No, this is not Processing.

Looking for inspiration only within our computer boxes is limiting. Want a fresh perspective? Check out the physical world. And yes, you’ll find even alien-looking patterns of particles out there.

I recently read a post by talented digital artist Golan Levin pointing to the non-digital work of Ward Fleming. According to Fleming, “you’re seeing 40,000 black acrylic spheres 0.125 in. dia. vibrating/contained on an off level glass plate horizontally mounted and back lit.” I also love the more poetic description from YouTube:

the agony of particle behavior. struggling to express consciousness in a world animated by mechanical vibration. a truly empathetic study of particle emotion expressed as fluid/crystal bipolarism.

You’ll find more examples. Be sure to look at these in HD for the full effect.

More information on the 3.5×8-foot pinscreen Frieze Machine by Ward Fleming is available in a separate video. You get to see him making the work, and then watch the beautiful image of a human silhouette against the screen. (Note: pinscreen-modeled nudity.)

Looks like it’s time to write a pinscreen shader.

You can actually buy this kind of work:

Areaware / Atomix

That site notes that this design by Francois Dallegret is not new:

Dating back to the 1960’s, the designer has re-introduced his artful plaything for a 21st century audience. Made from 6000 high precision stainless steel balls, Atomix creates an infinite number of fractal patterns when shaken, tilted, or rotated.