09.03.15 by Jeff

Video of the Day: Morphogenetic Freehand Etchings By Artist John Franzen


A couple years ago I posted about artist John Franzen’s “Each Line One Breath” – morphogenetic freehand drawings. In the years since he has begun drawing into 2mm black coated copper and brass plates with a needle, creating gorgeous etchings, from which he produces a small series of discharge prints.

His meditative drawing process starts a single straight line from the top of the plate to the bottom, which is followed by an attempt to copy that line as precisely as possible. Each subsequent line results in a slight straying from the original line, exaggerating the original imperfections. His breathing controls the line, and the line also controls his breathing, it is incredible to watch. See the videos below.











John Franzen on Tumblr

John Franzen’s Website

Via: Artnau

Jeff Hamada is the Founder and Editor of Booooooom. He lives and works in Vancouver.

  • Julio A R Gamboa

    As someone who studies developmental biology and who has also been an artist, I have to question what on earth does Franzen intend by using the word morphogenetic? Does he even know what a morphogen is? He might as well have called it neurally induced quantum states if what he wanted was to give it a jazzy name.

    I don’t find fault with the work, but the labelling is a bit silly.

    • what is a morphogen, for those of us who don’t know

      • Julio A R Gamboa

        see the comment above for an explanation. :)

    • Monsoonking

      He’s probably using some “artistic license” with the term, but from the Wikipedia definition “the biological process that causes an organism to develop its shape” I imagine he’s referring to the fact that the first line spawns the next line, which dictates the next line, in an almost biological-like growth pattern.

      • Julio A R Gamboa

        One could see it tgat way for sure. A morphogen however is not self-originating. Any particle in developmental biology that might be segregated in a concentration gradient would induce cells closest to the largest concentration to become one thing completely different from those furthest from the origin/area with the highest concentration of the morphogen.

        So to recap, a morphogen does not itself confer identical identities to what it influences, rather it causes differentiation of character in different populations of cells. By way of an analogy a morphogenetic even may be described as follows: consider someone with bad body odour in a train that is fully packed; those closest to this person will all probably cover their noses or be rather uncomfortable (not become necessarily smelly themselves), while those halfway down the carriage might get a hint of the smell and simply turn their heads in the opposite direction, whilst those at the opposite end might not perceive any smell at all and simply remain undisturbed. A bit prosaic but it puts it in layman terms.

        Hope it helps

      • ryan

        and thats why he’s the artist and you’re the guy going on about what is correct and not correct in the comment box like your opinion has some validity; with your critical analysis to which you probably think has actual substance and meaning. That’s basically like saying pink floyd shouldn’t call themselves pink floyd and use an image of light refracting through a prism because it has no relevance. Did you forget what Art is or are you just not familiar and can only view the world with labels and numbers? Also I really don’t know how you managed to extrapolate the title of this work into a story about body odor. If you want to get all science about it, Morphogenesis is by definition being coming into form. You should also look up Rupert Sheldrake on his proven theories of Morphogenetic Fields and then you may understand a little better why this work has the title that it has received. I think your critique was misplaced and from a lack of understanding you assumed he meant it’s something to do with a Morphogen. I think personally as an artist and someone who is actually a fan of the work of Rupert Sheldrake I can really dig this guys concept he manages to visually communicate an abstraction where his body itself creates the art and shows there is no right or wrong way to do something in the whole totality of existence.

      • Julio A R Gamboa

        Oh dear, bringing up Sheldrake? seriously? I would resort to accusing you of a well known logical fallacy but then again Sheldrake is no authority so I can’t do that, if nothing else he’s completely laughable in academic circles.

        Your etymological attempt at explaining the following: Morphogen/morphogenetic/morphogenesis, are what is well wide off the mark, in fact it is pitiful and I might print it for reading out loud during one of our workshops, sometimes it is good to break the tedium and your post is as good as anything for that.

        As for engaging your other imaginary points, I would, but it seem there is a deep-rooted complex that prevents you from seeing past your ignorance. If you don’t like the analogy you may take issue with the professor who inspired it but again I doubt he would much care for your confused blathering about “right or wrong way to do something in the whole totality…yawn…” It is your pink floyd analogy that is illogical and completely ridiculous. How does one link Pink, Floyd and Prisms? Sorry but I am not conversant in idiot so I pass. I would suggest that instead of trying to punch above your scientific weight you go read the original author of morphogenetic theory, one Alan Turing (you may have become aware of his existence through a recent film), then you might understand the concept of morphogenetic gradients (albeit his explanations are that of a mathematician), if you care to extricate yourself further from such glaring ignorance you may also like to consult the work of Wolpert who is most certainly far more readable.

        I would also suggest that next time, to save face you just say you are butthurt about the fact that someone who straddles both fields (arts and science) expresses dislike for a gratuitous title which would be more at home in some New Age book (which is what Sheldrake does), rather than attempt to engage with all that poppycock. For the record, I don’t dislike his work which I believe I have already said on my first post.

        Please do not pull your punches if you feel you must reply, I would not have it any other way and I don’t extend that courtesy either when faced with such self-assured ignorance.

        A good night to you.

      • Julio A R Gamboa

        Sorry I almost missed the beginning of this: “and thats why he’s the artist and you’re the guy going on about what is correct and not correct in the comment box like your opinion has some validity”


        Let’s play with it.

        And that is why he’s the priest and you are the guy questioning the word of god.

        And that is why he’s the prophet and you are just the guy who refuses to drink the kool-aid

        And that is why he’s the political party chairman and you are just a regular member who refuses to toe the party line

        And… lmfao

        So many logical fallacies, so little brain.

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