The author conducts a simple thought experiment investigating the existence and scope of ‘computational art’: the utilization of the computer in the visual arts and music. In the experiment he sets the task of constructing an artifact that is capable of producing works of art. Since it appears that the artifact needs at least the capability of imagination, he queries the nature of images and imagery and argues that imagination is strongly intentional. Next he introduces the concept of notational systems, since they seem to govern the artistic activity of (not exclusively) machines. Confronted with the question of whether we are able to develop a computational analogue for taste, he finds that notational systems prove to be necessary for mediating the method of production of an artwork and the appraisal of its artistic value. Furthermore, the author shows that there are certain epistemological limits to the creativity of an imaginative device. Although the outcome of this hypothetical construction task clearly denies the possibility of an autonomously creative artifact, there seems to be no reason to worry about the opportunities for computational art: the computer appears to be a unique tool in exploring the possibilities of artistic production, guided by artists.
- Anton Eliëns, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam, NL cs.vu.nl/~eliens