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L'art Génératif. Complements to the book text

Return to summmary. See Index

4.2. Concepts et degrees of generative art

Here a summary of the 40 pages in the book.

Definition : Generative art is characterized mainly by an attitude of the artist : he aims to transfer into his/her works part or the wole of his capacity of generating emotions and, a the limit, his creativity itself.

Note. Fragmentation/Synthesis. See digital.
Chemistry is a powerful example and forerunner of this process. See (among many one, but these 1950's books give a good feeling of it :
< Les méthodes semi-micro dans l'analyse organo-quantitative. by R. Belcher and A.L. Gobert. Dunod 1951. It shows how do measure the proportions of different atomic components (atoms and functional groups).
< Les produits de la synthèse organique. by Jacques Lenoir. Presses Documentaires, Paris 1951. It shows the diversity of applications : pigments, perfumes, medicaments, plastics, explosives, photographic products, solvants, plastifiers, fuels, tannins, auxiliary products for fabrics and rubbers, anti-paratisic fight

4.2.1. Transfer : the author becomes parent

This transfer follows more or less steps on a scale, which we summarize below.

Vera Sylvia Bighetti
Marius Watz
Geoff Cox
Tjark Ihmels et Julia Riedel
Harold Cohen
Antoine Schmitt.

4.2.2. The artists conforms their performance to models

The artists puts make up, disguisement, piercing. They organize their gesture and voice in standards, codes, languages. He transfers also their "natural" creativity to "artefacs". But they remain at the center and the essential part of the works

4.2.3. The artists give form to an external matter

Such is the base of the " fine arts" in the most classical sense.With their hand, dipped in colored mud, they put marks on the cave wall. They model the clay, sculpt marble, cast bronze. The work becomes an object autonomous in space and time, and more formally, in the generative space propre to each kind of art.

Cybernetic tower in Leuwen, by Nicolas Schoeffer.
Edmond Couchot
Jean Cristofol

4.2.4. The artis extend their body with tools. Then the tools grows up to a machine.

We paint with a pipe (chalumeau in French) : pail in the paleolithic cave or by Leonardo, today aeorgraph), or a brush. We cut and etch with silicon then metal. But also we strike the gong, brush the gong, sound the tuba. That is perhaps a secondary point, but nevertheless it is typical of the transfer attitude of generative art.

4.2.5. The artists include the machine into the work

A machine is in itself a form of art, but it does not belong to the "fine arts" domain. It is the work of an engineer, not an artist, even if the border between the two professions are sometimes blurring. The autonomy brought by an external source or energy is used to reach complexity levels which were not afforded by mere tools.

By the way, these energies allow communication between machines and then between works of art.

Machines, agents, automata and robots are an important kind of (software) machines.
Machines of a sufficient high level exhibit a behaviour , and the term "behavioral art" is sometimes used.

That may be extended to the cinematic aspect of robotics :
- autonomous moves (wheels, legs, rotor drones),
- action on the world ("hands").

4.2.6. The artist transfer their perception abilities

The work is fitted with senrosr. Without them, even automated, can only repeat the discourse of its auhor. If it receives, in an autonomous way, information about the external world, it is to integrate them into its own discourse. And the discourse of the artist tends to be no more than a "meta discourse", defining how the work talks about whet it perceives

See perception, cybernetics, vision

Cybernetic tower of Leuwen by Nicolas Schoeffer.
Maggie Boden

4.2.7. The artists transfer their "intelligence"

Without entering in debates about the limits of artificial inelligence, the generative artists don't say "The computer is mainly a tools". They expect it to make emerge new forms of beauty.  

About Deep Blue and Watson machine, see IBM.
About conscience, Kaufmann and other authors, see diccan conscience item.

See creativity, intelligence.
Related to intelligence is the memory, in particular the data base.

4.2.8. The artists transfer their capacity of aesthetic judgment

See note on aesthetics related to digital arts in general.
See note on criterion, critic, commplexity, style

The evaluation loop/ history cycle
- Static, without beginning nor end (clasica)
- Creation (Judaism)
- Creation and Parousia (Christianimsm
- Post mortem (Van Gogh)
- Market
- Immediate audimat
- Tweets, metadata, transmedia. Anti-kantian sacrilege

This transfer to formal, external criteria is directdly opposed to Kant's thought.

Algorithmic aesthetic judgment seem even more shocking in our times of "critic crisis". In the same time, they are more necessary than ever, since the

Des algorithmes de jugement esthétique ? Cela semble d’autant plus choquant en pleine « crise de la critique ». Dans le même temps, leur nécessité s’impose aussi du fait que la production automatique d’ « œuvres d’art » dépasse de plus en plus largement la capacité d’absorption du public (voir les approches du projet Capture). Il est donc indispensable au minimum de faire un tri dans cette production, et si possible de viser une forme d’optimisation.

Capture, see Jean-Pierre Balpe.
Perez y Perez
Perousal Machado
Leonel Moura
Antoine Schmitt.

This transfer can be extended to any kind of judgment (road radars, automatic computation of penalties...)
And, reciprocally, it calls for "rights of the robots" as well as their duties or laws (Asimov like). Substance... in other words complexity

On page 136, we quote errouneously (or too shortly) the four classes of Langton. Actually, these four classes were defined before him by Wolfram. See for instance Think Complexity. Complexity Science and Computational Modeling. by Allen B. Downey. O'Reilly Media 2012.

References, see the Complexity item in diccan.
- Larguier des Bancels. Wikipedia. Harmony : programming the canons Resonance : give meaning How to use the criteria

RAP see Leonel Moura

4.2.9. The artists transfer their autoreproducing capacity

l’idée et la faisabilité de machines auto-reproductrices est formulée dès Von Neumann. Les virus informatiques, quelque quarante ans plus tard, n’ont que trop montré qu’il ne s’agit pas d’une « expérience mentale » ! Ces processus reproductifs sont le thème central des travaux sur la « vie artificielle » et les œuvres artistiques qui en découlent.

4.2.10. Towards the total transfer : humanoid robots,   « designer babies ", and more ?

A la limite, l’artiste transfère à son œuvre la totalité de lui-même, ou d’un autre lui-même correspondant à son idéal esthétique. Il lui donne et le corps et l’âme. C’est le mythe antique de Pygmalion, le problème très actuel du clonage et du « designer baby ».

Est-ce possible ? Ce n’est pas sûr du tout. Est-il moral même de l’essayer ? Nous touchons aux fondements radicaux de la morale et de la religion. L’art génératif n’est-il pas une voie d’exploration, relativement anodine, de ces sommets périlleux. Mais est-il moral, est-il rationnel, est-il « humain » de laisser au hasard des pulsions psychologiques et des cross-over intra-utérins le soin de déterminer ce que sont nos enfants ?

The "designer baby" is one of the possible terms of such an evolution.

L'homme est-il le stade utlime de l'évolution. Pour les humanistes, il n’y a rien sur terre de supérieur à l’homme. Pour les post-humanistes, l’humanité n’est qu’un stade particulier d’une évolution plus large, qui a commencé bien avant elle, et n’a aucune raison de finir avec elle.

C’est dans cette dernière perspective que l’artiste génératif se situe le plus naturellement… s’il a l’âme philosophique, ce qui n’est pas le cas de tous les artistes. Son rôle, alors, c’est de contribuer à l’exploration de ces nouveaux espaces, de ces nouvelles formes de vie, d’agir pour que nos descendants soient partie prenante, constructive et joyeuse de la mutation en cours.

"La vie d'une oeuvre plastique, sa raison d'être réside dans la présence organique de ses facteurs constitutifs" Kupka, la création dans les arts plastiques, 1913