[ISEA94] Panel: Ken Musgrave – Formal Logic and Self-Expression

Panel Statement

Panel: Algorithms and the Artist

Determinism precludes free will. Artistic expression is perhaps the highest manifestation of free will. Yet artistic expression can be obtained strictly through the digital computer, which operates precisely in the realm of formal logic, which in turn is the epitomy of deterministic reasoning. The creative act of self-expression directly through a computer program places in unique juxtaposition these mutually contradictory philosophical extrema. My own work entails mapping scientific models, based on the formal logic of mathematics, into the formal logic of computer programs, and using these programs to generate images which (I claim) represent artistic self-expression of a spiritual nature. This bizarre new creative process marks, I further claim, a greater discontinuity in the creative process than any other new medium or process in the history of the visual arts. It’s deep and well-developed roots in the formal disciplines of math, science, and logic give it unprecedented conceptual depth.
I propose to present, fortify, and defend these claims in this panel. In the process, I will highlight the serendipitous character of proceduralism in the process, the use of random fractal models
in reproducing the kind of visual complexitytypical of natural scenes, and the ramifications of the computer’s returning representationalism to the ‘open problems’ category in visual art.

  • Ken Musgrave obtained his Ph.D in Computer science from Yale University (USA) in 1993 where his dissertation, “Methods for Realistic Landscape Imaging” was written. He was referred to by Benoît Mandelbrot as being “the first true fractal-based artist”. [source Wikipedia]