Let There Be Dust
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Medium: Multimedia video

The video is split into two parts in the exhibition installation. Please increase YouTube video quality to 1080p for best viewing experience


Let there be dust is an exploratory narrative through time, rippling outward from a singular source. A ripple speaks of cause and effect — a progressively tapering repetition that iterates through time. The light and dark rings in a tree trunk represent the passage of time — a natural chronometer that keeps track of the commonest seasonal cycles.

Just as a voice is released and fades, time ripples outwards and gradually dwindles into eternity. I insert myself into the work and become a part of the process; both creating and being created — an artist entering into his own artwork and becoming integral to its narrative; defining the very landscape he finds himself in. From dust I am and to dust, I will return.

Above: Charcoal drawing of mandelbrot set with green screen footage and stop motion drawings overlayed

A mandelbrot set is a mathematical set of complex numbers on a plane that, when plotted, produces an visual fractal that can be infinitely zoomed. Fractals are found throughout the natural world; I use them as visual cues pointing to nature's designer - that both the macrocosmic and microcosmic scales of reality correspond geometrically is something that cannot be argued away without also eliminating the mathematical laws that produce these corresponding similarites. These mathematical laws do not explain themselves, but are taken for granted in order to use the scientific method. The French-Polish Mathematician Benoit B. Mandelbrot, after which the Mandelbrot set is named, wrote a book called The Fractal Geometry of Nature in which he describes nature's repeating patterns as self-similar fractals that repeat themselves on both the micro and macro scales.

This is also evident in physics. For example, science has not yet found a reason for the existence of the law of gravity, and yet the law of gravity is taken for granted in order to operate within the scientific method. The very fact that the universe is mathematically intelligible is taken for granted when doing science. This intelligibility is a pre-requisite for doing science, and it therefore cannot be explained by science. The Mandelbrot includes produces spindles that resemble the fractal branching of lightning or electricity.

Placing the heavenly bodies in the firmament
Stretching out the vault of the heavens and the seas

The rest of the of the artwork explores a creation narrative - a structured and intelligent design, not mindless unguided processes. I am inserted as a type or figure of Creator - a resemblant representation of something much higher and greater.


The above image is from the second part of the video installation. A horn is blown over a heart, a symbol of life. Whatever has a center has a heart: the earth, a human body, a galaxy, a cross-cut tree trunk. All life flows from this center.

The Process

These videos were made by importing my 15cm x 15cm charcoal drawings into the video editing software DaVinci Resolve and overlaying green screen footage of myself, masked and color-graded footage of waterfalls, and a screen-recording of a 3D ripple simulation coded in JavaScript. I adapted and developed this JavaScript code originally created by Alvan Caleb Arulandu (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRmeFtRkF-8). The simulation is a three-dimensional mesh made of points, and each point is a digital image. I used one of my charcoal drawings to create each point.

A close-up of the mesh points.
Charcoal drawing for individual mesh point

Much of my work involves the tedious process of digital stop-motion animation where I draw individual frame images and effects.


Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2022, October 10). Benoit MandelbrotEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/biography/Benoit-MandelbrotCopy Citation