From one point of view, for a work of art to be considered Algorithmic Art its creation must include a process based on an algorithm devised by the artist.
Here, an algorithm is simply a detailed recipe for the design and possibly execution of an artwork, which may include computer code, functions, expressions, or other input which ultimately determines the form the art will take. This input may be mathematical, computational, or generative in nature. Architectural plans, musical scores and dance notations all have in common that all are recipes for carrying out a task; therefore algorithmic procedures for generating artistic forms enjoy a rich and varied tradition (VEROSTKO, 2004).
Even though formal procedural systems for the visual arts played a limited role, compared to notational systems for music, when people like Sol LeWitt started using them a window of fresh-air was opened for modern art. LeWitt began making his artwork series called “Wall Drawings” in 1968, which eventually and until his death, would use instructions (algorithms) for the design of such creations and teams of assistants for the execution of these works. This art pieces refuted the modernist conception of “the medium” as an autonomous entity, foregrounding instead its relational and communicative potential (LOVATT, 2017).
These kind of artworks made with instructions are original detailed procedures for initiating and improvising ideas. Such art generators may be compared to biological genotypes since they contain the code for generating those forms, shapes and structures. Executing the code starts a process analogous to biological epigenesis, which develops different routines that provide access to structures that constitute a new frontier of visual forms for the artist (VEROSTKO, 2004).
The Visual Elements of line, shape, tone, color, pattern, texture and form are the building blocks of composition in art. When we analyse any drawing, painting, sculpture or design, we examine these component parts to see how they combine to create the overall effect of the artwork. In LeWitt’s paintings, made by following a set of formal instructions, his artistic language is designed like a formal language defined by a formal grammar made of rules that use the building blocks of visual communication to create his pieces.
The pictorial language of Geometric Abstraction, based on the use of simple geometric forms placed in non-illusionistic space and combined into non-objective compositions, evolved as the logical conclusion of the Cubist destruction and reformulation of the established conventions of form and space. It’s not coincidence that mathematicians, designers, architects, and artists have used shapes from ancient times to today to build our habitat and environment. Nothing could be more integral to the understanding of both ancient and modern art than the three most simple and frequently used geometric shapes: the square, the circle, and the triangle. (MUNARI, 2016).
That´s why we might find that Algorithmic Art is a perfect recipe for Creativity…
Lovatt, A. “Ideas in Transmission: LeWitt’s Wall Drawings and the Questionof Medium”, Tate Papers, no.14, Autumn 2010.
- Munari, B. (2016) “Square, Circle, Triangle”, Princeton Architectural Press.
- Verostko, R. (2004) “Algorithmic Art. Composing the Score for Visual Art”,Intelligent Agent 4.1 (Winter 2004 issue).
*(Picture: Tile mosaics or "alicatado" in Alhambra an arabic castle in Granada, Spain & assistant working in a mural by Sol LeWitt at NSW Art Gallery, Australia).