Blooms: Hypnotizing 3D Printed Sculptures Come Alive Under Strobe Lights

It’s really easy to lose a chunk of your day getting lost in
the hypnotizing effects of these trippy 3D-printed sculpture
animations by artist John Edmark. Drawing
from spiral patterns and numerical sequences often found in
natural objects like pine cones, cacti, sunflowers and
seashells, the objects seem to shift and change before your
eyes when spun under a strobe light. Watching the videos of the
sculptures in motion, it’s hard to believe these aren’t digital

“Unlike a 3D zoetrope, which animates a sequence of small
changes to objects, a bloom animates as a single self-contained
sculpture,” says Edmark. “The bloom’s animation effect is
achieved by progressive rotations of the golden ratio, phi, the
same ratio that nature employed to generate the spiral patterns
we see in pinecones and sunflowers. The rotational speed and
strobe rate of the bloom are synchronized so that one flash
occurs every time the bloom turns 137.5 degrees (the angular
version of phi.) Each bloom’s particular form and behavior is
determined by a unique parametric seed I call a phi-nome.”

The artist explains that much of his work celebrates the
patterns underlying space and growth, explored through kinetic
sculptures and transformable objects. Highly precise
mathematics come into play in both the design and fabrication
of each object, more to ask questions about spatial
relationships that can only be answered with geometrically
exacting constructions than to put that precision on display or
“exalt the latest technology.”

It’s a cool way to utilize 3D-printed objects, though, and if
you want to play with the effect yourself, you can even
purchase the individual shapes from Edmark via Shapeways. He
offers a tutorial to repeat the results at

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