The Blog that Drove the Universe out of Town


“I love the smell of blog posts in the morning”

It’s been almost three years since Orbit Trap appeared in August of 2006. Initially, I had expected it to have an enormous influence on fractal art simply by virtue of being a collective venue ready to showcase and demonstrate new ideas and fresh directions in fractal art. The hostility that erupted when concepts like politics and art criticism –concepts which are commonplace in the larger world of art– were introduced in the context of fractal art, made me realize that the fractal art world, despite being a high-tech art form, was in fact a primitive, medieval oligarchy and a free and open 21st century venue like Orbit Trap was not welcome by the reigning Dukes and Duchesses.

Criticizing Ultra Fractal… a big no-no! I posted my reasons for not using it and war broke out. Over the years (yes, years!) I reviewed and praised a number of fractal artists who use Ultra Fractal exclusively and yet Orbit Trap is still seen, in brute simple terms, as being anti-Ultra Fractal. Why? Because in fractal art’s medieval environment you’re either a vassal of the king or a vassal of his enemies. I chose to just speak my mind about Ultra Fractal, to just post my personal opinion, but that itself was an idea way ahead of it’s time in fractal land, although it’s a common activity, and a well-respected one, in the rest of the art world today.

Then came the contests.

Frankly, in my opinion, anyone who couldn’t see that the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest or the Fractal Universe Calendar was run in a blatantly unfair way was either stupid or lying. What shocked me the most about the response to Orbit Trap’s exposés of these contests was how many people who seemed to have nothing to gain spoke up to support the very entities that had been ripping them off every year by crowding them out of the winners circle. So many of the poor peasants came out to defend their beloved ruling elite. How could there be so many suckers? Is there no one out there with half a brain?

Well, that’s the current fractal art scene: a small ruling group and a huge peasantry composed of boot-lickers and flatterers. But no! That was the old fractal art scene. Something has changed.


The Witch is Dead!

The Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest is in hiding, possibly MIA or KIA. At least for the time being it’s been neutered, but who knows? Those people don’t talk to anyone except themselves. Orbit Trap is the only place you’ll get an unbiased perspective on fractal art and what’s going on, even if we have to guess sometimes. And now, the big event, if you haven’t noticed, is that the Fractal Universe Calendar’s annual contest, as announced by Tina Oloyede in a belated response to Orbit Trap’s enquiries, will no longer operate as a contest as it has for all these years but will instead just contact a few artists directly to ask them for artwork. Of course, that was what they really doing all along, but the big deal is that the medieval pagentry and pomp is gone and the fractal art world’s longest running contest has now left the Middle Ages and entered the social equivalent of the 16th century Renaissance. And that, in my opinion, is the biggest news of the last three years in the fractal art world. They didn’t even make that announcement that on their own website! It was made in the comments section (yes, the comments section) of an Orbit Trap posting.

Although, I suppose, the fact that all this came about in response to the persistence of what is really nothing more than just another freely hosted blog on Blogger run by what is commonly seen as “two whiners” in the fractal world, is perhaps something of equal merit. How is it that Orbit Trap could run that venerable and established contest out of town? Maybe telling the truth about them month after month made them feel so uncomfortable they just had to do something?

If so, that would be a very modern and encouraging response. Maybe this Orbit Trap thing has helped advance fractal art more than I’ve realized.

6 thoughts on “The Blog that Drove the Universe out of Town

  1. I've been reading Orbit Trap since it started, because I'm interested in fractal art, and there's been some interesting critical discussion of what constitutes fractal art, what makes it good or bad, and so on. Great stuff!

    On the other hand, I just can't muster any interest in this whole calendar/contest/fractalus business. It's just not interesting. I don't care about the calendar or the astonishing revelation that some banal images of spirals aren't on some website any more.

    Now that you have declared victory, I hope we can get back to some discussion about, y'know, art or something.

  2. "I just can't muster any interest in this"

    –and yet you take the time to post a comment about this thing you have absolutely no interest in!

    I'm sure looking forward to discussing fractal art with someone who postures like that.

  3. It might be hard for you to wrap your delusional little heads around this but there could be other reasons that the contest has been a no show and the calendar has been discontinued.

    The contest is associated with a conference that occurs once every four years. Do you really believe that the planners of that conference have made plans based on your mighty words here? I know, the conference happened 2 years in a row, but the second year was an exception. You go right ahead and believe that the conference and its associated contest are no shows because of you. I like it when you make fools of yourselves.

    Do you really believe that the people who made the business decision to shut down the calendar did so because of you? Maybe, just maybe, the decision was made by people who have never heard of you. Maybe the decision came from factors that were much larger than one calendar and it had nothing to do with you.

    You go right ahead and believe that the contest and calendar have been altered because of you. It gives you the credibility that you deserve.

    As far as the calendar that Tina mentioned goes – that's not anyone's business but the people who are involved with it.

  4. "that's not anyone's business but the people who are involved with it."

    There you go folks; straight from the King on his golden throne: "You peasants get back to work and don't stick your noses where they don't belong!"

  5. "The contest is associated with a conference that occurs once every four years."

    Not true. Javier Barrallo, BMFAC co-director, said here in January of 2008 that the contest "takes place every two years," so the competition is not tied to the four-year timetable of any conference.

    The first competition in 2006 held its exhibition during the International Congress of Mathematicians conference. That body meets every four years.

    The last BMFAC competition was held in 2007 and was not affiliated with any conference. That means, by my math, BMFAC is (was?) due to take place again this year.

  6. I am not claiming to have control over contests and calendars like you are. If anyone believes that they are sitting on a golden throne, it's you.

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