I’ve been reiterated from the undead.
[Image seen on Amazon.com.]
The Fractal Universe Calendar (FUC) returns with a makeover.
full of the most visually arresting fractals.
Let’s see if you agree. Here’s a sneak peak:
Fractal like it’s 1999.
[Image seen on calendars.com.]
Now, are you ready to hear a litany of complaints from me about the ethics of this venture. Okay. Here goes…
I don’t really have any.
That’s because my concerns about previous iterations of the FUC sprung from the manner in which it was administered. The old FUC was clearly a competition, despite its organizers’ protests to the contrary, and one that too comfortably favored the work of present and former editors — sometimes to the tune of 40% of the selected material. Editors were compensated by having their own work included — and then were allowed to send more of their own work on to the judges — who, oddly enough, were never identified. In other words, the whole shebang was ethically suspect.
I have no idea how the new FUC is run, but I doubt it’s a contest. There is absolutely no information on the web about any call for entries, rules, deadlines, and so forth. In fact, other than a few retail-based references, the only other link to the new FUC I find is on silwanka’s deviantART page where she says she was "chosen" for this new calendar. Therefore, I suspect the publisher directly contacted each of the included artists.
This is how the whole enterprise should have been run from the start. As a commercial venture, calendar publishers want to sensibly make a profit and thus will likely select whatever work they believe will sell. What they can’t do, ethically anyway, is run a thinly veiled contest that inordinately favors its own current and past administrators.
So I have no reason to question the ethics of new FUC. But I do have a few observations.
* How can the new publishers use the same title for their calendar? A quick glimpse at the old FUC page claims that the "Fractal Universe" name is a registered trademark. Did Avalanche sell the rights to Mosely Road? Or is there so little financially at stake here that Avalanche hasn’t bothered to challenge the trademark infringement? Or is this a completely new venture — and no one apparently cares enough about the whole thing to be bothered by the appropriation?
* It’s nice to see a bit more variety in the selections — and to even find an Apophysis image on the cover. Still, if you miss the eye candy laden aesthetic of the old FUC, you can always order the new Infinite Creations fractal calendar from Orange Circle Studio. This is the old FUC in spirally spirit (if not name) and promises that
in this calendar, renowned fractal artists push their art to extremes and guide you on a journey through their infinite creations.
Who these "renowned fractal artists" are isn’t made clear from the promotional material. Still, you can see thumbs of this more FUC than the new FUC calendar on my last FUC post.
* The fractal artists, renowned or otherwise, aren’t identified in promo stuff for the new FUC either. But we are told that their work is "visually arresting." And it is. If you plunged into a fractal hot tub time machine and wormholed back about ten years. To my eyes, these selections, with a few exceptions, look middlingly generic — and more likely to appear in a math textbook rather than a mass-marketed art artifact.
* It’s worth pinching yourself and explicitly noting that all of this work is in a calendar and not in a gallery. Calendar.com tosses its fractal calendars into the "Fantasy Art" bin. So, included "renowned artists," before your heads get too big, just remember that you’re rooming with unicorns, faeries, hobbits, dragons, wizards, elves, goddesses, shamans, muses, and pixies. Does that elbow-rubbing ground you any?
* As for the question as to whether or not these commercial products — soon to be showcasing fractal art in bookstores and strip mall gift shops near you — is a fair, representative sampling of the artistic capabilities of our discipline is one I’ll leave for the blog’s readers to mull over.