Fulldome Journey at Museon Omniversum in The Hague

We are a fairly broad-minded lot here at ArtsTalk Magazine. We are always open to suggestions and happy to see most things. However, we do draw the line at films. It’s not that we don’t like them, it’s because they are too general, not specific enough to The Netherlands.

Now, although Recombination, The Fulldome Journey is advertised as a full-dome fractal movie” it is not a movie in the normal sense of the word. There are no heroes or villains, no love interest – and no car chases. But what it does portray is infinitely more exciting and spell-binding.

Fractals are one of those incredible freaks of science/nature that defy comprehension.  You will certainly have seen lots of them even if the name isn’t familiar. They are intricate recurring and expanding patterns generated by computers based on mathematical formulae and there is no limit to how they can recur and what they can expand to. This is beautifully demonstrated by Recombination created by Dutch digital artist Julius Horsthuis which was shown for the first time last night at the Museon-Omniversum, next door to the Kunstmuseum in The Hague.

Although, as I said, this is not your standard movie it will certainly put you in mind of some. I suppose it could be described as a cross between a deep space sci-fi adventure and an underwater documentary but there are sequences that make you think of vast temples or unworldly cathedrals. The problem is, in this ever-changing kaleidoscope, you don’t know which is which.

The world that Mr Horsthuis has created takes us beyond the stars to the infinite capabilities of computers, using the Mandelbrot Set, a basically short but infinitely complex mathematical formula. By adding and mixing and matching more formulae literally endless possibilities are opened up. There has been talk/concern in the past few days about the dangers of letting AI – artificial intelligence – loose on the world. How do you control it once it has established itself? The same could be said of fractals – who knows where they will end once they get going? Now, all this may sound a bit too scientific, a bit academic, but you can forget all that and just look at the astonishingly beautiful images it produces.

Julius Horsthuis’s Recombination is a truly amazing experience the likes of which I guarantee you will never have had before. It’s like travelling through the images from the Hubble telescope only more so, much more so. Around half-dozen sequences set  to music specially composed by Michael Stearns, David Levy, Max Cooper, Desert Dwellers, Ben Lukas Boysen, Temple Invisible and Ott are projected on the inside of the huge 840 m² dome screen. You may have heard of, or even experienced what claim to be immersive experiences; well you ain’t seen nothing yet. This, as we used to say, will blow your mind.

Nothing I say, or images you see, will prepare you for this experience – it’s like having a window seat in the Starship Enterprise as it goes where no man has ever gone before. If you see nothing else, see Recombination, The Fulldome Journey – the whole universe is there, and lots more besides.   Michael Hasted   6th April 2023


RECOMBINATION, The Fulldome Journey continues at Museon-Omniversum in The Hague through April and May.