Fiends without a Face

Fiends without a Face

Fiends without a Face (2007)

Weird for the sake of weird…
Moe Szyslak, The Simpsons

We know fractals are said to be supposedly infinite, highly recursive, and sometimes interpreted through aesthetics. But can the exaggeration and irony of camp be one of those aesthetic crash dives?

The critters in this image reminded me of the “monsters” from that psychotronic gem Fiend without a Face.

Brains.  More brains.  Oh wait.  I am one...

I ain’t got no/body since she left me
And I don’t know why
But I’m startin’ to cry
I ain’t got no/body…
–“Ain’t Got Nobody”, Grand Funk Railroad

Another one of those remarkable strings of nuclear accidents in the 1950s unleashes a rash of caterpillaric brainstems snaking through the Canadian countryside and snacking on the locals’ left and right hemispheres. Viewer empathy begins to leak into the mix as many of the spine-sucking creatures are dispatched with macho gusto by pistols at point blank range. When shot, their brainstems curl like ribbons, and their cerebrums emit leaking oil sounds as strawberry preserves dribble out of their lobes. Once the bumbling technicians have their skulls drained like unwanted swamps and the responsible nuclear plant is destroyed, each rampaging neck-clinger becomes a literal no-brainer and melts into what looks like bubbling custard.

Necking on the first date?

Hi there. You’re only the peripheral romantic interest in this film. So you won’t actually be needing your brain for this role.

And you thought all you had to worry about were Chernobyl collateral damage and truly infinite waste storage in Yucca Mountain and elsewhere.

I’ve argued previously on this blog that fractals have attributes associated with fine art. I guess the reverse is true, too. Fractals can also take the low road. As we learn from hey I coulda written that crap on Wikipedia:

Camp has been from the start an ironic attitude, embraced by anti-Academic theorists for its explicit defense of clearly marginalized forms. As such, its claims to legitimacy are dependent on its opposition to the status quo; camp has no aspiration to timelessness, but rather lives on the hypocrisy of the dominant culture. It doesn’t present basic values, but precisely confronts culture with what it perceives as its inconsistencies, to show how any norm is socially constructed. This rebellious utilisation of critical concepts was originally formulated by modernist art theorists such as sociologist Theodor Adorno who were radically opposed to the kind of popular culture that consumerism endorsed.

So can fractal art now be considered postmodernist? After all, someone once told me my art(ifact) was “all surface.”

And, yeah, I think this post could be seen as a metanarrative

Until someone totally deconstructs it in the comments…


Image rendered in QuaSZ and mildly post-processed until my brain went missing and I stopped.

Rooms with a View
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2 thoughts on “Fiends without a Face

  1. ahh, quaternionic space spaghetti :) interestingly, it doesn’t look like a q^2+c set. any clues?

  2. Thomas,

    I could dig up the parameter file and take a look. QuaSZ, because of its many rendering and filtering options, produces some very striking, unusual quats.

    However, unlike you, I’m not a programmer, so I could only provide some basic information about this specific image. If you’re interested in learning more about the finer points of the software, check with its creator: Terry W. Gintz at Mystic Fractal. I’m sure he’d be happy to chat with you about QuaSZ’s features and capabilities.

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