Never Ending Spiral Geometric Blooms - BTF


Behold The Future...Creating The Never-Ending Bloom: John Edmark’s spiral geometries. Artist, designer, inventor, and Stanford professor John Edmark creates sculptures that are driven by precise mathematics, but his interest in spiral geometries is driven by something more enigmatic… “a search for unusual behaviors, things that are non-intuitive, that maybe seem impossible.”

In this SciFri Arts video, Edmark shares the evolution of his exploration, from spiraling Fibonacci puzzles, to Golden Angle towers, to 3D-printed, zoetrope-like shapes that seem to grow endlessly when animated under a strobe light: Creating The Never-Ending Bloom.


John Edmark Website Statement

If change is the only constant in nature, it is written in the language of geometry.

Much of my work celebrates the patterns underlying space and growth. Through kinetic sculptures and transformable objects, I strive to give viewers access to the surprising structures hidden within apparently amorphous space.

While art is often a vehicle for fantasy, my work is an invitation to plunge deeper into our own world and discover just how astonishing it can be. In experiencing a surprising behavior, one’s sense of wonder and delight is increased by the recognition that it is occurring within the context of actual physical constraints. The works can be thought of as instruments that amplify our awareness of the sometimes tenuous relationship between facts and perception.

I employ precise mathematics in the design and fabrication of my work. I do this neither out of a desire to exhibit precision per se, nor to exalt the latest technology, but because the questions I’m trying to formulate and answer about spatial relationships can only be addressed with geometrically exacting constructions. Mathematical precision is an essential ally in my goal of achieving clarity.

Nature is generous and inexhaustible, rewarding curiosity with startling insights and an abundance of ever more beautiful mysteries. Through my work I endeavor to share the joy of discovery with others in a continuing pursuit of the timeless patterns of change.

Blooms are 3D printed sculptures designed to animate when spun under a strobe light. Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained sculpture. The bloom’s animation effect is achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi (ϕ), the same ratio that nature employs to generate the spiral patterns we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5º (the angular version of phi). Each bloom’s particular form and behavior is determined by a unique parametric seed I call a phi-nome (/fī nōm/).

For this video, rather than using a strobe, the camera was set to a very short shutter speed in order to freeze individual frames of the spinning sculpture.