A Critique of AlgoArt

by moodyharsh 2016-07-31
algoart TL;DR

I reject Abstractions as Art.
Art is Emotional.

AlgoArt like Jed’s Other Poem (Beautiful Ground) which is handcoded by the Artist onto the Machine,
should be preferred over that which is automatically generated by Algorithms.

What is Art ?

One of the curses of the modern world, thanks to Post Modernism is demeaning of the word Art.
Any rubbish can be Art. Andy Warhol and Van Gogh are equal in Post Modernism. Any rubbish can be Art.

Most definitions of Art, treat the Art Object as a thing-in-itself. An alternate definition is necessary to make the Artist equally important.

I Art is an Object that is artificially Produced by Artist[s]
II The Object and the Artist[s] share an Emotion, a thing-in-itself.
III When consumed through a medium, the thing-in-itself is experienced by the consumer.

Art is Emotional.
Emotion is a continuous Feeling.
Emotions are Finite.
Emotions are fluid.

Abstraction is an Understanding.
Abstractions are Infinite.
Abstractions are fixed.

For example, why is tying a shoe-lace not an Art ?
There are creative choices for the type of shoe, lace or holes.

Creativity is just a process. Not the End.
It is possible to be creative in Pointless activities like Jewellery Making and Fashion.

The correct word for Abstract Artists is Artisans.

The difference is very subtle,

  • Photography vs Expressionist Painters
  • Action Heroes vs Method actors
  • Street Dancing vs Miming

Programming is a Craft with the exception of Games.
The greatest tragedy ever faced by a Programmer is a coffee stain.
Just as Post Modernists elevate Kitsch to Art, Programmers elevate sloppy practices to a Sublime Art and call it Hacking.

Programming is not art,
Programmers are not artists,
Pedants make shit groupies.

If you are just a programmer you will not realize this,
because you have trained yourself to post in terms of up-votes,
in a community maintained by pedants,
optimized for SEO to be forgotten by tomorrow.

When I first started looking at Algorithmic Art, I was very excited. Can code produce music ? Can code make art ?

All music has two parts - sound-engine + arrangement. It seems the algorave community is essentially using random numbers for
sound-engine and arrangement and calling it art. How can that give you anything but an ear-ache ? The word algorithm implies efficiency, so how can music be “efficient” ?

Programmers are living in a big bubble. Dirupting this, disrupting that. Just cheap products with
instant virality and half-assed quality. Algoraving is a part of this bubble. I thought it was a question of maturity of the tooling but it is programmers themselves.

You can listen to Algorave tracks on youtube.

What are they trying to convey ?
Emotion or Probability ?

  • Unemotional
  • Dull
  • Dry
  • Probabilistic
  • Going nowhere
  • Monotonic
  • Boring

tl;dr Nothing.

Alteast John Cage was being a bit DaDa.


AlgoArt can be divided into

  1. MachineArt

This is perfectly acceptable as Machines are tools in the
hands of Artists.


MS Paint

  1. AutoArt

Art made automatically out of some mechanical Algorithms.

AutoArt fails I and II, hence it is rejected as Art.
There is no Machine Unlearning for A.I, yet.
To pass I, a program needs to cry when its brushes are taken away.

Never the less AutoArt can pass of as Art just as how DJs pass of as musicians.




Creativity is just the first part of Art, the other part is a motif.

A photograph of a toothbrush could be made to mean
the monotonicity of Modern Life,
with enough deconstruction jargon.

Was there an Artist that felt it ?
Are Random Numbers sentient enough to make music ?