The Blog that Drove the Universe out of Town
"I love the smell of blog posts in the morning"
It's been almost three years since Orbit Trap appeared in August of 2006. Initially, I had expected it to have an enormous influence on fractal art simply by virtue of being a collective venue ready to showcase and demonstrate new ideas and fresh directions in fractal art. The hostility that erupted when concepts like politics and art criticism --concepts which are commonplace in the larger world of art-- were introduced in the context of fractal art, made me realize that the fractal art world, despite being a high-tech art form, was in fact a primitive, medieval oligarchy and a free and open 21st century venue like Orbit Trap was not welcome by the reigning Dukes and Duchesses.
Criticizing Ultra Fractal... a big no-no! I posted my reasons for not using it and war broke out. Over the years (yes, years!) I reviewed and praised a number of fractal artists who use Ultra Fractal exclusively and yet Orbit Trap is still seen, in brute simple terms, as being anti-Ultra Fractal. Why? Because in fractal art's medieval environment you're either a vassal of the king or a vassal of his enemies. I chose to just speak my mind about Ultra Fractal, to just post my personal opinion, but that itself was an idea way ahead of it's time in fractal land, although it's a common activity, and a well-respected one, in the rest of the art world today.
Then came the contests.
Frankly, in my opinion, anyone who couldn't see that the Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest or the Fractal Universe Calendar was run in a blatantly unfair way was either stupid or lying. What shocked me the most about the response to Orbit Trap's exposés of these contests was how many people who seemed to have nothing to gain spoke up to support the very entities that had been ripping them off every year by crowding them out of the winners circle. So many of the poor peasants came out to defend their beloved ruling elite. How could there be so many suckers? Is there no one out there with half a brain?
Well, that's the current fractal art scene: a small ruling group and a huge peasantry composed of boot-lickers and flatterers. But no! That was the old fractal art scene. Something has changed.
The Witch is Dead!
The Benoit Mandelbrot Fractal Art Contest is in hiding, possibly MIA or KIA. At least for the time being it's been neutered, but who knows? Those people don't talk to anyone except themselves. Orbit Trap is the only place you'll get an unbiased perspective on fractal art and what's going on, even if we have to guess sometimes. And now, the big event, if you haven't noticed, is that the Fractal Universe Calendar's annual contest, as announced by Tina Oloyede in a belated response to Orbit Trap's enquiries, will no longer operate as a contest as it has for all these years but will instead just contact a few artists directly to ask them for artwork. Of course, that was what they really doing all along, but the big deal is that the medieval pagentry and pomp is gone and the fractal art world's longest running contest has now left the Middle Ages and entered the social equivalent of the 16th century Renaissance. And that, in my opinion, is the biggest news of the last three years in the fractal art world. They didn't even make that announcement that on their own website! It was made in the comments section (yes, the comments section) of an Orbit Trap posting.
Although, I suppose, the fact that all this came about in response to the persistence of what is really nothing more than just another freely hosted blog on Blogger run by what is commonly seen as "two whiners" in the fractal world, is perhaps something of equal merit. How is it that Orbit Trap could run that venerable and established contest out of town? Maybe telling the truth about them month after month made them feel so uncomfortable they just had to do something?
If so, that would be a very modern and encouraging response. Maybe this Orbit Trap thing has helped advance fractal art more than I've realized.