Whenever computer-generated fractal environments are concerned, comparisons to the distorted realities of Inception, Paprika, and Doctor Strange are going to be inevitable. However, Horsthius goes even further than mirrored planes and mind-bending psychedelic weirdness to generate 3D worlds that feel truly alien, strange, and beautiful.
Generating fractals in the software engine Mandelbulb 3D is a lot harder than it looks. Even with a robust graphics card and processor, it is no easy feat to control the degree of distortion, recursive abstraction, and warped algorithmic geometry to make a coherent composition without ugly seams or messy glitched textures. The process involves repetitive trial and error experimentation, occasional software crashes, and a certain degree of happy accidents. There are many fine adjustments and discarded renders before arriving at the perfect shot.
Horsthuis excels at bringing a sense of life to the universes he creates. There is chaos, but also a sense of prevailing order. The worlds draw the viewer in and make you want to see more. Each one feels unique and interesting, not like sterile, impassive things churned out by the empirical equations of a computer program.
There are infinite possibilities for diversity. Worlds can be organic or blocky and geometric, floating in airy space or contained in winding claustrophobic tunnels. The indefinite scale could be microscopic to peer into the inner workings of a cell or the size of a sprawling galaxy. Forms are not bound to the laws of physics or regular shapes seen in nature. Worlds collapse in an instant to exponentially blossom back out of nothing. There is a purpose to the structures and spirals and floating orbs that follow predefined mathematical patterns, but it also paradoxically defies any rational explanation.
Fractals represent a form of pure, unadulterated creation. There doesn’t need to be an explanation for what they mean, what the purpose is, or what the point of something so abstract could be. Trying to come up with a clear classification would be a somewhat futile gesture to define the undefinable, and everyone would still have different interpretations anyway.
Appreciation for the transient nature of fractal aesthetics is best left to the imagination, much as the shifting surreal dreamscapes of Salvador Dali and M.C. Escher represent that collective subconscious desire for creation, or the speculations about other life and planets in science fiction challenge one to think of all the possibilities beyond what is known.