Zoetropes and Parastichies

Parastichies Explorer

Inspired by a talk about phyllotactic spirals and parastichies – those criss-crossing rows on sunflower heads and pineapples – and their relationship with the golden angle (137.5°) and Fibonacci numbers, I set out to see what kind of parastichies can be achieved with spiral arrangements based on other angles. This resulted in another online interactive I call the Parastichies Explorer.

screenshot of Parastichies Explorer
Online Zoetrope

In the same talk, John Edmark also covered how insights from plant growth patterns informed his Blooms sculptures which, when spun under stroboscopic light – or filmed at the right frame rate – appear to become animated. That gave me the idea to use the frame rate of a web browser to turn a rotating image on a web page into an online Zoetrope.

screenshot of online zoetrope
Animated Zoetrope Discs

Combining these two tools, I built on the Parastichies Explorer code to generate a few Zoetrope discs that, when spun at the right speed, start writhing and swaying just like Edmark’s Blooms.