Beware of the Anti-Fractal
I know this will probably crack some folks up at first, but bear with me as I tell you about something that came to mind just recently while browsing the big page of "winners" at the 2007 Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest site.
First, let me draw your attention to the "anti-" thing. I am referring to anti in the sense of "Anti-Christ", a term which most people will be familiar with, mostly from the popular media, I suspect, which is why I want to clarify its meaning.
Anti-Christ has two accepted meanings. The first is the more common and obvious one, "opposed or against Christ". The second is a similar, but slightly different meaning of "substitute or alternate Christ". That's the meaning I'm referring to when I speak of "Anti-Fractal" - a substitution for, or replacement for Fractals. Much more insidious than the first one.
A horrifying mutation is about to be born
So I'm looking at the winners' page last week because I read a short blog posting about the 2007 Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest and I wanted to double check which of the many "species" of winners the reviewer's three favorites came from. There's an interesting comment there, but let's stick to the Anti-Fractal.
While browsing down the winners' (that's plural) page I was struck by the suddenly different style of three of the judges' works.
Well, Ultra Fractal has a lot of processing options so it shouldn't be a surprise to see some pretty unusual looking fractals. But it made me think, "Are they bored with fractals and trying to make artwork that looks as little like fractals as possible?"
I'm referring to the wispy, melting, flowing style of image. It's not the usual crisp, structured, patterned type of fractal image that has traditionally been associated with fractals. It's something new and different and in the art world that's always a good thing.
But this is not the art world, this is the fractal art world and I say, "BRETHEREN! BEWARE THE ANTI-FRACTAL!"
Now, I'm sure the artists can produce plenty of fractal formulas and other scientific evidence to easily prove by way of parameter files that those images are as fractal as any other fractal image, but just different-looking than the usual old-fashioned fractals because these new flowing-style fractals have been created with cutting-edge Ultra Fractal techniques.
I think these judges are leading the way in leaving the little world of fractal art and heading out into the larger and more creative realm of Digital Art in general. And by corollary I would say that Ultra Fractal is a tool primarily designed for this purpose: Anti-Fractals - making fractals that don't look like fractals but can still be easily called fractals because you didn't use Photoshop, you only used Ultra-Fractal.
In other words, Ultra Fractal is being used to mask post-processing and conceal the the true label of "Digital Art" under layers of fractal formulas!
Don't we all want something good for Fractal Art to come out of the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contests? Yes! And now it has. The judges have shown us that Fractal Art is Dead and Boring and it needs to be cooked a little.
No more spirals - behold the un-spiral! Want your crisp frozen curves to look more relaxed and flowing? Enroll in the Mississippi School of Anti-Fractal Art. But be forewarned: only the good ship Ultra Fractal can take you down that river. You can't do this with your small fractal crafts.
Unless of course you've got the guts to be a Pirate and use Photoshop.
I'll stop now. I'm meandering.
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