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GENERATIVE ART DEFINITIONS, THOUGHTS AND VIEWS 

Generative Art refers to any art practice where the artist uses a system, such as a set of natural language rules a computer program, a machine, or other procedural invention, which is then set into motion with some degree of autonomy to or resulting in a complex work of art (Philip Galanter).

Generative Art is the idea realized as genetic code of artificial objects. The generative project is a concept-software that works producing three-dimensional unique and non-repeatable events as possible and manifold expressions of the generating idea identified by the designer as a visionary world. This Idea / human creative act renders explicit and realizes an unpredictable, amazing and endless expansion of human creativity. Computers are simply the tools for its storage in memory and execution. This approach opens a new era in design and industrial production: the challenge of a new naturalness of the industrial object as a mirror of Nature. Once more man emulates Nature, as in the act of making Art. This approach suddenly opened the possibility to rediscover possible fields of human creativity that would be unthinkable without computer tools. If these tools, at the beginning of the computer era, seemed to extinguish the human creativity, today, with generative tools, directly operate on codes of Harmony. They become tools that open new fields and enhance our understanding of creativity as an indissoluble synthesis between art and science. After two hundred years of the old industrial era of necessarily cloned objects, the one-of-a-kind object becomes an essential answer to emergent aestethical needs. (Celestino Soddu)

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Generative Art is art or design generated, composed, or constructed through computer software algorithms, or similar mathematical or mechanical autonomous processes. The most common forms of generative art are graphics that visually represent complex processes, music, or language-based compositions like poetry. Other applications include architectural design, models for understanding sciences such as evolution, and artificial intelligence systems (Wikipedia).

Generative software art, as it is usually understood today, is artwork which uses mathematical algorithms to automatically or semi-automatically generate expressions in more conventional artistic forms. For example, a generative program might produce poems, or images, or melodies, or animated visuals. Usually, the objective of such a program is to create different results each time it is executed. And generally, it is hoped that these results have aesthetic merit in their own right, and that they are distinguishable from each other, in interesting ways. Some generative art operates completely autonomously, while some generative artworks also incorporate inputs from a user, or from the environment (Carlo Zanni).

Generative art is a term given to work which stems from concentrating on the processes involved in producing an artwork, usually (although not strictly) automated by the use of a machine or computer, or by using mathematic or pragmatic instructions to define the rules by which such artworks are executed    (Adrian Ward).

System usage is identified initially as a key element in generative art. This leads to the adoption of complexity, order and disorder as efficacious organizing principles in the comparison of several generative systems of art. The trace of definition of generative art is the preference the artist establishes in a system, that can generate a number of possible forms, and better than a single terminated form. The artist’s role is to build, begin or merely select the frame of procedures to generate possible expressions and, for this, the visual aspect may or may not be determining (Vera Sylvia Bighetti).

Generative art describes a strategy for artistic practice, not a style or genre of work. The artist describes a rule-based system external to him/herself that either produces works of art or is itself a work of art. I agree with Philip Galanter that work with generative qualities can be found throughout art history, but I typically use the term to describe computer-based work created from the 1960s to today. I consider much of the work in abstract painting and sculpture done in the 1960s as essential for the understanding of generative art. For the term generative art to have any meaning when applied to a given work, the aspect of generativity must be dominant in the work. Many computer-based art projects have generative elements, but are not concerned with generative systems as an end result. In these days generative art is typically connected with software-based abstractions. I think the popularity of the term is due to an emerging group of younger artists and designers concerning themselves with code as an aesthetic material. This naturally leads to explorations of the ways code affects both the artistic process and the end result, including a materiality of algorithms etc. (Marius Watz)

Generative art is a contested term but for my purposes refers to artwork that is broadly rule-based, a further understanding of which has been informed by the co-curation of touring exhibition Generator (with Spacex Gallery, UK). The exhibition title “generator” describes the person, operating system or things that generates the artwork, sh9ifting attention to the interaction not separation of these productive processes. Significantly, once the rules have been set, the process of production is unsupervised, and appears self-organising, though only if knowledge of other aspects is suspended. As a result, although generative art might appear autonomous and out of control, my argument is that control is exerted through a complex and collaborative interrelation of producer/s, hardware and software. The relations of production within generative artwork are thus seen to be decidedly complex (its operations not open-ended or closed, as complexity theory and dialectics would verify).Like the programmer, the code that lies behind a generative artwork remains relatively hidden and consequently difficult to interpret. (Geoff Cox)

Even Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart developed a “musical game of dice” that contained most of the elements that today are associated with generative tools. The piece carries the explanatory title “Composing waltzes with two dices without knowing music or understanding anything about composing”. Using this historical example, the methodology of generative art can be appropriately described as the rigorous application of predefined principles of action for the intentional exclusion of, or substitution for, individual aesthetical decisions that set in motion the generation of new artistic content out of material provided for that purpose. To describe this method, musicologists introduced the concept of “aleatoric music”. The name is derived from the Latin “aleator” (the dice player), and could not be more appropriate for the above example. In aleatoric music, the principles of chance enter into the composition process. There is no standard artistic position connected with the concept of “generative”, but rather, a method of artistic work, which was and is employed with the most diverse motives. At the same time, it is interesting to observe that this way of working appears not only in connection with a certain genre, but has in fact established itself in nearly every area of artistic practice as music, literature and fine arts. (Tjark Ihmels, Julia Riedel)

Aaron (celebrated art making program) was clearly not a tool in an orthodox sense. It was closer to being a sort of assistant, if the need for an human analogue persist, but not an assistant which could learn what I wanted done by looking at what I did myself, the way any of Rubens’ assistants could see perfectly well for themselves what a Rubens painting was supposed to look like. A computer is not a human being. But it is the case, presumably, that any entity capable of adapting its performance to circumstances which were unpredictable when its performance began exhibits intelligence: whether that entity is human or not. We are living on the crest of a cultural shock-wave of unprecedented proportions, which thrusts e new kind of entity into our world: something less than human, perhaps, but potentially capable of many of the higher intellectual functions we have supposed to be uniquely human. We are in the process of coming to terms with the fact that “intelligence” no longer means, uniquely, “human intelligence”. (Harold Cohen)

Until 100 years ago every musical event was unique: music was ephemeral and unrepeatable, and even classical scoring couldn't guarantee precise duplication. Then came the gramophone record, which captured particular performances and made it possible to hear them identically over and over again. But Koan and other recent experiments like it are the beginning of something new. From now on there are three alternatives: live music, recorded music and generative music. Generative music enjoys some of the benefits of both its ancestors. Like live music, it is always different. Like recorded music, it is free of time-and-place limitations- you can hear it when you want and where you want. And it confers one of the other great advantages of the recorded form: it can be composed empirically. By this I mean that you can hear it as you work it out- it doesn't suffer from the long feedback loop characteristic of scored-and-performed music.
(Brian Eno)


Generative Art - "A form of geometrical abstraction in which a basic element is made to ' generate' other forms by rotation, etc. of the initial form in such a way as to give rise to an intricate design as the new forms touch each other, overlap, recede or advance with complicated variations. A lecture on 'Generative Art Forms' was given at the Queen's University, Belfast Festival in 1972 by the Romanian sculptor Neagu, who also founded a Generatiave Art Group. Generative art was also practised among others by Eduardo McEntyre and Miguel Ángel Vidal [1928- ] in the Argentine." (Harold Osborne)

Generative Art: Process by which a computer creates unique works from fixed parameters defined by the artist. The result can range from an engaging screensaver to a jazz solo to a lush virtual world. The visual application of generative art is newer, however. In the mid-1970s British abstract painter Harold Cohen plugged in his palette and designed AARON, a computer artist that produces original work. Since then, generative techniques have been used to grow artificial life based on genetic algorithms and massively complex virtual worlds that take infinitely longer than seven days to create by hand. But whatever the output, there is always a human behind the high tech curtain. "The computer is actually generating the art in partnership with the artist/programmer, who defines the fields of possibilities," says Holtzman, who has been experimenting with generative music for more than 20 years. "People live with this romantic notion that an artist gets struck with a thunderbolt of inspiration and runs to the piano or canvas and expresses an idea. The reality is that art has a formal underpinning, and computers are a perfect tool because they're perfect for manipulating formal structure." (read more)

Software as material is always liquid, potentially intelligent, interactive and constantly changing. The only way to approach such a medium is as a sum of processes and interactions. Generative art and design describes a process-based practice, where the artist enters into a collaboration with the machine, describing aesthetic qualities in terms of rules and instructions. Random factors are allowed for in order to produce organic behavior. By combining rational/scientific principles with subjective/aesthetic choices, new and unexpected products are created. The results are dynamic forms and processes through which we gain a new understanding of the world around us, as well as a new and dazzling source of aesthetic experience.
(read more).


One might define generative art as art where the main technique of development within a piece or series of pieces is an evolutionary process, like biological or physical evolution, or the evolution of ideas. This might mean that the intent of the work is to make evolution the primary message. Evolution involves a complex process of development with many possible influences. Much of art involves generative processes of development, selection of work for various reasons. These reasons include everything from emotional impact, to beauty, to commercial appeal, to personal fullfillment, to social propaganda, and more.
(Greg Jalbert

People have said to me that if I build a machine that creates music or art, what role do I play in the final product? Who is the artist? The art process that I am involved with is the design and implementation of algorithms. When I was at the International Computer Music Convention in 1993 (Tokyo), a panel of composers declared that algorithmic composition was not a valid form of art because the composer was not in control of the music or sound being generated. They didn’t understand what the art process was. The art process was the composer creating the algorithms that created the music or sound. Creatively designing algorithms, even when there is random input that affects the algorithms output, is a very valid art form. To answer the question: Who is the artist when the final product is unpredictable and beyond the direct control of the artist? My feeling is that the composer or artist who designed the algorithmic system is the composer or artist for all possible outcomes of that system. (John Clavin

First of all, the use of generative methods tends to redefine, in a completely new way, the figure of the author. We said that generative art is based on a process which, "set into motion with some degree of autonomy", produces a completed work of art. In other words, there are two acts of creation, one following the other, and two distinct "authors": the person who choose the system that must be used and writes the program - the instruction set, the algorithm - to be performed; and the person - or the thing - that materially performs the program. The person that we keep, even if with some doubts, considering as the author, only writes the instructions, that are performed - with a margin of interpretation which can be considered relevant - by somebody or something else. The author, therefore, sets into motion a process which develops itself autonomously, and, often, in an unpredictable way, under an amazed gaze. We seem thus to deal not as much with an artist, considered in the way we usually do, but rather with a minor God, who activates a system and then watch it coming to life. (Domenico Quaranta)

Generative art is the production of rules to define a fixed conceptual space as art. A rule-follower (such as a computer) then moves through the space in an arbitrary manner, but not beyond it. Furthermore the method for navigating the space does not change with time. What is presented is simply a single, unchanging conceptual space navigated by naive serendipity. (alex



 














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