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Beauty and art

Pulchrum est quod visum placet (Thomas Aquinate)

This value is particularly important in digital worlds, since the basic needs of "good" are superseded by informational values. Moreover, when the rational computation of L becomes impossible, "making sense" calls for another kinds of references, which conform rather well with what has generally been called "beautiful", from the arisotelician/scolasctican trilogy (integrity, clarity, harmony) to the more modern "original resonance".

Evaluation or beauty, or aesthetical judgment, can be programmed in some measure. A layered model is here useful would it be only to dispel objections about beauty measurement :
- at bottom, rather evident criteria : a white canvas, or a pure white noise on a screen, have a very limited beauty. The same applies to silence or white noise on a loudspeaker.
- when there is a minimum of "substance" in a being, a well distributed use of the available space is a positive criterion, be it for a canvas surface, a gamut of colours or a audio tape pitch range;
- when human beings are the seers or listeners, conformity to eye and ear features, general as well as particular to a given person or group, is a major criterion;
- at a higher level, the meaning value of a work is more important than anything else. Meaning of beings may be evaluated using parsing and pattern recognition algorithms.

In the normal case, all these layers rest one upon another like in the old saying "anima sana in corpore sano". But, in no less important cases, beauty goes with sublime, which, following Schiller is a sort of inversion of values: very little substance (some pencil lines, some solo notes), if perfectly tuned to themselves and to the receiver, may elicit major emotions. Here, we reach a more difficult, but not totally impossible, programming domain.

Finally, for the tenants of "human exception", programming possibilities at lower levels do not prevent to consider as incommunicable the aesthetic judgment of persons.

1. Visum

We must generalize "visum" to "perceptum", since vision is only a kind of perception, and in this context, rather anthropomorphic.
But the reference here is to a process : being is not beautiful per se, but in a process of perception. If beauty may be objectively assigned to a being it must be done through the modelling of a "seer".

2. Pleasure

Generally speaking, what does "pleasure" means for beings in DU ?
- then good for P en L (pleasure makes long life), but also pleasure in growing (H)
- placet opens a way for a hierarchy (Maslow type)

What is pleasure for a mechanical machine :
- runs regularly ("tourne bien")
- regular noise
- good yield
- low wear (?)
- harmony and resonance, assorted sizes, appropriate word length,
- receptivity.

To be transposed to "flow of though"

One could say : a little below "just" (the optimum), there is a want, a desire. A little above, there is pleasure, small excess. When we are farther, or we die by starvation or (indigestion), or we enter a new cycle, a new state.

Beautiful is an anomaly in relation to functional. What is too perfect (too conform to the formal definition), is cold. Besides, to reach perfection has its price. Art for art is dangerous. And it is not normal that everything be too good. There is a standard proportion of shitness. Oil, impurities in steel, etc.

Leisure is the condition of pleasure. Otherwise, we are in the "functional", the necessities of life. When the seer being is totally determined, totally absorbed by survival tasks, he has

No leisure to thing about beauty. That is true for moral beauty as well as physical beauty.


Here, L is mainly a utility function. For the general concept, see L.

Beauty as excess : the right measure is not sufficient.
There is here a contradiction to the "functional beauty" (Dassault), if beauty comes from a total determination of the being by efficiency, when pleasure is a kind of indifference. That contradicts also the connection of beauty to fecundity (another form of functional beauty).

The want :
- here, there should be that thing
- that thing should be in this place, but is lacking, or is placed somewhere else
- the connexion graph has missing or extra links.

At a given instant, a system is "listening", waiting for some thing from the external word, with some expected features (quantity, quality).

Serious differences between expectations and actual receipts cause suffering and sometimes death.

To be listening, the system must in in a "in search" state. Under Windows, that is the role of the modal box. And, in any language, the I/O wait functions.

The system needs inputs, at least because, at some times, it reaches its root, or at least the lowest root level accessible. It could probably push forward down, but for that would need tools of efforts exceeding its abilities.

A regular flow, more or less cyclical, of inputs, ensures a proper operation of the system's parts.

In some way, the need comes from the fact that :
- there are organs done specifically to process the inputs,
- these organs deteriorate if they don’t operate regularly. then they forward signals (boredom, sensorial deprivation) to the centre of S in order to relaunch some activities.

We have experimented with Roxame that some "art critic" is programmable within limits.

That definition supposes a subject able to see (or more generally to feel). That includes the animals (flowers, love parades).
Neurosciences, ethology and applied psychology may help.

At which level does pleasure emerge from sheer necessity ? Feline animals, and superior animals in general manage to survive without investing all their energy ant time in "necessary" activities. It would be more difficult to say that of vegetables.
Pleasure (as well as vision) implies a sufficient processing level to support a sort of "conscience".
See the book of the American woman and her robot. (Breazeel)

Good pleasure is the one with no addictivity (Platon).
Pleasure may be creative : art, and even shopping (as a decisional flow) Microsoft : live, learn,work, shop

ake sense in the grey is not pleasure proper. If not that it reinstate a thought flow.
Pleasure does not bring certainty of sense. but inside limits : hunger or sexual desire, or intellectual curiosity orient the grey
there is the hollow time after pleasure (post coitum animal triste)

Flower, butterfly, sex parade, bonobos
Man can appreciate beauty in nature for different natures :
- directed pleasure, refreshing colour, harmony of landscape
- recognition of beauty criteria (integrity, clarity, harmony) in nature, objective canons
- Kolmogorov complexity ratio, simplicity

Simplicity may be a wrong track. Self recognition demands a minimal structural richness. In order to appreciate the elegance of a proof, we must compare with a commonplace one.

Sex and reproduction create resonance. And demand novelty. Sex being the pleasure "par excellence" for gender animals. The beloved one is in resonance, but lasting relationships demand creativity.

Reproduction of identical : "c'est tout moi". . Parlez moi de moi, y a que ça qui m'intéresse". Then the multiplicators : copy, whichever be the being size.

Generally, a being needs an external world to get pleasure. There a maximum that is a sort of product, in the creation of a work, with extrema using only the I or only the E.

Which beings can feel ?

That the same question as "conscience", and has so scientific answer by the present day. For two reasons at least
- even about another animal or human, we cannot prove that he feels the world like us, that he has a conscience like us; its only by education and body similarities that we infer that; and it is relatively easy to forget that the other man is a brother, and to cut every empathy; (then, if empathy is so controllable, we can develop it with artefacts also?)
- a scientific answer to these questions would be a proof, another machine; we cannot ask to a machine the question of our non-machine nature

Pleasure depth, level

Pleasure around the core, a sort of rotation around, exhilaration of a sort of gravity-less, indifference.
Opposed to the sublime, dramatic aspect, compulsive.
Hence, from this orthogonal purity, re-amplify, re-anecdotize, for a given seen.

3. The classical aesthetical trilogy

Aquinas, isnpired by Aristotle and Plato, sets as the trilogy of beauty : integrity, clarity and harmony.


Integrity expresses the fact that the being has all the matter necessary to implement its form, and all the subforms included in the form type: its totality is not severed of essential parts.
Integrity evaluation may seem rather subjective (reference to an object type general model), but the idea is clear. Very often we perceive immediately the absence of a component.

Very small defaults of integrity (bad contact, wrong branching, genetic error, spine in St Paul flesh) may have material consequences on the operations: stop, possibly breakdown of the machine, disease, death. These sensitive points are interesting to be known, not only for the foes but also for control and command. In other places, small errors do not matter.

Eye and brain compensate largely for small defects, sometimes at the expense or realism (optical illusions, artefacts, cultural blindness...).

Some lack of integrity are artistic effects. See the hierarchical model of beauty. Anyhow "style" is always the choice of a categories of faults. See Leech.

Integrity is efficient because it is longer to describe an object with defects: the defect demands a specific description, added to the "type"; by definition, a defect is a gap relative to a canonic description; if there is no default, we the occurrence by simple apposition of anhaecceity; nevertheless, the occurrence may also have positive features; where is the threshold beyond with, quantitatively, a difference relative to the type becomes interesting, positive (see Leech). Small differences are "meaningless", but the case of critical points (in particular, loss of continuity).

Some defects kill the type itself ; and so more easily if there are many types relatively to a pixel (for instance, numbers represented on a 7 bars display ; then, an error on the medium bar changes from 0 to8 ;
I f the code is minimal (n bits to code 2**n beings), an error on one bit causes falsity on the whole.
Afterwards, some error combinations do not matter : in some cases, if I move a whole line over one bit, the Hamming difference may be enormous, but without changing the meaning.

Truth, as absence of error (or forgery) , is a form of integrity


In representational arts, clarity means the quality of conformity between the work and the reality; or, better, between the work and the authors intentions.
Clarity : complexity isnot hidden by noise, negative or positive (silences), sharpness

Clarity, with absence of obscure parts, avoids negative descriptions, as well as high energy levels to get a description. Clarity may also be seen as a coincidence between the superior and the inferior level (French garden). Obscurity could be taken as "difficult recognition", which can be expressed quantitatively in time or computation power needed. In some way, a concrete being is beautiful when there is harmony between an idea and its material implementation.


A rather simplistic matter of "proportion", ratios, symmetries. Very Greek. See book on architecture
Somehow includs resonance (harmony between the work and the spectator)

Harmony in construction of the beings to combine the "causes"

Harmony affords shorter text,
. because implicit description is possible
. because the relations between parts follow simple ratios, then descriptible with few bits, be the ratio intervene between the different parts of the being, or between the being and the seer ; in other words, there are redundancies in an harmonious being, which appears as the "natural" deployment of a structure. A circle is more harmonious that an torsed line..

Harmony means that the parts of the work, the patterns, the colours, conform to pleasant proportions.
Internal proportions of the being
Proportions to the seer (and the seers proportions).
Proportions to that author capacities.

Semantic harmony internal to the being (e.g. no anachronism) and semantic harmony with the seer (what he wants, desire to see, is able to appreciate).

Harmony, proportions as well internal as relational (the artist and the seer).

We have first structural harmony, then metric harmony (pressure, temperature). Technically speaking, beauty appears at the tuning moment, setting, trimming time. Up then, the system has to work, the concept to be proven. It only then that beauty finds its place, would be only in order to have the system properly running.

4. Resonance

See Uncanny peak


The trilogy is favourable to resonance:
- integrity ensures that there is not too much "friction" preventing the resonance,
- clarity reinforces the correspondence;
- harmony is the correspondence by itself, opening the way to resonance.

Resonance would be a meta-passing or the gap between the work and the seer. The hole is not filled, but communications goes between both sides. A little like AC current through a condenser, and not DC.

Does Resonance between cognitive beings implies to beings, each one having its own clock, and reciprocal read/write relations. Then it needs
- an energy source to maintain it ; this source may be week, is dissipation is weak
- an appropriate "mechanical" device.

Art for art is resonance for itself.

The basic self-resonance is the clock itself, at the heart of any system, allowing recursivity. Any resonance is autotelic. Lyotard (enfants 20). Resonance between humans, without reference to anything else. Lyotard (enfants 19) Consensus.

A simple resonance between the will of create in the artist and the public which wants to recognize him as such. Fans make the star as much as the reverse.

Resonance may be triggered by very small beings. Sublime is a deep resonance (possibly from strong beings, dantesque...)

I can modify myself, control myself to enter into resonance with another S. Or, on the contrary, I can modify the external S so that it resonates with me.

In the Kaufman's integration process, there is perhaps an intermediary phase between an external disturbing being ant the moment when it is so integrated that I no longer sense it. There is the "aesthetic" phase, during which it resonates. Deals on this way the question of functional beauty (Dassault).

Resonance could use metrics, at least using metaphorically the traditional mechanical (spring masses) or electronic models (resistance/capacity, etc).

Then art could be seen as the computation of what will resonate. Exactly as one builds a sound resonator with electronic components.
For a static being (canvas), the work itself is still, and cannot resonate with itself. It is the seer which vibrates. The canvas is a sort of mirror (or think of another component in an electronic resonator).

What vibrates is the image the seer makes itself of the work it looks at.
Within the seeing cycle, the image of the canvas changes more, there is an evolution, something new at each cycle. The canvas is progressively discovered.
If the resonance goes beyond some thresholds
- drunkenness, and even death by sensation excess
- for mystics, ecstasies,

Resonance and heart beat.

Resonance plays not only between two beings, but within a whole set of beings, e.g. all the electronic components in a interference noise. Also the mob, fusional resonance with many.

Resonance may be complex, implying several resonators (piano strings, FFT), or transformation of a simple resonance (basic oscillator, clock) by a strongly structured system (synthe). There can operate several interaction loops between resonating beings ?

But it is not abnormal that a resonance trigger harmonics, if they find favourable conditions within one or several participants to resonate: alleviate oneself perhaps, but rather give oneself appropriate mass and springs, simplify/complexify (acquire culture to "understand"). Augment the signal energy.
The seer, auditor, matters. Without it, the author is in resonance only with the object, may be narcissistic, anecdotic.
If a public enters in resonance that proves that the author (and the work) have reached something universal.
External expression of emotion. See Breazeel. And all the works in computer graphics about behaviour.

5. Originality

Basic needs do not demand originality. That depends on individual psychology (cats/dogs). And, of course, something is original for the being which sees it for the first time.

Relate to generativity/genetics, and also reproducibility [Benjamin].

Originality will come out of the genetics, even it the "parents" are known. But the combination is poor if the generation is, for instance, a simple mix or juxtaposing (cadavre exquis, chimera, basic compositing).

Unpublished is different for a beginner and for an expert, which knows the (whole) existing stock of works. Local/universal-absolute originality.

Resonance implies stability during some (hundreds of ? ) cycles. But, after a time, its erodes and vanishes. Even for humans. But, in some way, humans may create new resonances with the same external beings it they change themselves, augment their richness. At the limit, the mystical person seems to resonate with the nada, because she has powerful resonance aptitudes inside herself. Ascetism is a search for resonances with my body, and as deep as possible (hara, etc.).

Originality will not induce resonance if the semantic distance is too high

Originality introduces an historicicy. A relation order. Any new thing may be different from the others. Possibly not larger. But necessarily so inside a narrowly defined family. But a new artist may be original if he chooses something different (standards sets, neither better nor worse, but different, Michaud, Critères esthétiques et jugement de goût).

Not every resonance is pleasant (Larsen, Parkinson disease, parasitic oscillation in control systems). There must be novelty. Triolet about automats.

At some time, one wants to stabilise. That may be done with frequency assignment (possibly even spectrum or other pertinent parameters) of the resonance.

New bits are (in part) the negation (see the n+1...).
- of nature by reason, formal languages, machinery
- of reason by Art, poetry (vindication of analogy and intuitive thinking modes), non linguistic arts, shout
- of existing by unpublished
- of inertia by recursion
- of individual will of control by market and democracy

For Lyotard, art is also a negation of political speech (avant-garde) by pure freedom. Duchamp is totally autonomous. Free act of Sartre.

That leads us to associate beautiful with structural richness. A being would be more beautiful if its structural riches are high. . The formula is too brutal.
Nevertheless, if we look for originality, we must do something different than all the existing beings, and different in a meaningful way.

To do something else (see Michaud), the artist must know what yet exists
that is true also for the public, the seer must also know that existence
and the mere facts
- of the existence of these anterior works, patrimony, demands to find free places, sufficiently different ; and, after a while, to widen the space with supplementary bits
- that implies, both for the artist and the seer, a cultural level, far from naivety. Brutto, child or insane art have their limits the visit of local painters shows are eloquent .

"Jusqu'au moment où, heureusement, la norme de la mode, de la distinction, du snobisme, la norme comme norme vide prescrivant ce qu'il faut admirer au sein du groupe, nous devient si pensante ou indifférente que le goût doit faire retour, sous une autre forme, éminemment subjective de nouveau - un sentiment qu'il faudra, à son tour, normer. Ce qui ouvre le temps et l'espace d'un nouveau jeu de normes. Un de langage épuisé s'ouvre alors sur d'autres. Ni meilleurs, ni pires. Ni plus avancés, ni moins avancés. Simplement autres. Michaud.

Originality can be detected by automats. Sacem, for instance, has a software to detect plagiarism in music. Web general access lets come a time when the originality of an image can be tested against everything that is on the web... which is nearly all. Such a challenge would be fancy if Google and others were not on the net.

6. Generative power

6.1. Basics

That could be the best definition of beauty : a generative power, triggering at the same time emotion and new beings for and into the seers.

Generation occurs all along the process. But specially at core.

Beautiful plays mainly on low weight bits. In the most vital regions, integrity, clarity or harmony deficiencies are lethal. No place for aesthetics. Beauty can emerge only in a free band where energy is sufficiently low, but for sublimation cases (which probably could be modelled even in high definition).

Beauty as maximization of the functional mass/organic mass ratio. Or as a maximization of a description efficiency.

We constantly go increasing masses. To make a work of art is to increase the generative, evocative power.

6.2. From complexity to generative power

We can define a "generative power", as inverse of the generic complexity. Instead of the minimal text to describe a given bitmap , it would be the maximum bitmap which could be generated from a given text/description. More generally, the heaviest being that can be generated from the being in question.

The most beautiful possible image. Admiration of simple minds for very minute works.

KC of what the message may evoke, or KC of the effect which is searched for from the seer ? If the spectator (possibly Roxame, or an human) is dense, powerful, an external message will have stronger effects (at least if it is considered as meaningful by a not "blasé" seer),
- because Roxame has an open state of mind (she has worked to free herself),
- because, with her dense part, she knows how to process efficiently the bit flow in input, in particular how to reduce it significantly),
- or because she can add "dense" to dens (extend up the construction).

More formally, the strongest effect that may be obtained on a seer (finite automaton) with a message of a given length. What if the automaton is recursive ? It will elicit an infinite output message. But some ulterior seer may analyse the infinite message and make explicit the recursive function.

How to evaluate this maximal effect:
- number of functions called for,
- number of bits changed in E,
- processing time without repetition (importance here of the equivalence notion),
- output richness (output KC).

We can measure
- effects on humans (psychology)
- meaning as words, then quantity of description, depending on the work and on the analysis capacity of the seer. see meaning.

If there were a purely orthogonal core, then we could add as many dimensions as we would like, and give them any kind of meaning, independently of all the others. But we have seen that the core is never purely orthogonal. Then art has to play around, possibly use the idiosyncrasies of the core pattern/format.

7. Style

Style here as a case of originality. Style as a multiplicator. The generation is : subject * style : " un coin de nature vu à travers un tempérament" (Zola).

Can we deal with that as of a parameter, a "stylisation level", let us say between 0 and 100 ?
- 0 : Roxame produces out the original document as such ; a landscape picture, for instance ; totally realist, concrete, objective .
- 100 : Roxame integrates nothing of the original document ; totally abstract, subjective.

But something more multidimensional would be more appropriate.

Style demands some gap, with possibility of choice, and to drift somehow from realism,
- either because the image is not basically utilitarian in respect to this reality ; it is not an identity card photo, an historical record or a geographical map (note that a map is not an air photography),
- or because the image aim implies by itself a transformation.

(Gap is always possible with "sacrifices")

With Roxame : attempt a style quantification on LineTo. I have tried with step/ubris. I should check than on styles other than 0, with 0 ubris, we find back an equivalent of 0 style. Actually, to get a line as straight as possible, there is always some effort.

With Roxame : then a good thing would be to go through a lesser resolution and poorer palette ( Done in 2007 with the image at difgen 100 000). The reduction phase should be managed as smartly as possible, possibly with a meaning conservation/stressing aim. The enrichment must also add something meaningful.

In the traditional plastic arts, these choices (selection enrichment) are defined by
- the available technologies (BW photo, watercolour, pigment set...
- the artist abilities.

Roxame, within its own freedom space, may have an wider determination, and moreover more isotropic.

Roxame: A script, and the random parameters integrated in the process should be the shortest description (then the KC) of an image generated by Roxame. At least during some time, since, soon enough, new operations crush part of the ancient image, or even destroy it completely (blank page). In this case, the script can be cut from all the previous part (unless some data are kept in memory, such as segmentation or classification).

(We have here an interesting case of equivalence on text strings : if a string begins by a blank page instruction (+ desegmentation and declassification) is equivalent to all the strings having anything else before that instruction.)

Classical typology of styles:
- figurative ; photo
- realism : adding non-idealistic features ; the real must not be more "beautiful" than it is ; coarse, vulgar, violent features must be stressed
- hyper-realism : photo with a resolution higher than the retina's, over-presentation or the being as it is or as it should be (reconstructed, in some way), factory models, theoretical design, set of other views, historical data, etc.
- impressionism : sticking not exactly to the real, but to the phenomenon
- symbolism : the graphical being is a pretext for convention and code use and combination, aiming the brain working of the seer.

There is some symmetry relating abstract and concrete ways.


Hyper-realism, for instance, when it paints like they should be, brings into the work the artist's culture, possibly scientific (laws of physics, biology), or experience of the seers reactions to a canvas.

8. Aesthetics as the "final" value reference

"L'esthétique, envisagée comme science des structures, mérite de devenir le guide sûr des actions humaines quelles qu'elles soient... Dans ce cas, la théorie des ensembles serait à l'esthétique un peu ce qu'on été les mathématiques classiques à la physique" (Laborit, Biologie et structure . NRF Gallimard 1968).

Koestler writes "as if". Art is a bridge, similar to religion. One does as if, one paints the ideal, even if it is not actualizable "en vrai").

Aesthetics is final for two reasons
- basic needs are fulfilled (but if world crisis), then from need to desire and pleasure
- L not computable
- from "matter" to formal.
Individually, globally.

The role of art is indeed to "not iterate" (Longo, Maurois, Triolet) when there is some gap to original generation and nothing dictates the way. Art is the generative power for itself.

But how does creation play on the autonomy of a system ? If its appreciated by others, the factor P is linked to pressure and temperature, with a sort of market managed by the general environment, or Google. And competition.

Or possibly a kind of internal geodesic for some kind of beings, with a wear when monotonous.

9.Varia to be edited

Aestetic criteria, the wine tasting example

1. Binary
- objective: good/bad or right/wrong (accordant to meal, daytime, budget...)
- subjective: I like it (or not)

2. Scale
very... a little... passable... horrible

3. Quantitative
- alcoholic degree, cost

4. More lengthy descriptive
- the drinking process
. look (luminosity, hue, viscosity (tears)
. smell (1st and 2d nose)
. drink (with phases, 1st shock, deployment, decay, mouth bottom)
. talk : share advices, tell tales around

Aesthetic Functionalism : what operates well is beautiful. There would be a formal reason, mathematical. It functionalism is effective :
- there is coherence
- there is a formal optimum, or proximity of an optimum, and that must have its consequences on forms.

Besides, we may assume that our brain is naturally structured/patterned in order to recognise xome optima, and to consider them as "good", pleasure, and hence beauty ("placet visum).

Science and art relationships (an immense topic, but with rather few useful artistic consequences).

Developement of products (pigments, linkers, subjectiles, perennity)
Geometrical concepts (perspective)
Arithmetical concepts : random...
Analysis, authentification, attribution.
User/spectator psychology H
History and sociology or art.
Aesthetical theories.
Attitudes and professions. Artistic project vs. Research project.