Visionary Images: The Lost Fractals of Benoît Mandelbrot

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In 2008, fascinated by the interplay between imagery and scientific investigation, art historian Nina Samuel spent two weeks interviewing Mandelbrot in his Cambridge, Massachusetts home. After Mandelbrot passed away in 2010, she was allowed entry to his office, collecting some 300 printouts, sketches and notebook scribbles now on display in The Islands of Benoît Mandelbrot: Fractals, Chaos, and the Materiality of Thinking, an exhibition at the Bard Graduate Center in Manhattan.

“There is such an organic quality to these images,” said Samuel. “These are the images the scientists used when they were working, and not what was found on magazine covers or popularized in screensavers.”

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