Flame fractals are a name given to a kind of strange attractor, and also to methods of visualizing these phenomena as popularized by Spot Draves and his Electric Sheep. They are a kind of generative art.
Mango Cats' flame fractals developed independently from the Electric Sheep, starting with investigations into the Hénon map and similar systems on an Atari 800 in 1982, and slowly settling on 2D phase maps of values in the series of one dimensional Polynomial Strange Attractors. By 2005 home PCs memory and processor power became sufficient for practical rendering of large, high-resolution images on a single machine, and Mango Cats' pieces started appearing in the Arts Alliance Center at Clear Lake.
One dimensional polynomial attractors are equations in the general form of:
x(t) = k1 * x(t-k2)^k3 * x(t-k4)^k5... + k6 * x(t-k7)^k8 * x(t-k9)^k10... ...
In reasonable value ranges of the ks, about 1 in 100 randomly selected equations will form a periodic attractor, of these about 99/100 will be chaotic and one will appear almost periodic in nature. Mango Cats' recent artworks are split about 50/50 between chaotic and almost periodic appearances, with many lying close to the boundary between the two. More periodic works clearly embody texture from the photographs used for their coloration, while chaotic forms are more smoky or wispy in appearance.