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Worlds as Fragments / 2010

With his diploma project Worlds as Fragments Prokop Bartonicek has launched an experimental science-informed mission. Its leading motif is an exploration of behavioural dynamics of the matter. The author has focused on time-based processes of emergence and decline in a perspective of permanent reconfiguration in substantial entities.

An impressive installation features a fluid “planetoid” that is put in motion via changes in its magnetic field. The perception renders a feeling of being in touch with cosmic forces beyond physical laws, as we commonly know them.

Falling apart of one entity, unpredictable trajectories that particular parts follow as well as recurring accumulation into new sets: All these processes happen in real time and on appropriate scale.

The project is an artistic version of the proof that reality is all process-based with its fractal structure remaining a source of fascination for people around the world. At the same time, the project is a distinctive contribution to the debate concerning spatial co-ordination, serving as an invitation to enter subatomic nanoterritories where complex configurations take place.

Once again in his promising career, the author dares to face and deliver a challenging technical solution linked to a sincere interest in mediating a new kind of experience on the side of audience. This time let us enjoy together a “galactic tempo” the patterns and rhythm of which could as well be identified as that obscure object of our desire.

Pavel Sedlák / Process and Reality, 2010

waf - detail

worlds as fragments - final

worlds as fragments - opening


1] Worlds as fragments


We need to understand worlds as fragments of other worlds. This work of mine illustrates my long-range unflagging idea that the Universe which surrounds me is as deep and infinite as at a distance. I even find the same depth and infinity which expands towards the core of material, towards the core of substance and the idea that various worlds, different kinds of life and consciousness can be much closer to ours than we can imagine. Other smaller and bigger worlds probably form part of our Universe and of us, ourselves. It illustrates an idea that it is not only the distance and star years which separate us from learning about these other worlds, but it is the ability of perception – of our human perception as well as of our so far used instruments. It is foolish to expect that another different world would be perceptible by our earthly body or through an instrument which more or less only prolong and specify our basic human perceptions. Even if it is the case, it is improbable that such finding, or a meeting if preferable, would occur in a similar dimension.


We often see wandering spiders in our homes which share the space which is determined in the same way as ours. In the corners of our rooms there are ladybirds huddling together. Every single day I find the same little spider on the bottom of my bathtub despite that I set it free every time. I am convinced that they are unable of grasping the right meaning of the space which I marked the boundaries of.


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The English astrophysicist, mathematician and biologist, Fred Hoyle, has written a deeply thoughtful book, whose title “The Intelligent Universe”, shocks the common western perception which perceives the space as material, ‘therefore’ it cannot be neither intelligent nor conscious.


To claim that conscience could exist on the interstellar level directly contradicts my healthy common sense as well as a limited soul of a rational-thinking person.


The Westerner usually thinks that to possess conscience it is necessary to have the nervous system and brain, i.e. the closed system. But what is my brain actually? The answer is simple: a whole consisting of milliards of nerve cells which are made up by material molecules and these consist of milliards of atoms. I will try to imagine the material essence of my brain on the atomic level and will try to comprehend what it will cause. By the way, I have decided to share Niels Bohr’s view which concerns the small infinity reflecting the big infinity. In other words, every atom is the solar system on a small scale. Electrons revolve around the core just as the planets do. I am aware of that modern physics abandoned this model of atom a long time ago, but what it propounds nowadays “it cannot be visualised”, that is why Niels Bohr’s solar system is still useful.


If I blew out my brain to the size of our galaxy, there would exist such distances, i.e. empty space, amongst atoms just like amongst milliards of stars of our Milky Way. Let us imagine a hypothetical Lilliputian cosmic traveller who would fly through this brain bestriding a neutrino: he would not understand that this galaxy uses all its atoms-stars as the brain. Still, it is happening right here and right now in my head, I think by means of innumerable milliards of molecular constellation. This atomic galaxy is not static, since sub-atomic clusters change and transform in time. When I am able to think by the means of my atomic galaxies, why could not Mahat the Great think by the means of stars? One is not more absurd than the other. (André Van Lysebeth, Tantra, Le culte de la féminité, 1988)


2] installation


In this text I am not attempting to describe neither the theory of chaos, fractals (which I have even found in broccoli), nor various theories concerning time and space. The core of my work is the transformation of my personal feeling, which gave me this topic, into an installation. This documentation is to focus on the development of my initial idea, to describe the selected form and technical solution of individual components. I was originally intending to work it out more scenographically. I wanted to install a small universe into an aquarium in a room of a passionate breeder. Alan Guth blows our Universe in an inflationary way in order to eliminate imperfections of the classical theory of the Big Bang. However, other Universes, other bubbles can react in a similar way, in which different laws of nature, different physics may hold true which may be of different dimensions and contain different elements to those of our “little home Universe”. (Jiří Grygar, Vladimír Železný – Vesmíru dokořán, Naše vojsko, 1989)


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Individual vivariums and such would be complemented by one special “bubble” in which I intended to start a motion, which can be seen through the Hubble telescope. In the course of time, I found this variant “talkative”. I even found annoying a question which would come across a viewer’s mind: “Who is that breeder? Is it a human or…?” Therefore, I brushed up my proposal. I was aiming at a simple game on a big scale, at authentic visual material, physical animation of substance in the real time, subject, at work with elements on the molecule level. However, at the same time I was trying to achieve an impression of something monumental. Simultaneously, I was searching for a process which would draw the viewer’s attention. And finally, I will return to the subtitle of my topic which I chose at the beginning of my final year. Its title is: “…the moving force – live material”.


Therefore, I chose a minimalist form which comprises of two main spectator perceptible parts, i.e. the projection and the object.


worlds as fragments - opening worlds as fragments - final


A viewer enters a clean and dark space. The only thing which he perceives is the projection on the wall. It concerns a certain picture, a picture which resembles a view of the Universe; eruption, movements of elements and nebula.


After having viewed  the first picture, which borders on the explosion of a star and of growing constructions of thousands of  unicellular organisms, the viewer moves on to another room towards the object. I did not try to be secretive about the object from the aesthetic point of view. I mean I am not trying to hide any mechanical, electronic or cinematography parts. It is not my intention to produce a mysterious musical box. Aesthetics of the thing is practical and functional. I am convinced that it reflects my aesthetic feeling and the way of my systematic, sometimes even geometric, and rhythmical thinking. This is obvious particularly in the fact that when constructing the main object I created my own lego, which consists of metal rod parts with union nuts and plastic platform which were cut with the laser as needed (see the chapter on mechanical parts).


The basic principal of solution animation lies in the nature of two components found in the cuvette placed in the middle of process. The black substance, ferrofluid, changes its shape according to the motion of fixed magnets on either side. This motion (see the chapter on chemical elements) is shot with a modified digital reflex camera in the real computer time. The picture is not being manipulated on the compositional scope. It is used sensorially for the code to react to the motion of substances and then it is distributed over to the output of the graphic card, i.e. to the projection.


3] technical solutions


To make it easy to follow I intentionally proceed from substance to controlling, in spite of the fact that the control process is in motion the other way round. The object is a system of several important components.


Mechanical component: “lego”, arms and camera controller, Computational component: control panel and control computer, Sensorial component: macro live HD video


3.1 – 3.5] These chapters concern technical process of individual components. They are not part of this presentation.


4] conclusion


This work is still only a beginning of a greater chapter even now after half a year of my intensive study. I have not surveyed the topic “Worlds and Fragments” in depth enough yet. Not to mention combined technology used in production. The idea of a similar controllable system on a smaller scope which would be a “fragment” of a bigger whole, bigger installation, keeps tempting me.


„So there is plenty of room at the bottom! Don’t tell me about microfilm!“ (Richard P. Feynman, přednáška na Caltech, 1959, California, USA)

photos: processopening at 22PRESENTS an interview (with EN sub) on