Art and Chaos

by Hans H. Diebner

The topic of chaos has inspired many artists and curators. On the one hand, due to lack of closed solutions of complex dynamicals systems chaos reasearch contains a certain degree of performativity. On the other hand, chaotic dynamics are a inspiring source for artists. A small list of exhibits and exhibitions (starting with some self-promotion):

Exhibits / Performances

Ex Omnium Rerum Perturbatio Emergat Forma by Hans H. Diebner.

Endochaos by Hans H. Diebner

Liquid Perceptron by Hans H. Diebner and Sven Sahle.

Chaotic Itinerancy by Hans H. Diebner and Sven Sahle.

Haze von Gil Kuno. "Haze is an interpretation of Chaos Theory – the science of deriving deterministic rules in turbulent, seemingly chaotic systems. Chaos is as old as the Universe itself, but we have only begun to understand chaos with the advent of computer technology.
Haze is an audiovisual installation featuring chaotic images of gaseous matter. The images are presented in Rorschach style, allowing for the viewer to find patterns formed within the projection. In a sense, they become the chaos theorist, finding the order within chaos (the method to the madness.)"

Schreckliche Wendungen / Tremendous Peripedy by Katharina Lackner (2008). By means of an apperently simple system, namely setting a table, it is revealed how one and the same action can take an entirely diverging course due to the smallest changes. On the one "side" everything seems to run smoothly. On the other, like in a parallel world, the goings-on start to stutter ...

Deterministic Nonperiodic Flow (1963), 2006 by Eva Schindling and Daniel J. Wilson. The title refers to the original title of Ed Lorenz' article in which he for the first time described the non-predictability in deterministic systems (which sounds like a contradiction). The "strange attractor" as it was called by Lorenz is now named after him "Lorenz-Attractor". The non-predictability inspired the artists: "... a dynamic system with magnetic interaction between its parts visualizes the increasing difficulty of prediction the farther into the future we attempt to look."

Installations by Jean Tinguely (several of his kinetic installations obey a chaotic dynamic. One of his installations is explicitely named "Chaos No 1", whereby in this case as in some others he also addressed the (static) chaotic arrangement).

(2009) by Florian Grond, Christophe Vaillant and Ruth Weber.

_zur form (2006) by Florian Grond, Thomas Kienzl, and Gabriele Engelhardt picks up the tradition of mathematical models of topological objects and extents it to the topology of nonlinear systems.

Intermittent (2006) by Florian Grond and Claudia Robles.

Chaos Cube (1994) by Michael Klein.

Rama Hoetzlein is devoted as artist and scientist to simulation and visualization of complex dynamics and structures.

Joachim Gossmann: Auditory Representations of Fractals

Strange Attractor by Juan Geuer.

micro.flow by Julius Popp.

La Danse du Chaos Confédanse pour 2 danseurs et 1 chaoticien by Christophe LETELLIER.

Chaotic Pattern Machine by Käthe Wenzel.


The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking September 21, 2012 - January 27, 2013. Bard Graduate Center New York: Decorative Arts, Design History, Material Culture.

Chaos! Complexity in the Arts & Sciences Exhibition. Lectures. Discussions. 11 September - 15 December 2012. ERES Foundation, Munich.

New Media Make Sense | Context INM: Performative Science and Virealiy.

CHAOS The chaos is always and everywhere. October 8th - January 27th 2010 and CHAOS extended - The Cloud Project, Interactive Installation, February 2nd - 19th 2010. The focus of the projects is the juxtaposition of various medial and formal approaches. Therefore, scientific contributions as well as artistic contributions of all sorts are shown - filmlets, installations, plastic & fine arts, performances, literature and music presentations concerning the subject.

Interactive Chaos September 27-October 5, 2002, Sendai Mediatheque, Japan. A media art exhibition organized by Atsuhito Sekiguchi (IAMAS/Ogaki) and Isato Kataoka. Talks of scientists were accompanying the show. The mathematician Ichiro Tsuda developed a sensor which was implemented in a media installation of the two organizers. This installation gave the name to the whole event: "A sensor system that takes the viewer's finger pulse wave is installed in a statue of Buddha molded as an analogy of a person. From this finger pulse wave data 3D Chaotic Attractors are generated. A corresponding social image is drawn from the living body data and is displayed and configured. Normally, each person is supposed to constitute society; however hardly anyone realizes this. Chaos is the great filter that creates a uniform standard that exists in your body data, which is thought to be undeterminable. If we suppose that the brain has a chaotic function, then I think that people should have the capability of determining the occurrence of different "systems" in a common environment. With the help of this work, the viewers can form an image of the chaos existing in them."

Sensitive Chaos NTT ICC-Inter Communication Center, 1997. Art and Science: The Sensitive Chaos Exhibition by Itsuo Sakane.

Chaosmos by Masahiro Tomioka.