I’ve been reviewed

I deleted lycium’s (Thomas Ludwig’s) original comment to my posting about Fractal Art isn’t Rocket Science. But his expansion on the theme expressed in his original Orbit Trap comment grew to become an interesting work of art and well worth reading. It was posted in the fractalforums.com site, where I recently found it. It’s not exactly a “positive” review, but for someone like me, any attention is exciting.

A word about criticism. I once read about a sage who adopted the habit of sending all his new students off to listen to his critics. He defended this somewhat unusual teaching practice by saying that until his students had refuted the claims of his critics, he could not begin to teach them anything. I hope you will take lycium seriously and consider the possibility that what he says about me could quite very well be the truth.

Copied verbatim from fractalforums.com. The boxed, indented text is the quoted references from my posting to which lycium responds. His responses are the regular text which follows:

lycium’s review begins here…

just when i thought orbit trap couldn’t get any worse… tim posts this gem: http://orbittrap.blogspot.com/2007/09/fractal-art-isnt-rocket-science.html

i want to take a little time to reply here in detail, where more programmers can see what this man thinks of us.

Quote from: Tim
Would it help me if I had such a solid math and programming background as these super stars did? It doesn’t seem to be helping them out too much.

let the slandering begin…

now honestly, how can someone with such earth-shatteringly poor “artworks” (which bear essentially no fractal traits at all, ignoring the 16 colour lsd-inspired palette) even think to question the works of others, let alone the forerunners of our field?! such collosal arrogance is SO rare, even among arrogant people.

Quote from: Tim
Moving on. What confuses things is that the “tool-makers” can also perform the role of “tool-users”. But the skills and abilities that lead to good tool making are irrelevant when it comes to using those tools to make art.

as if he would know; as if he has the faintest inkling as to what sort of skills and abilities it takes to design a vast fractal parameter space, or a flexible colouring algorithm, or a simple control system and all the other things necessary to hide the reality of fractal generation.

Quote from: Tim
They might as well be two different people because when the “scientist” takes up the tool he made, he begins the same process of discovery as everyone else who takes up that tool.

inhuman ignorance meants superhuman ego. notice how he puts scientist in quotes (!!).

Quote from: Tim
“Crafting nunchuks vs. swinging them like Bruce Lee.”

Quote from: Tim
Sure, the tool maker immediately knows how to operate the tool,

allow me to inline a quote from just sentences earlier: They might as well be two different people because when the “scientist” takes up the tool he made, he begins the same process of discovery as everyone else who takes up that tool.


… and here is the tour de force:

Quote from: Tim
Actually the tool maker may have a handicap: he may think he has an edge over the one who is merely a tool-user and come to think his tool-making experience gives extra weight and an enhanced quality to his artwork.

really, this one needs no comment.

Quote from: Tim
Artistic activities, on the other hand, have psychological challenges (objectively evaluating your work; creative inspiration) that the quantitative sciences have less of.

too bad he has neither: (selected from his many “cutting edge” block wave filtered images; there are plenty of these littered about the blog)

tim is just as poor a spokesperson for the social sciences as he is for the fractal community (quoted from http://orbittrap.blogspot.com/2007/09/orbit-traps-change-of-format.html): We invited the Fractal Community to speak for themselves and they didn’t want to. We spoke for them and they told us to shut up.

Quote from: Tim
Furthermore, the precision and absoluteness of the quantitative sciences creates a mindset or approach to art that I think can be a stumbling block in the evolving, shifting, combinant and recombinant, alchemical world of art.

nevermind “different perspective” or “broader view”, it’s a stumbling block to have a clue how the software you’re using works. yup.

Quote from: Tim
But Fractal Art is Art; it’s got its own set of skills and talents, which in the same way, also count for nothing when applied to the world of mathematics.

no, you utterly fail at logic. having a grasp of basic maths DOES help with making fractal art. you just wouldn’t know because you don’t have it, so stop being so damn presumptuous and cocky.

…end of lycium’s review

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5 thoughts on “I’ve been reviewed

  1. it was never my intention to “bully” (insomuch as one can bully through logical argumentation) anyone to accept my views on the artist< ->programmer ecosystem, but i do feel strongly about that rocket science post – something like “don’t bite the hand that feeds, or at least don’t chew!”

    i think the word “ecosystem” is apt, because no single element of the complex artist/programmer combination is really more important; there is a cyclic dependency: without people using a programmer’s software, the “greater utility” question is unanswerable, and conversely artists will all have to get maths and computer science degrees just to participate in what ought to be an intuitive and relaxing experience!

    most programmers are not good artists, the converse is also true; however in a multi-disciplinary field like computer graphics drawing “battle lines” will never bear fruit. there’s a spectrum of abilities and shortcomings, and personally i’ve found that pairing up with someone who complements my skill set is both extremely rewarding, and an excellent way to achieve things.

  2. I guess you’re right, Thomas. Artists stand on the shoulders of Programmers and ought to be more respectful towards the ones who have raised them up so high, and, are raising them still higher –as we speak– rather than laugh at those who are beneath them.

    And my Photoshop filters. All I’ve ever done in return is give them a link and a brief compliment. Is that enough? Hard to say.

    Anyhow, I’m heading back to my blockwave filter now. No need to be thankful for that thing, I guess.

  3. lightning does indeed find its efforts better spent in several places rather than one: http://ompf.org/forum/viewtopic.php?p=5305#5305

    i stopped visiting orbit trap after my (much better mannered, btw) first post got censored, and i wrote that “review” (it’s not so much a review as a reaction, unlike the link i posted above). in light of this behaviour i found your sage/critics comment interesting ;)

    it’s good to see, however, that you’re acknowledging some artists’ potential ability to rise over their peers through technical mastery. in this respect i’d like to bring to attention david makin’s recent research on rendering iterated function systems via escape time methods, which is already producing interesting results: http://makinmagic.deviantart.com/art/La-Folie-67625984

    i use similar methods in my programs to render 3d fractals like this (1920×1200 version will be on my deviantart page soon): http://www.fractographer.com/test3/nextone.jpg

    the problem is that most 3d fractals need individual treament, there isn’t a big “family” of fractals like you have with ifs. that’s why david’s work is so important: if he can generalise his algorithm to work with any possible ifs system, then we can apply photorealistic rendering methods to a massive class of interesting fractals.

    what’s the point of all of this? it’s just another example of how programmers are pushing the boundaries of fractal art, enabling artists to create their works.

  4. It’s just a flame. But I thought it made for interesting reading.

    I would say, however, that I have changed my view of things somewhat after considering some of the points you and Albert raised in your comments. I would agree, for instance, that including say, formula writing in a program like UF, as part of the creative process in making fractal art is valid, and therefore an artist who is also a formula writer could be said to have a creative edge as compared to someone like me who doesn’t have that skill. It’s just like Albert said when he mentioned that many of the algorithmic art people design and write their own programs.

    With respect to evaluating artwork though, I would still say that the artist’s credentials (or lack of them, like me, as Thomas pointed out) should not be taken into account and the work should be judged as if the source of it was unknown. In that respect, I still feel there is some bias in favour of the technical artists in the fractal world, but it’s not too surprising considering how new and different fractal art is to many people.

    This is the general theme of what I think will be my second post on the subject. It probably won’t get reviewed, however. Lightning never strikes twice…

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