qualities.

It is also reminiscent of Tibetan sand mandalas, which are intricate spiritual designs made of colored sand. These creations are ritually swept up & the sand dispersed after they are finished, to symbolize the impermanent nature of existence.




Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Trump: Putting the "CON" into "Conservative"

After my post about the first Presidential debate with the President A$$hole graphic that I made, I was inspired to create another Trump image.

I'm not enthusiastic about the idea of Hillary Clinton being President, but I think she is much less dangerous to the state of our society than the possibility of a President Trump. He would be an absolute disaster. Anyone who believes he would do a damn thing for the majority of working people is deluded. They've been conned by the quintessential con-man.

The Atlantic:

Donald Trump's whole career has been based on screwing people over, in order to benefit himself. This is not the type of person you want in charge of public policy.

So, the idea that Trump has really put the "CON" into "Conservative" led me to make this graphic:


Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Hanging Snakeskin

Here's another addition to my album of nature photos that took me by surprise.

I was in the back yard of my parents' house when I saw this large snakeskin hanging among the branches of a bush. It was about 3 feet long, and it appears the snake shed it while climbing through the bushes.

My dad saw a large snake crawling along the roof of their house a few months ago, so I'm pretty sure this skin belongs to him...

by Paul Micarelli