“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
— Arthur C. Clarke

Refraction Labs is the alter ego of Shadi El Hajj, a Generative Artist based in London.

RL is creating Algorithmic Art, Data-Driven Visuals, and Digital Dance performances for a broad range of international clients and festivals.

RL operates with Unreal Engine, Houdini and Unity.

RL has been active for over two decades.

RL is modelling physical and biological phenomena, laws of gravitation, particle physics and spring dynamics.

RL delights in complex systems and chaotic processes, intricate and delicate algorithms visualising the structure of the universe.

RL is form emerging from a single equation driving a billion particles.

RL is in pursuit of the Computational Sublime.

RL is seeking to expose the non-dual nature of entity and process.

RL strives to visualise the collective patterns hidden below the surface of the tangible world.

Refraction Labs is about creating magic through technology, turning light into colour.

Selected Clients

Topographies of Cognition

Generative Art


“Topography of Cognition” is a nod to the timeless tradition of landscape painting and photography.

The work challenges the obvious interpretation of landscapes as static, immutable, entities. Here, the landscapes are alive, dynamic, breathing - they evolve and morph, mirroring our ever-shifting mental states and internal processes. The terrain is not as an entity existing in isolation, but an extension of the mind.

The piece underscores the fluidity and volatility of our cognition and mental processes, destabilizing any illusion of solidity or permanence.

The reality of these sceneries is only affirmed by our consciousness of them. This prompts an interrogation of what constitutes reality and the role of our consciousness in shaping it.

the Cosmig Egg

Generative Art


Hiranyagarbha, a contemplative exploration of the Cosmic Egg theme, delves into the depths of an archaic symbol echoed across several mythologies spanning India, China, Egypt, Greece all the way to our modern-day Big Bang Theory.

This symbol is intimately linked with the primordial womb, a metaphor for the inception of the cosmos, when the unformed condensates into manifest form.

The infinitely changing generative visuals probe the intricate interplay between form and consciousness. The viewer becomes an integral part of the artwork as it mirrors their presence and follow their gaze. It crafts an implication that it is the observer's consciousness which unfolds the Cosmic Egg.

This interaction invites a dialogue on the nature of creation, the act of viewing, and the influence they have on each other within the realm of artistic form.

Ontologies of Desire

Digital Dance


“Ontologies of Desire” explores the relationship between an AI researcher and their digital progeny. A homage to the myth of Pygmalion and Galatea, the work weaves its themes into a contemporary context.

Echoing the tale's undercurrents of idealized beauty, “Ontologies of Desire” challenges established norms and expectations by delving into the interplay between the AI creator's aspirations and their digital offspring's quest for self-realization.

Within this exploration, questions are raised about the human fascination with creating sentient beings and the moral implications of awakening artificial consciousness.

The show's generative visuals are driven by a painstakingly crafted bespoke system that scans the dancer's movement and maps them to virtual simulation models, enabling an intriguing dialogue between physical reality and its digital counterpart.

The Archetypes

Generative Art


“The Archetypes” is a Generative Art project inspired by archetypal symbols shared across all humanity and embedded deep within our collective unconscious.

The meticulously crafted algorithms are anchored in the physical and biological realities that shape our world—spanning the elemental laws of gravitation, intricate dynamics of particle physics, and the underlying principles governing complex systems. This deterministic matrix intertwines with the randomness inherent in chaotic phenomena.

“The Archetypes” seeks to materialize the ethereal, manifesting the abstract patterns inherent in our physical universe into a medium perceptible by the human psyche.

The work sparks a visual dialogue with the philosophical notion of emergence, where a myriad of particles are guided by a singular equation, leading to the birth of form.

Photon Rain

Digital Dance


A dancer meanders under the hypnotic glow of neon lights, a melancholic cyborg sheds tears in the rain, sparks of a dying sunset play upon the gritty surface of asphalt.

These are some of the tableaus that compose “Photon Rain”, a Digital Performance where dancers transmute the stage into a canvas of light, their bodies morhping into kinetic brushes

“Photon Rain” finds its inspiration in the raw expressiveness of body and action painting, yet amplifying it with the intricacy and precision of generative visuals.

The show is driven by a bespoke system that detects the dancer’s movements and maps them onto complex simulation systems.

“Photon Rain” considers the synergy of all these elements—the dancer, the system, the resultant visuals—and how these components can interact to transcend the physical space.

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