Re: [-empyre-] making a meta-living / a-life & generative art

the artworks I have seen, as an observer of this discussion, appeal to me as
having only an allusive relationship to aesthetic categories. They may
inspire an aesthetic experience - I find the work beautiful - but it is by
allusion. Because the Britart thing's popped up here, I might say, that
however decentered the artist, that work communicates and those artists
communicate in a divergent way to what I've seen here of a-life art. Mauro
Anunziato's emphasis on 'social context' I find interesting in this regard.
He seems to imply an intentionality and the possibility that something is
being communicated - by whom?

Part of the current discussion has centred on the problem of authorship and
copyright. Art is being made here that warrants appreciation but is the
instigator, the first mover, of the self-organising principle to be
appreciated? Ownership of communication points to receiver of communication.

The Britart - or art-as-game - strategy of communication stands at some
distance from the positivist but - on the face of it and on the evidence of
work - allusive conceptual work in a-life. Artists of the latter, from this
discussion, ask for pure aesthetic appreciation without taking on board that
their work is radically post-humanist (and post-social - in the humanist
sense) - however humanist their assumptions.

simon taylor

----- Original Message -----
From: "Marius Watz" <>
To: "soft_skinned_space" <>
Sent: Sunday, November 21, 2004 12:33 PM
Subject: Re: [-empyre-] making a meta-living / a-life & generative art

> mitchell,
> >I also wonder if there's a new fetish emerging here, in the form of
> >"code"...  the discourse around this work emphasises code as process /
> >tool etc... all fine I suppose... but it has a whiff of idealism (as in
> >Plato) which I'm not so sure about, and it can also act as a barrier to
> >critical engagement, by alienating those who aren't "code" inclined.
> >A-life techniques can do the same, but at least there is often a
> >metphorical level which does give some traction for critique. That said I
> >love a lot of the work...
> The importance of code in recent generative art (and its applied twin,
> compuational design) is definitively ideological. The goal behind projects
> like Processing etc is to teach a new type of software literacy, i.e.
> artists should be ablt to both read (== use) and write (== program)
> software. The aesthetic typical of this kind of work is concerned with
> complexity but rarely in a "pure" form. As for alienating, I've found that
> audiences are currently interested in the mechanisms of software and hence
> appreciate the level of code. This might of course be a matter of fashion
> and might not be true tomorrow. On any level I don't think fetishization
> code is a good thing, since it tends towards a fascination with novelty
> wizardry.
> You mention Casey Reas, his Microimage piece
> ( is
> clearly related to AL techniques. If one was to speak of quality in this
> kind of art, I admire Casey's work because he balances the artistic
> harnessing an algorithm to create interesting images with retaining a
> purity of process. A lot of the artists in this field either create
> interesting images by over-controlling the algorithm or interesting
> algorithms without too clear visual success. Of course, you can replace
> "visual" in this context with aural / kinetic / what have you.
> An interesting article by Lev Manovich attempts a critique of generative
> work by viewing it as an aesthetics of complexity:
> It seems as close
> to the mark as most attempts I've seen.
> Marius Watz - Amoeba / Unlekker
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum

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