Original Creators: Manfred Mohr
The inevitable question that arises in response to algorithmic based art is the aesthetic value of something where the work is supposedly done primarily by a computer. The artist to some is perceived as absent from such mathematical constraints and rules of logic. It’s as if to give way to an automated system is to deny the potential of artistic expression insofar that these restrictions by their nature can only have specific, predetermined outcomes. Systematizing the process of art-making inhibits expressivity, but as formalistic as algorithms probably are on a superficial level, they are manipulable and can lead to wildly expressive potentialities.
Art that manipulates algorithms within a specific set of parameters to achieve unexpected results, or generative art as it is generally known, has risen to prominence within the past twenty years. Its popularity as an art form has perhaps grown in the last decade as our relationships to the world become increasingly mediated by digital technology and as the algorithms at the heart of those technologies become more omnipresent. Despite this recent popularity, the notion of using algorithms to create art reaches as far back as the 1960s when artists would use plotters (or automated drawing machines) to generate art from written programs processed through the devices.