From Fingers to Digits: An Artificial Aesthetic

From Fingers to Digits: An Artificial Aesthetic

by Margaret A. Boden, Ernest A. Edmonds


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Essays on computer art and its relation to more traditional art, by a pioneering practitioner and a philosopher of artificial intelligence.

In From Fingers to Digits, a practicing artist and a philosopher examine computer art and how it has been both accepted and rejected by the mainstream art world. In a series of essays, Margaret Boden, a philosopher and expert in artificial intelligence, and Ernest Edmonds, a pioneering and internationally recognized computer artist, grapple with key questions about the aesthetics of computer art. Other modern technologies—photography and film—have been accepted by critics as ways of doing art. Does the use of computers compromise computer art's aesthetic credentials in ways that the use of cameras does not?Is writing a computer program equivalent to painting with a brush?

Essays by Boden identify types of computer art, describe the study of creativity in AI, and explore links between computer art and traditional views in philosophical aesthetics. Essays by Edmonds offer a practitioner's perspective, considering, among other things, how the experience of creating computer art compares to that of traditional art making. Finally, the book presents interviews in which contemporary computer artists offer a wide range of comments on the issues raised in Boden's and Edmonds's essays.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780262039628
Publisher: MIT Press
Publication date: 07/02/2019
Series: Leonardo
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 7.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.94(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Margaret A. Boden is Research Professor of Cognitive Science at the University of Sussex. She is the author of Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man, expanded second edition (MIT Press), AI: Its Nature and Future, The Creative Mind, and other books. She was the 2018 recipient of the ACM-AAAI Allen Newell Award for contributions to the philosophy of cognitive science.

Ernest Edmonds is an artist who has pioneered the use of computers and computational ideas in his art. He has exhibited in the US, UK, Australia, Russia, China, and many other countries. He is the author of The Art of Interaction: What HCI Can Learn from Interactive Art, and other books. He was awarded the 2017 ACM SIGGRAPH Distinguished Artist Award for Lifetime Achievement in Digital Art.

Table of Contents

Series Foreword ix


1 Introduction 3


2 A Taxonomy of Computer Art 23

3 Explaining the Ineffable 61

4 Art Appreciation and Creative Skills 91

5 Can Evolutionary Art Provide Radical Novelty? 107

6 Collingwood, Emotion, and Computer Art 127

7 The Gothic and Computer Art 155


8 Computer Art and the Art World 183

9 Formal Ways of Making Art: Code as an Answer to a Dream 197

10 Programming as Art 209

11 Diversities of Interaction 223

12 Correspondences: Uniting Image and Sound 241

13 Diversities of Engagement 251


14 Conversations with Computer Artists 265

Aaron Marcus 271

Harold Cohen 282

Manfred Mohr 292

Paul Brown 301

Roman Verostko 309

Julie Freeman 321

Alex May 330

Kate Sicchio 336

Andrew Brown 343

Mark Fell 348

Alex McLean 356

Index 365

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Oscillating between practical and philosophical,From Fingers to Digitsarticulates the key issues in the production and reception of computer art. Boden and Edmonds revitalize the discussion of creative computing, and in doing so, provide new insights on the computer arts and the notion of creativity.”

Eduardo Kac, artist and poet; author ofTelepresence and Bio ArtandPotax:Poetry Anthology; editor ofSigns of LifeandMedia Poetry: An International Anthology

From Fingers to Digits provides a wealth of information for those interested in all aspects of digital art. Edmonds and Boden'swell-researched and documented book covers topics such as the taxonomy of computer art, programming as art, generative art, interaction in art, art appreciation, and creativity. In combination with interviews of pioneers Paul Brown, Harold Cohen, Manfred Mohr, and Roman Verostko,From Fingers to Digitsis both thought provoking and an excellent stepping-off point for further research. Highly recommended!”

Bruce Wands, Chair Emeritus of MFA Computer Arts, School of Visual Arts, New York; author ofArt of the Digital AgeandDigital Creativity

“Boden and Edmonds's FromFingers to Digitsis required reading for all of us interested in the arts and sciences of the twenty-first century. It offers deep insights into the making of computer arts and the psychological processes of the human mind and creativity, and compares this to traditional art making—I was entranced and enlightened. The interviews with many pioneers of the field of MediaArtHistoriesmake it a must read.”

Oliver Grau, Professor, Danube University; editor of MediaArtHistoriesandImagery in the 21stCentury

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