New signs of life

The worlds of fluid dynamics and glass and light lend themselves particularly well to echoes of organic and large-scale forms of all kinds, and I am always keen to find parallels between the patterns created in the lab or at home, and those in the natural world around us. Here are a few recent examples.


‘Time, like a never-ending stream’


‘Living potential’


‘Freshly formed wave’

And finally, a version of a collaborative video recently made with Tullio DeSantis entitled ‘Biology’ .. this version has subtitles, and Tullio’s words form a close alliance with my still and moving imagery of plants and animals as they evolve:


Going with the slow flow

After the whirling vortices of the last couple of weeks, I decided to slow things down a little in the Fluids lab at Exeter Uni and have been creating some images using slow flow. These pictures require a lot of time to form, and in that respect they are closer to the ink on paper work which I did for many years before switching to ink in water. The main difference with these images is that I am recording their changes over time by photographing them as they develop. Sometimes two main images emerge from this developmental process which may include my further intervention with water and paint. An example of this can be seen in the two below, ‘Moving the liquid mountain’ and ‘Coloured cruiser’.


‘How does my garden grow’ detail


‘Moving the liquid mountain’

Anyway it’s been great fun to return to this kind of image-making … back to the old days, but using new methods!


‘Coloured Cruiser’


‘How does my garden grow?’

Beyond the whirlpools

I have been experimenting in the lab with whirlpool vortices to set up more complex flows. Mini-whirlpools can often be seen in action next to the main spiral of flow, and by using different coloured inks, the different systems can be easily seen.

At the end of the session, I usually use the remaining ink to create images, and have posted a couple below. These images are reminiscent of the ink on paper work – except the results are now being photographed, before the image gets washed away forever!


‘Battle of the Magenta’


‘A second spiral’


‘Wheels of fire’


‘Imaginary island’

Patterns large and small

Below is a small collection, mostly movie stills, of recent lab work on whirlpool vortices – I’m intrigued by the similarities with galactic formations, and by the transformation of patterning as it disappears down the hole forever. I’ve been on the look out for hexagons as always – managed to find quite a few!


‘Embryonic vortex’


‘Gathering material’


‘Moving towards a hexagon’


‘Swallowing the pattern’


‘Anamorphic transform’


‘Evolving waves’