What are we looking at here? Is it the original Slinky? An early concept of hyperspace? Or maybe some strange, magnified microbial being? Nah. To figure this one out you're going to have to get with the program.
The mysterious swirl above is, in fact, one of the earliest examples of computer-generated art. This particular piece, by Herbert Franke, was made about a decade before the first-ever computer art exhibitions were held in 1965. Other works by Franke are equally mesmerizing:
That it's taken us less than fifty years to evolve from creating these abstract forms with computers to conceiving an entire world like in Avatar inspires more than a little awe and how much we're capable of, and how quickly. Looking forward to what the next fifty years might bring. [Translab via Kottke]