Rhea Myers

Algorithmic Aesthetics

I finished reading “Algorithmic Aesthetics” today. It’s a tantalising glimpse into how entirely procedural, rule-based description, evaluation and/or generation of artworks might function. I’m not convinced that length of input divided by length of output tells us very much about an object’s aesthetic interest, but Gips & Stiny cite more than one historical example of just such an aesthetic measure, and the complexity of execution versus the complexity of effect of a work can be a convincing measure of one dimension of an artwork’s interest.
I think that the examples Gips & Stiny construct deal with style and pattern rather than with higher-order aesthetics. But style is certainly part of aesthetics, and the authors’ separate work on describing specific styles of architecture and design using Shape Grammars shows that their ideas could be effective even with 1970s technology.
The book contains the first reference to “generative” art, well, “generative techniques”, that I’m aware of. Well worth a read if you can find a copy, or you can browse the complete text on the web.