Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2008 Cancelled

How could this have happened?

I really thought this was going to become a regular part of the Fractal Art world, but I guess that was too much to hope for.

What could have gone wrong this year? How did this happen?

Let me count the ways…

Artistically Anemic: I guess when you make the submission requirements sound like the feature set for Ultra Fractal you’re bound to get only one kind of artwork.

One-Dimensional: (No pun intended) Making everything exactly the same size was pretty stupid; how many artists make everything the same size? It this a fractal brick exhibition?

Enough Judges to Fill a Bus: And they all get a reserved spot in the exhibition because of their hard, hard work. “Many hands make light work” — not in a fractal art contest apparently! It’s just an excuse to take a free ride on the sponsor’s money while everyone else has to jump through a bunch of hoops just to be seen by the “judges”.

Amateur Attempt at Judging: Who exactly are these judges? All I saw was a guy and a bunch of his friends. Why not add a few judges who have a different view of fractal art? Or how about getting a real art judge who’s unconnected to the fractal world and can handle the very hard, hard work of sifting through the several hundred submissions that any contest (or high school art course) will produce? It ought to be easy for someone familiar with approaching art from a critical point of view. Let the busload of amateur judges line up with everyone else to get judged instead of lording it over their fellow artists.

The Devil Sponsors Made Us Do It That’s all I can remember hearing when the organizers attempted to explain the odd-ball setup for the contest — both years in a row. Yeesh. Show some leadership and maturity and just admit you made mistakes and make the necessary changes. The Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest can be saved! It just needs an attitude that won’t sell out to sponsors or the private ambitions of a small clique of artists and self acclaimed experts.

The Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2009?

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6 thoughts on “Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest 2008 Cancelled

  1. The contest needs to be simplified and more flexible for more fractal generation programs. Plus, I notice the same people over and over again win these kind of things. Sort of puts me off. No offense if anyone reading this has one, but it would be nice to see others get recognized, too.

    Good point about judging! A person outside the fractal world needs to be making unbiased and artistically critical decisions.

  2. I’ve just had a thought. All the entries for last year’s contest are available for viewing at, right? If you were judging a fractal contest, and you had to choose from those entries, which fifteen would you pick? Or, if they’re all too much the same, and too bad to count as winners, which of your own images would you include instead?

  3. I believe this posting from September of last year will answer your questions, free you from competitive tyranny, and raise you to a higher state of enlightenment.

    Also: I said was a great artist, not a better one.

  4. I wasn’t trying to comment on your relative merit (actual or perceived) as an artist, I was just wondering which fifteen fractals you would choose to display to the public. Since you didn’t mention any specific ones in that previous post, is it safe to assume that if you had been on the judging panel, you would have simply called the contest off for lack of suitable material?

    Also, I’ve been thinking about the question of large renders and print sizes, which is indeed vexing. Is it possible to ask the authors of your chosen programs to improve their large-render capabilities, so as to increase your options in that regard? The only solutions I’ve been able to come up with so far have involved…using UF. Sigh.

  5. Here’s eight I would have chosen:
    Absentminded Sentinel – Lilliane Rosschaert
    The Draftsman – Paul DeCelle
    Unravel – Paul DeCelle
    61672 – Jock Cooper
    Cellblocks – Stephen Ferguson
    Caterpillar 333 omega – Carlos F. Cidranes
    Koch Kube – Chris Hayton
    Mandelbrot Mountains – Lilliane Rosschaert

    Apart from Paul DeCelle’s The Draftsman, I’m not super excited about any of them, but the one’s I’ve listed I like. I wouldn’t have chosen any of the ones submitted by the judges except for Playground by Klaus-Peter Kubik. The judges’ work is characteristically stale (although Samuel Monnier’s is interesting).

    The arbitrary and artificial environment of contests exalts the compromise candidates and everything second rate in art. That’s why I prefer the everyday online world of the internet for art. It seems in Fractal Art that people’s experiments are better than the work they submit to contests. All of the judges have better work on their websites than the work they “submitted” to the contest.

    We all need to be more radical and take risks in our art. Contests encourage just the opposite behaviour — conformism and safe bets.

  6. Cool, thanks for such a quick response.

    I also would have chosen different examples of the judges’ work, in some cases.

    It seems too bad that there’s not going to be a contest this year, though. In spite of all the difficulties, it seems like contests are one of the best ways of bringing fractal art to the attention of a wider audience. And the judging does at least filter things down to a more manageable quantity, something that’s easier to take in than the massive glut of images on the internet at large.

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