Hot Afternoon Diversion: Entoforms

An email from Dutch visual artist Dolf Veenvliet arrived at my inbox just at the right time.

With August weather making an early appearance in June, Veenvliet’s exotic and slightly creepy Entoforms roused me out of my weather-induced torpor.

Entoforms are imaginary life-forms that have been designed using Blender, the open-source 3D software, and have even been a given a kind of DNA by Veenvliet, in his role as creator.

I’m assuming that unlike the story of Genesis, Veenvliet’s work took more than a day. And as far as I know the Old Testament god was not using 3D printers, which is how the Entoforms become physical realizations.

After examining a few of these critters on his web site, I was stunned by their resemblance to early life, say, of a marine nature, and I’ll go out on the limb by dating them circa Cambrian Explosion.

So what is Veenvliet’s secret to life?

In a brief email exchange, I learned that Veenvliet is at heart a surrealist but he’s guided his Dali-esque instincts using some basic rules: “it is good if something has a front and rear, which also gives it a left and a right side. And as soon as there’s a front and read end… and things sticking out of the side… it looks surprisingly like life to us.”

Crura Nuntiuss

And Veenvliet saw that it was good, and he rested.

By the way, all of his work is licensed under Creative Commons, so if you want to expand on his models, there are .blend files to test your skills at evolution.

He’s also provided several Python scripts that replicate the master’s hand—this software will assist you in morphing shapes and sprouting tentacles (see references below).

Those of you lucky enough to live in Amsterdam can see actual plastic renderings of the Entoforms at showings this summer and again in the fall.

A gallery in The Hague has also decided to take a few for their collection and will display them during a European road trip that visits London, Brussels, and Paris.

To answer the question that’s not doubt on your mind: yes, you can purchase Entoforms at his web site.

They come mounted in a wood box, just like a specimen in a museum.

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