Monitor Heads Vs. The Wine and Cheese People

Get back in your seats! First I have to show the Image of the Week:

Wood Fractal by Skepsis, 2006

Flickr comments are a whole new genre of writing — and state of mind too!

I found this thought provoking. Obviously, you can see this is a photograph of a piece of a sawn tree trunk.

If there was a fractal rendering method that could reproduce such imagery, would you use it? If you could zoom into this image and check out the deeper details, would you do that as well?

If you took that fractal image, made with this “wood” rendering method, and printed it out, would it be a photograph? Do the hyper realistic landscapes made with the computer program, Terragen, belong in the photo-landscape category or the digital art category? If someone printed out one of those hyper realistic Terragen landscapes and entered it in a photography contest and won, would that be “cheating”?

Lately I’ve been reading old books from the Internet Archive. There are often a number of file formats to chose from. I usually read them in the Djvu format which is essentially the same as viewing the scanned images of the original books. I have downloaded over 130 books from there in Djvu format (I haven’t read them all) and when I browse the directory they’re stored in with my file browser and see them listed as thumbnails of the front cover, I feel like I have a real library that’s just as real as the one which holds the original, physical books.

Actually, I prefer my digital library to the old kind, although it would be nice to be able to hold the originals or read them while sitting in a lawn chair in the backyard instead of in front of a computer in the basement. The digital medium changes the way I “interact” with the books, and it’s not always for the worse, either.

Call the digital books — Monitor Books. And for that matter, call the digital art that is viewed on the computer monitor — Monitor Art. (And call me… Monitor Man! Hero of all things Digital!!!)

The digital art that is printed out, framed and hung on the wall is different. And expensive! Just as it’s more expensive to produce a book in printed form than it is to produce it in digital form — as a digital file.

But don’t most people prefer to read printed books than to read electronic books on a computer monitor? And similarly, don’t most people prefer to view and display art in an art gallery or hanging in a picture frame on a wall rather than — on a computer monitor?

Print produces imagery of higher resolution and also of greater size (although TV screens/monitors are starting to reach pretty big sizes). Fractal imagery printed out in huge sizes like those of the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest are more impressive than the same images seen on a monitor, aren’t they?

Well, no. Or not entirely, I’d say. I think the computer monitor is simply a different medium than the printed one. Just like my electronic library, the “electronic canvas” of the computer monitor has some advantages and, in my opinion, only a few, minor disadvantages to the printed canvas.

I guess you could call printed fractals, “wood fractals”, since they’re most likely printed on paper (wood fiber). And you could call the people who prefer to work in the computer monitor medium, Monitor Heads. The printed stuff gets framed and hung up in a gallery, or something close to it. Gallery’s are notorious for serving wine and cheese on the opening night of a new exhibition — hence, The Wine and Cheese People.

So there you have it: the two fundamental groups in the fractal world with respect to medium.

And who will win? Well, if you’re reading this on a computer monitor…