topical media & game development

talk show tell print

research directions -- computational art

I started studying computer music in 1979. For about four years, I worked on a system for real-time sound synthesis and algorithmic composition. Some years later, I wrote an essay that I presented in 1986 at the First Symposium for Electronic Arts, in Utrecht. The essay was the published in Leonardo,  [Art]. Now, almost 20 years later, I reread the abstract, which I OCRed from the original hardcopy:

Computational Art

The author conducts a simple thought experiment investigating the existence and scope of 'computational art': the utilization of the computer in the visual arts and music. In the experiment he sets the task of constructing an artifact that is capable of producing works of art. Since it appears that the artifact needs at least the capability of imagination, he queries the nature of images and imagery and argues that imagination is strongly intentional. Next he introduces the concept of notational systems, since they seem to govern the artistic activity of (not exclusively) machines. Confronted with the question of whether we are able to develop a computational analogue for taste, he finds that notational systems prove to be necessary for mediating the method of production of an artwork and the appraisal of its artistic value. Furthermore, the author shows that there are certain epistemological limits to the creativity of an imaginative device. Although the outcome of this hypothetical construction task clearly denies the possibility of an autonomously creative artifact, there seems to be no reason to worry about the opportunities for computational art: the computer appears to be a unique tool in exploring the possibilities of artistic production, guided by artists.

Today, despite the immense increase in computational power and the overwhelming amount of multimedia peripherals, the computer is still not able to produce art autonomously. But as a tool it is about to take over the entire industry, ranging from traditional publishing to film production and distribution. And, perhaps more tangible, as a tool for the creation of media content it is becoming ever better!

(C) Æliens 04/09/2009

You may not copy or print any of this material without explicit permission of the author or the publisher. In case of other copyright issues, contact the author.