Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Somebody... Give this woman a sim-wide show

Desert Rose: Spiral Threads #12, 1,000 prims

Posted by Bettina Tizzy
All photography and machinima by Suzanne Graves

I have an uncle who handily wins the prize for geekiest person in my personal sphere. The man has two interests in life and one of them is math. One Christmas years ago, as we all gathered round the tree for our gift exchange, my uncle showed up with a manila folder. When his turn came around, he explained that he'd spent the past several months creating art using math equations in his spare time and we could each choose one of his art pieces as our gift. This was my first exposure to the concept of fractals, and I've been indebted to him ever since. Oh, I know... it was such a dorky thing to do (and he is a dork!), but the fact remains, I love geek art.

I figure it has been two years now since I first became aware of an ardent explorer and photographer in Second Life by the name of Suzanne Graves. It must be about a year now since she hung up her traveling hat and began playing with scripts and prims. Random rotations, random locations, generative builds, animated textures, and more. Math-inspired art.

I'm here to tell you that this woman hasn't wasted a moment. Since her Slinky piece and Wireflower back in July, 2008 to date, Suzanne has discovered many more new tricks for making prims behave in arrestingly beautiful ways.

And now she is capturing these kinetic forms in her own machinima...

Viewable temporarily - along with two other sculptures by Suzanne - at Ars Simulacra. Teleport directly from here.
Music (c) Bertycox, Album: Synesthetism on

Suzanne calls this sculpture Sphere Balls as a play on words. "The spheres seem to be dancing at the ball," she explained. The piece, which she created quite by accident, consists of three similar sets of black and red spheres containing 200 spheres each that rotate in different directions simultaneously. Each of the three sets are positioned on an invisible/virtual bigger sphere, following a 3D curve on that big sphere.

"The size of each small sphere depends on the curvature of the 3D curve at its location. You may notice that the spheres on the top are smaller. Each "big" set is completed by (and linked to) an invisible prim, which is positioned at the center of the big virtual sphere, and this invisible prim responds to start and stop commands. I could add more commands such as changing the rotation direction, for instance," she added.

"The three sets of 200 spheres are concentric (their invisible prims have the same location), and the set in the middle rotates in an opposite direction relative to the outer and inner sets."

Because Suzanne's work is prim-heavy and script intense, it isn't easily displayed. In fact, I'm often frustrated because I don't know which sim or sandbox she is working in so that I can go and peek. I think it is time someone hosted a sim-wide show of her work. Don't you? Take a look...

Gold Box Sets

Spiral Threads #01

Spiral Threads #06

You can see more of Suzanne's work on her Flickr stream.


Alpha Auer said...

One of Suzanne's pieces is rezzed at Syncretia and I have to say that I am truly in awe of her output:

One of the things about mathematical or "geek" art (love that term btw ;-), for me, is that it seems to be somewhat difficult to achieve individuation within the genre: Yes, the outcome is usually very pleasant to behold (the formulae which generate the arrays would see to that, I imagine) however, how often do we see mathematical art which we instantly recognize as belonging to a specific artist? In Suzanne's case, I do. Visual capability of a level to be reckoned with, coupled with knowledge/awareness enables her to work in cognition of visual laws such as Gestalt, color theory, contrasts and harmonies. Result: Mathematics for Art as opposed to Art for Mathematics! (And I am very proud of this last little bit of pontification, I might add... ;-))))

Terry Lightfoot said...

Awesome work, a bit reminiscent of some of Spiral Walcher's shapes and textures as well. Love the organic geometric look of it all. :-)

Hern Worsley said...

This is exactly the kind of thing that fascinates me. I find these perfect mathematical forms incredibly beautiful. I also dont have the kind of mind to be able to achieve this kind of work myself and im always in awe of those who do!

Spiral Threads #01 is stunning

Thx Bettina and ty Suzanne.

suzannegraves said...


Thank you so much, I am so honored ! Sometimes I have felt that the things I do are too abstract. But that is really something I do on purpose... I have thought about creating more personal things, but I was too scared to do that.

Anyway, the real excitement behind this kind of work is when you get unexpected results, just like the Spiral Threads series, where a little change in the parameters can result in something completely different.

I still don't call it 'Art', although I like the term 'Geek Art', because it is not too serious (thank you Alpha :). For me spending hours trying things and scripting is a lot of fun, and there does not seem to be a limit for creation in SL, apart the constantly low number of prims available...

@Hern: Spiral Threads #01 is also my fave :)