Beyond the Valley of the Fractal Dolls

And will it make my breasts more self-similar?

Does this fractal make me look infinitely fat?

Detail of Fractal Nude Study by clifftoppler. Link contains nudity: here.

I am doll eyes, doll mouth, doll legs…
Hole, “Doll Parts”

I want a doll! I want a doll!
Neely O’Hara, Valley of the Dolls

I know this blog usually wrestles with weightier subjects like contests and calendars and kings, but I’d like to move on to a more pressing topic. It’s a question, really, and one I’ve asked myself now and then ever since I rendered my first render.

Why do some people like to kidnap naked women and entrap them in fractals?

Oh, I know what you’re thinking. Artists, analog and digital, have been doing something similar for a very long time. Pull up that footstool as you remember both your history and your semantics:

The nude has become an enduring genre of representational art, especially painting, sculpture and photography. It depicts people without clothes, usually with stylistic and staging conventions that distinguish the artistic elements (such as innocence, or similar theatrical/artistic elements) of being nude with the more provocative state of being naked. A nude figure is one, such as a goddess or a man in ancient Greece, for whom the lack of clothing is its usual condition, so that there is no sexual suggestiveness presumed. A naked figure is one, such as a contemporary prostitute or a businessman, who usually wears clothing, such that their lack of it in this scene implies sexual activity or suggestiveness (See also: nudity and sexuality). The latter were rare in European art from the Medieval period until the latter half of the 1800s; in the interim, a work featuring an unclothed woman would routinely identify her as “Venus” or another Greco-Roman goddess, to justify her nudity.
–Wikipedia (which understands leaving things uncovered), “Depictions of Nudity.” Link contains nudity (duh): here.

The unusual businessmen found in the wild by Wikipedia aside, I remember most of the above staging and parsing from art history. But what’s the special attraction of imprisoning using naked nude women in fractal and digital art? Next slide please:

The human body contains variations of all geometric shapes such as the cylinder, the sphere, the cone, the cube, etc., making it an ideal subject for exercises in rendering and demonstrating artistic ability and creativity. The body is viewed as a design form of shapes, highlights, and shadows.
–Museum of Art and Archeology, “Addressing Nudity in Art.” Link that does not contain nudity but just a bunch of words instead: here.

Right. Math. Art. And that other technical stuff. Sounds good. Just be very precise about highlights and shadows as you increase the size of your Poser model’s conical breasts. You’re covered then and only see design forms and nude pixels. Surely there’s nothing else for discriminating art appreciators to see. Right?

Wrong. Some people see naked people and are offended because your artistic creation:
1) has naked people in it,
2) is impure and indecent and immoral,
3) is sexist,
4) is stupid,
5) is non-representational (no one but a Poser replicant looks that good),
6) is embarrassing to all concerned,
7) is NSFW and I’m at work right now,
8) has way too much image compression, dude

but none of the above is what I think when I see a naked woman nude figure trapped within the confined deep space of a rectangle — fractal spirals twinkling like galaxies beside her flesh highlighted features — Sierpenski triangles sleeting like cosmic rays through her flesh exposed skin surfaces. Instead, I think


We interrupt your pleasant blogging experience to bring you this important message from SOMA.

Hi there. I’m David X. Machina. I’m not really a blogger. I just play one on this blog. I’m the titular head director of SOMA: The Society of Museum Ambiance.

SOMA has one monomaniacal goal: To keep ads out of art museums. Physical museums have been operating under our guidelines for some time. True, physical museums have lobbies, curio shops, and city busses packed with gratuitous, self-promoting ads. But, so far anyway, I’ve never been in the MOMA, about to enjoy viewing Starry Night, only to have a television screen suddenly appear in my peripheral vision and display a certain and inexplicably popular ad for Axe deodorant. Can we all agree that seeing that guy with fire hoses for armpits would probably ruin the mood for experiencing Van Gogh?

And yet something similar happens nearly every time I enter online community galleries that showcase digital art. I am aggressively bombarded around the borders of my vision with saturation advertising. How can I focus on viewing art when flash ads featuring the mortgage rate in every state and country are blinking around the edges of my perception? Or if I’m trying to view a piece called “Still Life with Fruit,” why must I have vertical Google ads on either side? The right side is trying sell me organic strawberries, and the left side is pitching unauthorized whiskey-making equipment. In contrast, physical museums never barbarically intrude into my senses and pollute my aesthetic experience in such a manner (unless you count tour guides).

Even movies and DVDs are not so brazen. In these mediums, commercials fill the screen before the feature starts or is played. Concerts and stage plays are not rudely interrupted when the “art parts” are occurring. So why do so many online community art galleries use the very model clinically tested to always undercut the sublime for the sell — television?

Renderosity is the worst. Are you as tired as I am of all of those sultry, Poser-derived, replicant-skinned, Xena wannabes slinking around the edges of every screen? What a sorry collection of seductive sorceresses, pallid vampiri, curvaceous buccaneers, gypsy cheerleaders, armored harpies, gothic sunbathers, bikinied demon-destroying hellcats, and Cleopatra impersonators.

And how come so few Poser artists spent time in medical school and yet so many are more skilled at breast augmentation than the finest plastic surgeons?

And I'm cold.  Would you be a good boy and turn down the fan speed on your computer?

Hi there. I’m Venus. I hope everyone with testosterone out there can see through yet another spurious claim by Orbit Trap. Now, please excuse me as gravity pulls me right over on my face.

Detail of Coffee Break by Alyah. Link contains nudity: here.

Banish them all from your visual field. Join SOMA today*. We will gladly waive the membership fee**. All you have to do is tighten your resolve or perhaps pay annually for a premium membership. So the next time your will weakens, and digital gallery art begins to dissolve under the peripheral influence of the chief’s shapely daughter and her bison-hide lingerie, just go all Zen and begin chanting SOMA’s motto like a mantra:

Succubi Today?
I’m Gone Tomorrow!

Together, we can hold the line for a better cyberspace filled with chain web sites of our own ads-free, digital Louvres. And, no, I don’t want fries or a buxom mermaid stripper in a pirate outfit with that art.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled blogging.

* Side effects of joining SOMA include peaceful contemplation, ruminating on life’s mysteries, cathartic epiphanies, and erectile dysfunction which is caused by everything.
**Although you can still send donations to the Tim and Terry Slush Fund/Ponzi Scheme for Wayward Poser Replicants. No amount will be considered too small.


these poor women look so cold. I feel sorry for them — adrift, clothingless, caught in the framed confines of a fractalized void. I want to just surf into one of Renderosity’s countless Poser merchant shops and purchase a parka — maybe some L.L.Bean-tinged boots — at least a space helmet and some oxygen tanks!!

I mean if these Poser merchants can so completely objectify women by literally selling their digital hair, skin, breasts, and other shank-to-flank body parts, then how about rendering up and draping some of these goosebumped models with a warm Snuggie made out of fiberglass, steel, insulation, neoprene rubber, and Kevlar.

And I don’t mean to single out or pick on clifftoppler. I actually like some of his work (like this richly textured scan). His was just the most recent example of the naked-woman-ensnared-in-a-fractal pic that came across the transom of the UF List. It’s the particular sub-genre that baffles me — not the individual practitioner.

In the end, we can and probably should debate the multi-faceted moral, cultural, sexual, and digital underpinnings of this stylistic phenomenon of fractal nudism. But, first, we must have empathy for the tragic souls condemned to drift infinitely, insensate, iteration after iteration, through self-similar space — and maybe send them some battery-operated heated ski gloves and tube socks once the world economy recovers.

Because we always knew that in space no one can hear you scream — but who knew — that in fractal space — no one can see your clothes.

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