In January I visited a Cathedral Dreamer, Gem Preiz’s Full Sim Art installation at the LEA featuring images of his amazing fractal art. At the time, I commented to Honour McMillan that I’d love to see something like his work translated into in-world, real-time constructs which could be explored. Little did I know that Mac Kanashimi would be on-hand from February through June to provide something very close to what I’d been musing about!
Dragon Curves is Mac’s installation as a part of the LEA’s round 6 AIR selection. Despite the fact the regions were only handed over to the artists at the start of February, it is already open to the public. Don’t let the quick opening deceive you – there’s some six months of work gone into the piece – and it is simply stunning, particularly if you’re of a mathematical bent.
Mac says of the 1216-metre high piece, floating over LEA 26: “The Dragon Curves exhibit showcases sim-wide variations of dragon curve art. The spectacular script-controlled dragon curve landscape changes continuously.”
For those unfamiliar with the concept of the dragon curve, the concept grew from the Harter–Heighway dragon first investigated by NASA physicists John Heighway, Bruce Banks, and William Harter, and documented in 1967 in Scientific American. Essentially, it is any member of a family of self-similar fractal curves, as depicted by Heighway, Banks and Hartner.
When seen from above, this pattern of self-similar curves is visible throughout this remarkable, ever-evolving piece in which the landscape within the three levels constantly changes as elements rise and fall and change colour (their colour being derived by height), and even resize themselves.
It is possible to find your way down from the arrival point at the top of the build to the lower platforms by way of the “dragon stair”, an 8 kilometre long, 1024m high stairway, itself a dragon curve, while each of the levels within the build comprise 10 dragon curves apiece and individual objects within the build comprise 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32 or 48 prims.
It really is an amazing and dramatic piece, a companion to Mac’s Mandelbrot Art, which was featured on an LEA region in early 2013. When visiting, set your draw distance to around 500 metres, if possible, in order to see the installation more fully. Also note that there are six safe junctions (including the landing point) where you can stand as the landscape on each level changes. Mac also notes that there is an “Emergency button to derez the dragon curves in case of crises”(!).
Addendum, April 4th: Teno Theriac sent me a machinima of Dragon Curves he’s made of Dragon Curves: