Name divisions, dimensions and symmetries

Categories Tiera-Zon

Puente Colgante

Choosing a name is not an easy task, even if what you’re naming is a modest website. From my point of view, it has to represent the site’s content and purpose –somehow–, which in this case is to showcase the fractal pictures and other related content I author occasionally. By definition, a name is an identification, or identifier, a means to distinguish the given from the rest of the world it relates to. And for that reason, the more unique, the better, first, because it won’t confuse visitors, who will immediately know where they are, and second, it won’t conflict with existing providers of similar content.

The first name I used for this website, or more properly its beginnings, was Fractal Division. It didn’t seem that bad: it reflected what I explained above, and was unique among fractal-related sites back then. Nevertheless, I thought it wasn’t that genuine since I got the inspiration from a preexisting music group (as stated somewhere else), and so I eventually began to feel it needed a change.

Yet, the site kept that title for about a year, until in 1999 I started to refer to some part of it (hosted in a different server) as third apex to Fractovia. It was original –it came out of my inventive–, unlike the first one, and was still easy to relate to fractals, since the portmanteau (from fractal and the Spanish equivalent of Polish “-ów”, meaning “town”; together, “fractal town”) gave a direct hint of what it was all about. So it quickly rooted and soon became the whole site’s identity.

Regretfully, some other people took a liking to the wording too, and without consultation picked the ID for their own some time when my recurring disconnects kept me away from the net and unaware of a need to renew the domain. At first it was another fractal (con) artist, then an emerging company. Yet, it was the first-come-first-served policy of domain name registrars the one to really stab the fate of my website’s use of its own name since then.

Regardless of that misfortune, I kept using the name because it was “mine”, it was already known in the fractal art community and it had spread over the Internet. Only after the site went dormant for a decade that the name started to wane. With it also went away my compulsion to maintain it.

When I resolved to revitalize the site, I decided that I’d only do it under a different name. I could still hold on to fractovia if I wanted to, as my brainchild, but what was the point of it? Simply stubbornness? It wasn’t actually that, but a more practical logic: I would have to create a new identity for something already defined. I was mentally at odds with that idea, so it kept blocking my linguistic machinations, as I was aiming for another portmanteau. Yet, writing a simple post two days ago gave me a sound hint to pursue.

At the end of that monologue, I came to the conclusion that Quaint Dimensions could be a keeper. While the first word fit the style typifying my images (as self-defined by yours truly, so don’t get that as an accurate evaluation), the second one directed the attention to an important characteristic in these figures: their fractional dimensions. Needless to say, I thought it was a good choice right away. Just to make sure it wasn’t in use by another fractal enthusiast, I did a quick search that confirmed it didn’t point to any other prominent or popular site. Yet, “dimension” reminded me of something, so I kept looking further.

The suspicion turned out to be real. At first I thought it was some software, but I remembered a similar name among the Infinite Fractal Loop’s member sites: an old but still available website with very useful information and a pretty close name: Hidden Dimension (that same name is also in use by some kind of card game). That was a major turn down against rule #2. There are also a lot of other references with the phrase, some related to a NOVA show about this topic, as well as other scientific and philosophical discussions that incorporate fractal theory or dimensional concepts. Hence, introspection must continue.

Searching for a substitute word to accompany quaint (the quickest solution) and getting back into fractals, I picked up symmetry as a good referent, since it not only pertains to fractals and even helps to define them, but also because it’s closely associated with mathematics (particularly geometry) and the arts. And good news: it’s not in use in the Loop!

So the site that started out as Fractal Division, that became Fractovia afterward, and briefly turned into Quaint Dimensions barely two days ago has ended its current journey as Quaint Symmetries… at least for now. If it sticks, only time will tell.