Description The words 'fluid dynamics' may bring memories of the swirling patterns in coffee, the smoke rising from a candle that has just been blown out, or the chaotic motions of rice grains in boiling water. None of these, though, can hold a flame to the largest (and frightfully close) mass of constantly-convecting and active fluid flow that we know of: the sun. The combined action of magnetism, temperature, and convection---which are all amenable to the same computational methods---creates the dynamo effect. These intertwined forces result in amazingly complex behaviors. This image pays homage to the chaotic and powerful mass of hydrogen and helium that gives us life.The method for creating 'Dynamo' was born from the need to illustrate complex flow patterns for publication in scientific journals. One common problem with visualizing fluid flow is that most plotting software use very simple lighting schemes and rely on perspective and occlusion for communicating depth. It has been shown, however, that shape and spatial relation of virtual objects can be significantly enhanced with the inclusion of realistic light interreflection. To accommodate this, I chose to render solid streamlines with a pseudo-radiosity raytracer, which adds these important depth cues to the two-dimensional image.One of my goals for 'Dynamo' was to use this technique to depict a dynamism that is pervasive and uncontrollable yet confined. Fluid turbulence is an amazing phenomenon that stems from a few simple physical relationships, and is an ideal model for explorations in computational physics and algorithms. The research code that created the shapes in 'Dynamo' acts very much like a flocking algorithm, in which every particle is constantly affected by every other particle, though with different interaction rules.
Mark J. Stock, Somerville, MA Member Since February 2008 Artist Statement Mark Stock is a programmer, researcher, and artist who explores the boundary between the real and the unreal reflected in the sciences of fluid dynamics, computer simulation, and visual perception. He has had work appear in >80 juried exhibitions since 2001, including Ars Electronica, ASPECT Magazine, and seven SIGGRAPH Art Galleries.
He first learned simulation and visualization by programming Moire patterns and particle dynamics routines on a Commodore computer. His interests in mathematics and programming followed him through high school and led him to acquire degrees in engineering at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. An interest in photography led him to discover computer graphics as an undergraduate at U-M. He spent several years exploring different techniques and tools for creating virtual images. In 1999, while attempting to debug some of his simulation software, he rendered the suspect program's output with a highly-accurate lighting visualization package called Radiance. This inadvertent discovery of an unnatural beauty, hidden within the sciences of computational fluid dynamics and radiosity, prompted him to pursue this branch of new media art. Now, using computationally-intensive tools and methods, he creates artwork that examines perception and humanity in this world of ubiquitous computation.
Mark is a full-time artist and consultant and operates out of his studio in Somerville, Massachusetts.