Apparent chaos

The title of this entry is inspired by a phrase from 2010 Masterchef winner, Dhruv Baker. During his visit to India in the final rounds of the competition he described the busy scene around him (a market, I think) as ‘apparent chaos’. What a perceptive phrase. For me it was the perfect description of somewhere so busy that it has the semblance of chaos without actually being chaotic. Indeed, apparent chaos can be the mark of a high level of order – the result of highly complex dynamics: in the marketplace crowds of people buying and selling, communicating, interacting in complex ways with a view to somehow getting everything done and sorted out.

The image below, entitled “Entropy or complexity” expresses this ‘apparent chaos’ concept. Its patterns of light travelling through glass, splitting into iridescence as it goes, have a random quality – yet there are physical and optical reasons for all the patterning and textures within the image; determined by the interplay of the shape of the glass, the type of light, the angle of light etc. … all of which means it’s a very very complex order, and not chaos.


‘Entropy or complexity’ August 2011 Light travelling through glass

Any comments on this are very welcome. I’ll post a few more examples in other media at some point.


Animal crackers in my soap!

Happy Christmas everyone!

This image’s title is derived from Shirley Temple’s ‘Animal Crackers in my Soup’ which I remember seeing at Xmas when I was small.

I can see at least ten small creatures in here…


‘Animal crackers in my soap’ a miniature menagerie

Soapadelia shows the passing of time

This image shows two soapy states juxtaposed; relatively static patterning on the left, and on the right, drips of soap mix from above causing dynamic changes in the pattern.


Relatively static and dynamic states juxtaposed

I am always interested in showing different speeds of flow within one image as their juxtaposition heightens our awareness of time. Time-rich images … for me, best of all !

Just passing through … thin film interference from plastic tubing

Amazing how strong soap film is. I spent a few hours yesterday making and photographing a soap film rig where the plane was penetrated by thin flexible tubing. I wanted to see how the flow was affected by the tube passing through the film. I made a wire frame and attached some tubing in such a way that it passed through the film, and one of my friends from the workshop kindly photographed me holding it:


intrusions from the side – two sections of tube pass through the film

Below is an image of the same equipment now horizontal with an interesting deformation of the soap plane (quatrefoil shape) where the tubing goes through:


accommodating the tubing

so thin, yet so strong

Yesterday in the lab I experimented with pushing objects through soap film, and was amazed that the syringe, shown below, passed through it without breaking the film. We can see the the lower half of the syringe quite clearly although it is actually behind the film. The bubbles and dark elliptical shape mark the point where the syringe passes through.


flexible film

Below is an image of soap film at a later stage, when it begins to turn black. I liked the contrast between the two areas; two stages coexisting:


‘Black, white and colour’

Below are a couple of light images I took today of light and glass. I felt they had a suitably cool, wintery mood; the lower one reminded me of frost needles.


‘glass steps’



Everywhere in chains


‘Sci-fi Garden’

I’m intrigued by the way the vortices in soap film emerge one from the other in a linked formation, as in ‘Sci-fi Garden’, above. Their shapes seem to be unique too; mushroom shaped but often rounded at the top, and as mentioned before, affected in shape by oncoming flow .. must find out more about this. Below are some which are just developing at the edge of the flow:


‘on the edge’

Robotomorphism and other morphisms

The robots are coming ..


or maybe they are here already in the Fluids lab at the Uni .. I caught a few candidates yesterday in my sketchbook, including a fully-fledged one with its lifeline tubes attached, an ominous looking claw, metal twins staring out from the wall .. glad I’m not around the lab at night

And here are some other morphisms –

the poppy seed head below reminded me of a knight’s helmet, and is called ‘as for me .. I’ll be a knight’ – a line from Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone


‘as for me .. I’ll be a knight’

My Flickr stream (see link, right) is full of ambiguous images, and the comments left by viewers reflect a huge range of possible interpretations of my work. People seem to enjoy this process; I think it adds to the image – the ideas are usually different from my own …

Below, examples in soap film of how ‘eyes’ may make us think of creatures;


‘watching …’

For me, more robots in this one! – and fish below.



Below, one more ‘morphism’ taken this summer which I entitled ‘Birth of the Medusa’. Plants may sometimes may take on strange anthropomorphic forms, especially when they are just emerging, as this one is.