Organic Recursion

Recursion is the process of repeating a number of steps which use outputs given by earlier steps of the same process; outputs from earlier steps are re-used as inputs. Recursion is the basis of mathematical and biological fractals. In my art I sometimes use mathematically defined recursion, as in logarithmic spirals composed of pieces that rotate and scale relative to their parent objects, and sometimes I use recursive ideas without the aid of mathematics. This organic recursion is not precisely recursive in a strict sense, yet it contains the same basic idea. When I draw I often repeat patterns but let them scale or slowly change shape in a way that each successive form is related to its predecessor. When making computer models and three-dimensional forms I sometimes scale and copy base objects according to whim, yet the process remains essentially recursive. This type of recursion, unconstrained by mathematics or computers, is generated from the brain, and thus I would like to call it Organic Recursion.

The recursive process tends to create forms that resemble biological structures and systems, and this aesthetic is one that I strive to imitate and exaggerate. Fractals and recursion exist everywhere around us and in us.

The paper sculpture I make is first a sketch transferred to a [3-D] model on the computer, then unfolded into flat patterns and printed on paper. I then cut out the flat patterns with glue tabs and assemble the sculptures. This process is extremely tedious but allows for a high degree of precision. The first sculptures made using this process were made with plain white paper and were printed on small inkjet printers. As I progressed I started using higher quality paper and making more complex shapes that represented fractals and required more complex cut patterns. More recently, laser cutters have allowed me to create forms that would be extremely tedious to cut and score by hand, thus greatly reducing build time.


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