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Fractal Art and Marshall McLuhan


During today’s spirited discussion following Sean and Patrick’s presentation on Fractal Art, I mentioned that Marshall McLuhan’s quote “Art is anything you can get away with” seemed to capture a way of defining art that would include the use of fractal software.When looking up McLuhan on the web, I came across another art quote that might be more pertinent to this discussion -

Art at its most significant is a Distant Early Warning System that can always be relied on to tell the old culture what is beginning to happen to it.
I believe that fractal art is indeed art because of the significance of fractals - their discovery and use in modeling, prediction, and understanding has certainly upended the old culture of Euclidean geometry, giving us a different view of the geometric underpinning of the world.

Marshall McLuhan was a Canadian philosopher, mid 20th-century visionary and self-created expert on the effects of technology on popular culture. Claimed by many to be the “Oracle of the Electronic Age, ” McLuhan is probably most famous for his work The Medium is the Massage. (Note - This was required reading for me in high school!)

The increasing role of the Internet in our lives has led to a resurgence in appreciation of his work. But all is not rosy for McLuhan’s reputation, at least according to Gary Wolf of Wired. His article The Wisdom of Saint Marshall, the Holy Fool de-mythologizes McLuhan unmercifully. Interestingly, there is a specific reference to fractals in the article, although not in the context of art. Can you find it?