[ISEA2018] Paper: Miguel Carvalhais & Pedro Cardoso — Empathy in the Ergodic Experience of Computational Aesthetics


Keywords: Computational Art, Ergodic Media, Artificial Aesthetics, Narrative, Reading, Virtuosic Interpretation, Interaction, Systems Theory.

Computational artworks develop very particular relationships with their readers. Being able to encode and enact complex and contingent behaviours, a computational artwork exists in a dual state between two layers that are inextricably connected, a computational subface that is often a black box which can only be peeked at through an analogue surface, that mediates but also isolates it. But the procedural layer of the subface can be unearthed through a process of virtuosic interpretation, through which readers are able to develop some empathy with the system and arrive at a theory of the system that ultimately allows the transferring of some of the artwork’s processes to human minds. This paper focuses on how this process is developed and how it is the basis for a unique type of aesthetic experience that leads computational media and art to involve readers in anamorphosis and in a dialectics of aporia and epiphany, that mirrors the superimposition of subface and surface, and from where narrative experiences emerge.

  • Miguel Carvalhais is a designer and musician. He is an assistant professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, researching computational media, interaction design, and creative practices with procedural systems. He is the author of a book on these topics, Artificial Aesthetics. carvalhais.org
  • Pedro Cardoso is a designer. He holds a PhD on Art and Design, a MA on Image Design and a BA on Communication Design. He studies video games in the context of interaction and game design. He is a guest assistant professor at the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, and a post-doc researcher at INESC TEC. pcardoso.tumblr.com

Full text p. 220 – 226