The genesis and aesthetics of Chaos

Chaos: a challenging concept but an increasing presence in our everyday reality.
The Chaotic nature of phenomena appears in the most various and diverse ways: from phenomena governed by turbulence in fluids to those influencing forms of life in their incessant development, moving from the physics of microscopic macro-systems to those of the orbital systems of stars.
If at the beginning of the last century predictability was the rule, today we know that it is the exception: the rule for many systems appears to be Chaos.
But what unites such a great variety of systems ranging in size from millimetres to mega-parsecs?
Understanding Chaos implies understanding determinism. Chaos and determinism are two sides of the same coin with which nature manifests itself. Determinism was born with modern science and has its origins in the father of classical physics, the great Isaac Newton, who discovered not only that nature is predictable, but that it is also possible to express this predictability in a natural language, that is, with which it is possible to make predictions about the future by using our knowledge of the past and the present. The past and present are needed in order to understand the future of any system. This basic assumption was the root of the deterministic conception of the world. In 1814 Laplace wrote: “We have to consider the present state of the universe as the effect of its previous state and as the cause of that which is to follow. An intelligence that, at a given instant, could comprehend all the forces by which nature is animated and the respective situation of the beings that make it up … the same formula would encompass the movements of the greatest bodies of the universe and those of the lightest atoms: For such an intelligence nothing would be uncertain, and the future, like the past, would be open to its eyes “(P.S. de Laplace, Essai philosphique sur les probabilities, Courceier, Paris 1814).
All of classical physics was based on the certainty that knowledge of the equations of motion and of the conditions surrounding it were the only factors needed for predicting the future of any system, irrespective of its complexity and scale. A certainty which implied the complete control of trajectories: two infinitely close particles subjected to the same field must also be found close together in the future.
Chaos bursts over this setting and imposes a radically different view of reality: Two infinitely close particles subjected to the same field can not be close together in the future! 
The irruption of Chaos into nature arises on precisely this point: a deterministic system exhibits chaotic behaviour when the information contained in it is no longer predictable. The affiliation of determinism-predictability is substituted by its antithesis chaos-unpredictability. 
But if systems are unpredictable, does it follow that cognition does not exist? Chaos assigns a different significance to information than that of determinism. While in a deterministic world information links present and past states in a singular way, in the world of Chaos the present may be linked to different outcomes; unicity, the biunique link between present and future states, disappears. In the world of Chaos the future is not bound to certainty, but probability. At most we can offer a spectrum of future resolutions to our system.
Thus Chaos runs roughshod over the concept of probability, replacing certainty with the concept of multiple solutions for the same initial system state.
As a consequence, Chaos can be seen not as a limitation to information, but as an enrichment. The Chaotic world is more varied than the deterministic because it offers no definite answers; nature demonstrates its diversity not only in its many manifestations, but in the range of manifestations to be associated with present states. If we took all available data and used all the computers in the world we would still not be able to predict the weather two days hence in any given street in Rome. The unpredictability of Chaos involves the amplification of uncertainty for the future. 
Complexity, the impossibility of a simple description of reality, surfaces with the appearance of Chaos within Systems theory. Complexity must be kept separate from the concept of chance. While chance events are governed by large numbers and statistics, complex events demonstrate the existence of a law not easily attributable to something regular.
Both chance and determinism belong to regular categories which can be easily read by a careful eye. Chaos brings a kind of complex regularity, characterized by the existence of a codified law and unpredictable behaviour.
Chaos also brings a new geometry. While Euclidean geometry was inextricably linked to determinism, the fractal is associated with Chaos. Fractal geometry is the main way in which we can measure and understand chaotic behaviour. The fractal dimension of systems becomes the unit of reference with which to measure the degree of Chaos within a system, such as the Euclidean distance between two points was to Newtonian mechanics.
Art, especially painting, has always dealt with form. Over the centuries since the Renaissance the significance attached to forms has been purged of its semantic meaning so as to attain pure abstraction, significance of itself. In its most advanced theoretical formulation, Neoplasticism, the object and the function of forms are connected only through their relationships within the work.
Forms begin to take on a life of their own, decoupled from representation, from fidelity to an object/subject, to express feelings. A new era begins for art in general and for painting in particular.
Man is no longer a spectator contemplating beauty, but begins to enter inside the work itself. And more. It is the work that enters into the man, that begins to dig through the maze of the unconscious and its mechanisms of visual perception.
Man, by nature, must relate to the world and interpreting external reality is fundamental to his survival. Comprehension becomes imperative for the survival of the human species. Understanding is an integral part, and a necessity, of man. 
Informal art brings to the surface the need to answer fundamental questions, related more to the rational and irrational part of man than to his desire to contemplate external reality. Visual pattern becomes the arena for arousing man and his primordial self.
Geometry breaks into art and begins to assume an increasing importance. Mondrian, Malevich and Pollock were the pioneers of geometry par excellence. The first two Euclidean, the last fractal. Pollock undoubtedly created a new iconography for Informal art, related more to the rhythms of the body’s gestures whilst making the work than to a conscious creation of chaotic forms, nevertheless resulting in sublime examples of such, displaying fascinating rhythm and complexity. Pollock created works possessing a fractal dimension very close to that typical of Chaos.
The appeal of the geometric compositions of Mondrian and Pollock lies in the stimulation of our inner self, our rationally evocative side. Geometric painting is like a “spark ” that ignites the part of us most profoundly linked to evolution.
Chaos and determinism should be reinterpreted as the intersection between universal concepts that connect man and nature, as two inseparable and coexisting aspects of which we need to be aware. Whilst in the Euclidean concept information is unique and easily identifiable, in the Chaotic the interpretation of a rule or a law is more problematic.
One thing is clear: while determinism was the driving force of the 19th century, Chaos will be the key to the 21st .