Owl King

Posted on in Faces of Chaos

Owl King by Nathan Selikoff

Owl King by Nathan Selikoff. 2007. Dimensions variable. Open edition print.

What do you see? An owl, spider, space ship… something else? There is an incredible partnership between solid form and fine filigree-like structure in this artwork.

Owl King (detail) by Nathan Selikoff.

Owl King (detail) by Nathan Selikoff.

Mathematical Background

This artwork is a two-dimensional plot of the Lyapunov exponent of a chaotic dynamical system. The Lyapunov exponent is a measure of how chaotic the system is, and in this case, the system is a strange attractor with a four-dimensional phase space. Two of the dimensions are static, and the other two vary in the x and y directions of the image. A custom program renders four 16-bit grayscale images, which represent the different “components” of the spectrum of Lyapunov exponents. These images are combined in Photoshop using a pseudo-color technique to bring out subtle coloration in the final artwork.