The Fractal as Disposable Commodity Universe Calendar


Fractal images seen on galleries at the Fractal Universe Calendar page.   I’d mention the artists’ names, but, of course, since the product was meant to be thrown away, like a soon-withered bouquet, no artists are mentioned on the site’s main splash page — well, other than the New Master of the Fractal Universe

The finest quality materials did not go into the creation of this free parody calendar because this particular disposable product was designed with planned obsolescence in mind.  And, yes, I tend to think the same could also be said of the source.  

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9 thoughts on “The Fractal as Disposable Commodity Universe Calendar

  1. In general I tend to agree with your positions and the non-interesting pictures in fractal calendars, but here IMHO you’re going a bit too far, even if it still can be qualified as humor, but not the finest obviously. There are disposable objects that are well designed, pleasant to use or watch, that sell well, that are not intended to be fine arts, and not necessarily pure rubbish either. Think about a handeld phone, a magazine you like, IKEA…

  2. bib,

    I admit I used a broadsword rather than a stiletto here, although I’m wondering if I was blunt enough for you to see the difference between the mass-marketed commodities you mention and the current crop of fractal calendars. Commercial items like phones and magazines make no claims of rising to the level of art, but these calendars explicitly do.

    Promotion for the Infinite Creations Calendar promises that “renowned fractal *artists* [emphasis mine] push their art to extremes,” and the Fractal Universe Calendar site describes Cornelia Yoder, who provided the material for the 2011 iteration, as a *fractal artist* [emphasis mine]. It’s clear these products are being marketed as fine art, but, in fact, are actually planned with premeditation to grace landfills rather than the walls of collectors.

    The point of my parody is that these calendars are not art but throwaway kitsch. The product being pushed may require some crafting, sell well, and be easy on the eyes, but the same could be said of floral arrangements — which, unlike FUC and its imitators, have no pretensions of deserving museum placement. Both cut flowers and fractal calendars are deliberately merchandized to be disposable, and both are as coldly utilitarian as the packaging of a Whopper.

  3. I feel left out of these discussions of disposable products, only peripherally included in the category “current crop of fractal calendars.” I’ve been churning out the fluff for Amber Lotus now for 12 years (, 13 if you count next year’s calendar for which they’ve chosen images. I think Amber Lotus refers to me as an “artist” because it’s more convenient than trying to come up with a more precise term, whatever that term may be (I’m sure some of you might have suggestions, heh).

    The 2011 calendar was fun because I campaigned for inclusion of images from other programs besides UF (Incendia and Apophysis). There will also be Incendia and Apo images in the 2012. I was hoping to get a Mandelbulb in that one but I haven’t quite got the hang of those yet. I also hope to get XenoDream in there at some point. Past calendars have included images from Stephen Fergusen’s programs, and the 2012 calendar will, too, a Tiera Zon 2.04 image, believe it or not.

    I can’t speak to the fine art debate because it has no meaning for me. I do know how the publishers at Amber Lotus think, and the factors they take into account as they choose images and try to put together calendars that will sell. I have no problem with any of it, and it’s been fun. Really, I’m just that superficial, and I suppose I should be embarrassed. :-)

  4. Alice, everything you’ve just said about your calendar, publisher, and your approach to making artwork shows why you haven’t been tossed into the same bin (no pun intended) as the others.

    I’d forgotten all about your calendar actually. I also keep mixing you up with Linda Allison.

    Fractal Cosmos is at least progressive in what it displays even if it’s still a decorative wall calendar and confined to operating within the restraints of popular tastes in art. I suspect the reason your calendar is more progressive is that you and Amber Lotus have a more progressive attitude. The other calendars don’t have to keep posting the same old stuff every year; Fractal Cosmos is perhaps some real proof of that: actual market-place proof.

    Who would ever expect to see a Tiera Zon image in the Fractal Universe calendar? Keith Mackay himself even said it was a real breakthrough to see an Apophysis image in the Fractal Universe calendar. That’s how slow and conservative that calendar is.

  5. Linda Allison was an inspiration to me back around ’96 when running Fractint on a 486 was as good as it got. Those were the days….

    Heck, there will even be an image in the 2012 that I first made in Fractint! The cover image will be an Apo flame, which will be a first. Older calendars of mine are more homogenous, but we’re shooting for variety these days.

  6. I have yet to be so out of touch with the world that I did not know what day of the week it is or what day of the month, let alone what month and year. This is why I have never bought a calendar to hang on some wall. But if I ever were to purchase a fractal calendar, it would be the ones that Alice Kelley produces.

    When I want fractals to hang on my walls, or the walls of any of my relatives or friends (I do have a few), then I want them to be fractals I have created myself.

    I would be more inclined to purchase one of those electronic wall frames, where one can have a set of digital images that is shown on them. Just as long as the capability was there to control what images may be seen, how long each image would be shown (either constantly or looping through a selection), and most importantly, the ability to add and remove images from the selection. Much better than having a calendar (at least until I become so addle-brained that I need something to tell the days of the week).

  7. Call me crazy, but I actually keep the calendars I buy… Fractal, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trak, Lord of the Rings… I wait till they go on sale for half price after Christmas and pick out the ones that are special to me.

    I am in no way disagreeing with your point, just adding the perspective that their are wacky people like me around.

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