The Emergence and Growth of Evolutionary Art 1980-1993

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Lambert, Nicholas ; Latham, William ; Leymarie, Frederic Fol (2013)
  • Publisher: MIT Press

One of the most interesting-if frustrating-aspects of charting the history of computer art is trying to understand the intersections of specific technologies and artistic experimentation. It is rarely as clear-cut as a simple linear influence of one to the other, partly because artists are able to envision all kinds of possibilities that technology might enable them to realize in some kind of form, but as they do so, the technology is itself shaped, especially in terms of how it is perceived by others. Do artists find a way to give technologies an aesthetic outlet, or do some technologies possess-or facilitate-a characteristic aesthetic that finds its expression through specific artists? Certainly, in the history of computer art it would seem that particular aesthetics, technologies, and artists are closely intertwined in certain periods. This intertwining of art, technology, and ideas stolen from the natural world has never been so arguably merged as the period in the history of computer art from 1980 to 1993. We take as the defining start of this period the initial work of Mandelbrot on fractals that became known as the Mandelbrot set and led to his famous illustrated art-science book The Fractal Geometry of Nature. In 1993, this first highly creative period in evolutionary computer art came to an end with major publications by pioneers Karl Sims, Stephen Todd, and William Latham
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