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fallintostars (Christophe Laudamiel for strangelove NYC)

Article written for, and first published in CaFleureBon.

Mihai Eminescu with branches. Photo editing and creative direction by @a_nose_knows for Strangelove NYC

'Tis such a long way to the star

Rising above our shore

It took its light to come so far

Thousands of years and more.

It may have long died on its way

Into the distant blue

And only now appears its ray

To shine for us as true.

We see its icon slowly rise

And climb the canopy;

It lived when still unknown to eyes,

We see what ceased to be.

--------------- Unto the Star, a visionary poem about the science of light traveling in space, written in 1884 by Romanian genius Mihai Eminescu. Translation by Adrian G. Sahlean.

A tornado is a fractal. Photo editing and creative direction by @a_nose_knows for Strangelove NYC

The first time one’s eyes open into some large truth, the feeling is never one of falling—rather, being forcefully pulled up, as though one’s substance is unsubstantial enough and you get sucked, light as a feather, into the turmoil of truly important stuff. It happens early in life, when you first learn that others can’t read your mind, and so you start to lie; in school, when some equation finally clicks and spatial geometry finally makes sense behind your closed eyes; with your first orgasm; with your first “simple is better”; with your first “I refuse to fight”.

Fractals in a succulent. Photo editing and creative direction by @a_nose_knows for Strangelove NYC

The second time one’s eye open upon the same big truth, the feeling is that of slowing down and finding one’s footing, like achieving the precise balance of a liquid suspension; details become clear, and the zoom reveals not only that the truth was there all along, but it was also ingrained in everything you’ve been touching. Revelation thus comes hard, and the more we look, the more we see more and more of the same thing, replicated ad infinitum like the natural but irrational patterns of a fractal.

The Koch snowflake fractal. Photo editing and creative direction by @a_nose_knows for Strangelove NYC

Unless you’re a mathematician, you might have heard the term, fractal, in relation to nature, where patterns can be recognized everywhere from DNA to lightning, and from animal coloration sequences and the way the pineapple grows to galaxy formation.

Art operates around them, too: from old Islamic patterning techniques to newer works by artists such as Desmond Paul Henry, Hamid Naderi Yeganeh and musician Bruno Degazio, they all use some self-similar sequence; in fact, fractals are so ingrained in collective esthetic that now they serve not only to create art, but recognize it: fractal analysis has been used, quite successfully, to authenticate Pollocks!

A fractal is, thus, hard to define within the confinements of one field- the simplest way to see it is as a sequence of elements, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. The more you zoom in, the more you see more of the same; over and over, in any direction, the same effect no matter how faint the impression.

Icing patterns and Fall Into Stars. Photo editing and creative direction by @a_nose_knows for Strangelove NYC

FallintoStars by Christophe Laudamiel is, in a premiere for my nose, self-mirroring.

The opening is bright and whole, in a strange way, as if you’re looking at a bigger, complete picture not unlike a Koch snowflake, unique but built within the confinements of a circle- in this case, a wood body. There’s soft, creamy, steamed wood; there’s hard, smoky, lucious wood; there’s herbal, medicinal oudh. All—smooth and crystal-clear, extremely clean, and perfectly balanced.

Off the main body shoot the main spokes, branching out like arms, strong but mobile: sweet resins, sticky labdanum, some vegetal musk. All there from the beginning, all integral to the picture, and all, too, crystal-clear.

As you zoom in, the surprise: the spokes, too, have spokes of their own, seemingly so small that their role is of detail: peppery peaks of green citrus, crunchy spices (ginger?), and even a bit of lively indoles; you think that’s that, and you rest. But as you do, more and more of the same shows up in wafts, more and more recognoscible with each breath; the accelerated zoom-in shows that spokes keep branching, replication themselves faster and faster, ad infinitum, until you finally understand that you’d seen it, beautiful and perfect, since the beginning.

Notes: Indian oud, French jonquil, rosewood, amber, pink pepper.

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