A Forum for Accusations?
I’ve been watching and participating in the increasingly hostile discussion here over the past two weeks or so. I don’t mind a little friendly discussion, but I don’t like to see misinformation propogated (about UF), so I lost my temper once at Thomas (and then apologized). But in the discussion following Terry’s “Take It to the Limitations” thread, Terry wrote a few things which I feel need to be addressed directly:
Instead, I questioned who stood to gain by keeping these limitations in place and suggested that the rules are possibly designed to privilege certain artists, programs, and styles.
I complained that some contests are not honest in their promotion and marketing. There are two types of contests that compel me to challenge the truth of their broad and subjective pronouncements. Type one is the contest that claims to showcase the genre’s finest artists. As an example, this contest openly trumpets “it will exhibit high quality works by the most important fractal artists in the world.” Read for yourself. Here’s the link.
In the FAQ section of the calendar’s Fractal Forum, the editors state they try to “produce a calendar that is representative of the current state of our art.” Here’s the link. Now I ask you. Is this statement an accurate description of the final product?
Good luck with your new camera lens. Maybe you can use it to focus on an examination of the ethics of editors and judges whose own work is somehow included in the fractal publications and exhibitions they are assigned to objectively oversee.
Now maybe you don’t see that as an outright accusation of bias or improper behavior, but it seems fairly clear to me that Terry is accusing both Keith (the editor in the last paragraph) and me (the judge in the last paragraph) of being unethical, because Keith’s and Panny’s artwork appears in the calendar, and because my and other contest panel judges’ artwork appeared in the exhibition.
I believe Terry’s accusation is without merit and, frankly, in poor taste. As Keith has already explained, Avalanche’s agreement with the editors is that each of them is guaranteed one image in the calendar, in exchange for doing the work of sifting through all of the entries and providing a “first cut” to the publisher. This detail of the agreement is in fact documented in the very same FAQ that Terry linked to with his other complaint, so he should have been well aware of this when he made his accusation. Not only that, but this is the same arrangement Avalanche has had through all the years I’ve been aware of their calendar—all the way back to when Rollo Silver was the editor and first opened up the calendar to submissions (prior to that, Rollo was the only artist to appear in the calendar).
Other artwork to be included in the exhibition will be from invited artists. These rules do not cover the invitation process, only the contest.
The decision to use judges’ artwork as the invited artists was not made by the judges, and the judges were not told of this until late in the selection process. For this year’s contest, we know in advance that judges’ artwork is to be included, so we have made the disclosure more explicit. I don’t know how we can be rightly accused of unethical behavior when we have been frank about this inclusion. Furthermore, I am informed by those with far more experience exhibiting artwork than me that jurors are almost always compensated. When they are not paid outright, their artwork is normally included (e.g. at a juried art show). Since the contest’s jurors are not paid a fee, exhibiting their artwork seemed like a reasonable compensation for their time and effort.
Terry wishes to take both the calendar and the contest to task, suggesting that our subjective marketing materials were somehow untruthful. I don’t understand how he can claim that subjective statements are either true or false; surely the fact that they’re subjective means they’re based on opinion? And they are not Terry’s events to run in any case. It is not his money at stake. (Nor was it mine or Keith’s; the sponsors and publishers, respectively, took the financial risk.)
I believe from this it is clear that these accusations have no place in rational discourse and serve no purpose other than demagoguery. I’ve delayed posting this several days to see if perhaps some other response might surface, but it seems that isn’t going to happen. If I can apologize to Thomas for a heated remark, I would expect no less from Terry.