[Photograph seen on Memory and Desire.]
The "jury" is still out as to whether the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest will be held again this year, so we don't yet know whether its judges will once more give themselves a free backstage pass to hang their own art next to the "winning entries" they select. There is one thing we do know though. The BMFAC judges have shown absolutely no remorse for engaging in such a conspicuous breach of professionalism
It's been two years now since the first competition, and we've yet to hear any of the judges knock or question the contest's framework. They cannot claim to be pawns, for they have never complained to being used as such. If they were not complicit in the set up of the contest, then they are least complicit in not criticizing the arrangement after the fact. Have any of them denied the insider privileges they enjoy? No, they have either remained silent or openly defended the competition's ethically questionable protocols.
At best, they have a confused view as to what has transpired. They evidently fail to see their own responsibility or the competition's unbalanced provisions -- and who it (coincidentally) benefits. Maybe only an Ultra Fractal zealot like BMFAC's director could create an entity that so conveniently favors UF fractal art, but the rest of the judges apparently have no qualms about helping out or defending the contest.
BMFAC judge Mark Townsend disagreed there is any UF bias and said recently in an OT comment that he just votes "for the images he likes." It's too bad the entry requirements prevented him from seeing much else but work made with UF. He notes that images made in other programs were among last year's winners -- but avoids providing any percentages that would allow an evenhanded comparison. He also had this observation:
To suggest that I (or Sam, or Kerry, or any of the other judges for that matter) would choose Ultra Fractal images (with or without image importing) just because they are Ultra Fractal images, is, I'm sorry, quite offensive.
Fair enough. But since we are keeping score...
I find the competition's overt privileging of Ultra Fractal -- from the massive size stipulations to the near total appointment of judges who use UF to the selection panel -- to be offensive. And, I'm sorry, but I find the fact that BMFAC's judges are allowed to include their own work in an exhibition they have judged to be very offensive.