Three Body Problem series

Antoine Schmitt 2024

generative artworks

duration infinie

size variable

computer, custom javascript software, screen

The Three Body Problem artwork series is based on the famous mathematical problem of the same name, to deeply question the unpredictable dimension of destiny.

On a screen, a white line draws fluid arabesques, which are at the same time regular and repetitive but also bent, sometimes up to point of rupture. They create a drawing with harmonious and tortured shapes, until the ejection of the line out of the screen, which erases the screen and triggers the start of another drawing.

The 19th century three body mathematical problem tries to predict the movements of three bodies, like three stars in the cosmos, only moved by gravitational attraction to each other. It is a very complex problem because even though it is completely deterministic with very simple equations, it is what is called chaotic in mathematics : the movements of the stars are literally unpredictable, they can only be calculated only for a near future. This century-old problem has recently been revived by a successful science-fiction novel trilogy by Liu Cixin, named Three Body Problem (2008), which is also the subject of two TV series (2024).

The three body problem asks metaphysical questions because it shows at a mathematical level that even when everything is written, even without any accident or any will, destiny remains unpredictable. Whether it is for a human gifted with free will and desires, or for a simple sole particle in the universe.

In all the artworks of the series, the movement of the particles is computed in real time in front our our eyes using newtonian equations of gravitational attraction and drawn on the screen as it is calculated. We see it live. When the particule ends up getting out of the screen, the screen is erased and a new drawing is started. The successive drawings are all different.

Three Body Problem #1 is not yet published.

In *Three Body Problem #2*, a particle is sent in a three body system where the three bodies are fixed and the particle is attracted by pure gravitation by each of the three bodies, like a planet with three stars. This problem is of similar complexity as the classical three body problem: the path of the particule is highly unpredictable. At each run, the particle and the three bodies are placed at positions chosen at random, and the movement of the particle is computed in real time and drawn on the screen.