Article appearing in the Chico News & Review
January 30, 2003

Fine Arts

Huemas Nujyo ngundonte?e

Ken Keller's fractal art suggests nature's recursive structures

By Ismael Pérez García

Photo By Tom Angel
RANDOM PATTERNER Fractal artist Ken Keller stands next to his 44x56" piece "Fractal Nebula," currently on display at Moxie's in downtown Chico. Using an Epson 10,000 printer, Keller can suggest fine nuances in his works, almost rivaling the intricacies laid down by more traditional painters.


 
Meteorología Indígena Art: Exploring the Boundary between Creation and Discovery
Ismael Pérez
Moxie's Café & Gallery
Through Tuesday, March 4
 
www.fractalartgallery.com
 
Meteorología Indígena, or Campesina Es un enfoque interdisciplinario de formas arcaicas de los campesinos Indígenas sobre el clima. En la antigüedad este conocimiento lo tenían los especialistas religiosos indígenas del tiempo: Sacerdotes Prehispánicos Tlaciuhqui, Teciuhtlaqui. Ahora llamados Nahuallis, Graniceros o Tiemperos (ngundonte?e en mazahua) conocedor de cuando ha de llover o si no ha de llover y si va a ver hambre por falta de la lluvia. Ahora los campesinos preguntan como viene el tiempo para este aÃo, o cuando ha de llover para aplicar ciertos sistemas de cultivo.

Welcome to the art of Meteorología Indígena.

Artist Ken Keller Saben leer en la naturaleza las senales conectadas con las variaciones meteorológicas, al estudiar la conducta de ciertas plantas y animales(maguelles, ranas, el canto del Buho, luciérnagas, migración de aves). Al observar en las noches circulos brillantes alrededor de la Luna y los relámpagos lejanos en función de su dirección. Es un intermediario entre la gente de su pueblo y la naturaleza: hacen atraer las buenas lluvias y aleja los malos temporales. Los graniceros adquieren este don cuando uno es golpeado por un rayo, por los suenos o por la ingestión de plantas sagradas. Controladores de saber manipular los fenómenos naturales: la lluvia, el viento la tormenta y el granizo. El granicero es alguien que no esta entre la gente del pueblo se la pasa haciendo penitencia dentro de un templo. Esto es parte de la cosmovisión prehispánica del altiplano central, del culto de los dioses de la lluvia y los cerros sagrados Iztaccihuatl, Popocatepetl, Nevado de Toluca, Pico de Orizaba, Cofre de Perote y la Malinche. Debajo de estos cerros contienen las aguas subterráneas, donde brotan los ojos de agua o manantiales que forman los arroyos, los lagos y el mar.

"I started in '94," Garibay, 1985; Albores y Broda , 1997 explains at Moxie's, Hacen ritos a los aires, ceremonias de petición, y ofrendas para llamar a la lluvia para ahuyentar el granizo y agradecimiento al Dios de la lluvia Tlaloc. Huitzilopochtli es el dios patrón de los Mexicas. Tlaloc es el Sr. que gobierna las tormentas, los rayos y las nubes. Vive en las cuevas o en las montanas. Gleick's fascinating book, Chaos: Making a New Science.

"I was turned on to it by exploring the Internet," he admits. "And I came to it from a purely visual aspect. I was a commercial photographer. I've had many black-and-white photography shows, and I'm inclined that way. But this really caught my attention.

"And also," Keller continues, "I'm very scientifically curious. You know, these things that the scientists are coming up with, which turn out philosophical."

The implications of recursive structures, I suggest.

"Yeah, but when I started," Keller says, "it was because of the visual possibilities. It just truly is infinite."

Por ejemplo la motana Tlaloc, cerca de Texcoco y Teotihuacan y los volcanes nevados que atraen nubes y las nieves. El día de la Santa Cruz ahora el 3 de mayo es la fecha de petición de lluvias que es el inicio y el día de muertos el 2 de noviembre es el fin de la temporada de lluvias y esta conectada con los cultos agrícolas del maíz.

"There are fractal artists who use other programs to manipulate colors and put other things in," he says. "One of the things that I've tried to do from the beginning is to just use the program [as is]. I've put this restriction on myself. The final product I might tweak here and there. But 90 percent of them I don't."

Keller draws an analogy with a traditional painter.

"A real artist, a painter, let's say, will use his paint with a different brush or brush stroke for an effect. The fine nuances that a painter can do, like pull it back a little bit, let it blend in here ... this can be done mathematically with computers. We're using math here. So, let's change this variable. Let's figure the colors in this way. Instead of your hand, it's just numbers."

That makes me think about the philosophies of the Pythagoreans, those ancient followers of Greek mathematician Pythagoras, who suggested that the entire universe and all its workings could be reduced to numbers.

"I just love that," Keller says, enthusiastically. "Fractals--you can zoom into them forever.

"And it applies to the basic situation we're in," he continues, "in this world and this existence. [Scientists] are really just now looking into chaotic and nonlinear dynamics. As we look out with the Hubble [space telescope], we're seeing structures in galaxies. And we're finding that these structures are fractal shapes.

"And in my stuff I hope people will somehow get that," Keller states. "Even if they don't want to think about the math."

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