Art, emergence and the computational sublime

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McCormack, J., Dorin, A.: Art, emergence and the computational sublime. In: Dorin, A. (ed.) Second Iteration: Conference on Generative Systems in the Electronic Arts, pp. 67–81. CEMA, Melbourne (2001).



This paper looks at some critical and technical issues of relevance to generative art. In particular, it examines the concept of emergence, looking at its historical origins and salient issues surrounding its classification and meaning for developing generative art. These issues include the hierarchy of levels associated with emergence, recognition and ontology of patterns, prediction and determinism. Each of these are then related to attempts to create emergent phenomena with computers for artistic purposes. Several methodologies for developing emergent generative art are discussed including what is termed in the paper the computational sublime. This definition is considered in relation to historical and contemporary definitions of the sublime and is posited as a way for artists to suggest their work is more than the sum of its parts.

Extended Abstract


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