FIVARS 2023: Spotlight on Recombination VR

Julius Horsthuis Recombination is the latest project from visionary fractal artist Julius Horsthuis. Realizing that the best way to enjoy his work is immersion, he collaborated with seven of his favorite musicians in order to create an abstract journey through music, space and mathematics. FIVARS had a chance to speak with director Julius Horsthuis.

What lead to the creation of this piece?

I’ve wanted to make a long form film for a long while, but didn’t know the best form to put this in. When a friend of mine reminded me the power of VR, I got the idea of creating a VR album with various tracks, scored by some of my favorite composers. That’s what ultimately led to this piece.

What was the production process for you and your team? What did you learn?

It’s been mostly myself creating the fractal films for about 18 months, and then a collaboration with the developer Desmond Germans making the films work in highest possible resolution for the Quest 2.

Creating fractal films is something I’ve been doing for almost 10 years, so there hasn’t been a lot there, except for the fact that when creating for VR there’s a complete other editing pace that you’d otherwise use.

The iterative process of working on the computer and checking the work in the headset has been extremely satisfying.


I ordered some headsets and sent them over to London, Santa Fe, Austin and other places to the musicians so they could see the work in VR as they scored the films. The music is an incredibly important part of the films and I was very pleased with the result.

How did you become an immersive media content creator and why?

I’ve been a fractal artist for almost 10 years now, and it was not long after I started that I discovered that immersive ways are the best ways to experience fractals. I rendered some fractals on the Oculus DK2 back in 2015, and was immediately drawn.

After that I focused on immersive experiences like immersive galleries and fulldome (planetarium) films, but came back to VR when it was clear that the Quest 2 was a powerful tool to show fractal worlds in stereoscopic 3D at high resolution.


What is the VR/AR industry like in your region?

Here in Amsterdam there are some companies creating VR but I’m not really associated with them.

What do you have planned for the future?

I’ll be focusing on more fractal art for sure. I’m both looking into ways of making the fractals more immersive, and new fractal formulas that unveil new astonishing worlds.

What would you like to share with fellow content creators and/or the industry?

VR is an immensely powerful tool to make people feel present, and I’m sure there’s so much undiscovered in this field yet. The excitement of being part of a new language should attract the best and most innovative people, and I’m really proud to be part of that field.

Do you think VR festivals like FIVARS are important?

I think that showcasing the immersive stories that are possible with VR is extremely important, because there still seems to be a certain gamer stigma attached to VR, which I think undermines the power that the tool could bring to filmmaking.

FIVARS 2023 runs in person September 15-19th in Toronto and online through October 3rd.