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Historic Quotes of the Visionary

“I began to work with Programmed and machine-driven visual art in 1952, and I moved from analogue to digital computing, from mechanical plotters to high resolution screens, from black and white to large color palettes, from two to three dimensions and even from still pictures to animation and interactivity because development of technology enabled me to use those methods.”

  • „Technology is usually dismissed as an element hostile to art. I want to try to prove that it is not, that it even opens up unimagined new artistic territory for us.“
  • „Other than very few exceptions […] all mathematical equations that describe physical phenomena have a quality that the mathematicians call continuity […] No artist could more gracefully place […] clusters of lines as that automatically provided by a constant array  of curves through a type of  self-control.“
  • „The electron brains […] give us […] an example for the last summit of the analytic system of thinking, which regards everything real as a special case of everything possible.“
  • „In reality, the creative productivity is now transferred to another level. It is no longer an unconscious dull wanting, but a clear, conscious intention which pushes to the validity. It is no longer left to mood and intuition what character a work takes on, but to a precise, comprehensive knowledge of the laws.“
  • „To the artist […] all possibilities are equally present, and he seeks out the one that shows what appears to him as the incarnation of his individual vision, his style, the regularities adapted to himself.“
  • „One often notices the effort of the creative minds, which have shifted into the new course, to deny the relationship of technology with their own ideas. This happens out of a fear that one could deny them the creative power. In my opinion, it is completely irrelevant which tool an artist uses, a brush, a spray gun or a mathematical calculus.“
  • „It is a field where the difference between creative act and mathematical calculation seems to blur. It is the field of analytical thinking in its ultimate consequence.“
  • „Multi-dimensional structures that are known to be of the highest aesthetics, although they can never be built, nor even imagined.“
  • „But the pictures are also real means of expression of our age of atoms and rockets. They fascinate with a geometric beauty that is cold and sober, but also with the unimaginable forces of the physical processes behind them. One wonders what happens when such an apparatus is coupled with an electronic control automaton. Do we then get synthetic art?“
  • „We are only at the beginning of new graphical methods that will be dominated by automata and machines.“
  • “The robot began to speak: ,,People built the first automatic devices in order to be served by them. Later, they constructed automata that could evolve themselves, which has happened up to the present day. But still our first duty is to serve and protect them. … Our technology was so highly developed that we could fulfill every wish by brain cell stimulation. I believe we thereby paved the way to perfect happiness, perfect peace and perfect security.” The deep ride was over. … They stood in a corridor. Moisture-soaked, tepid broth beat against them, violet billows shone like steam in it … The left side was filled with a network of pipes, wires, reflectors, threads, rods and plastic covers. Within it, at intervals of two meters each, sat pink, fleshy, multiply lobed entities, illuminated by violet lamps, an incalculable array lost in the distance. “The orchid cage,” Al murmured. “Those are the people,” said the robot. “The humans?” asked Al. … “They have evolved”… “What are these threads?” -, “We conduct pleasant ideas with them: peace, contentment, happiness – and other things for which you don’t have words.” – “Don’t they think?” – Why should they think? Happiness comes only through feeling. Everything else is disturbing.
  • „Principles for artificial machines:
    Low manual difficulty
    High productivity
    Rich possibilities of variation
    Possibility of constant control
    Formulaic describability
    Precision, high resolution
    Possibility of reproduction
    Possibility of duplication“
  • „It is noteworthy that the intention to adapt the art-producing process to machines leads to the elaboration of a new system of thought that is valuable and insightful even independently of machine use. In the process, as with many tasks geared toward computer processing, the creative process shifts to the programming phase.“
  • „The design engineer, takes the place of the manually working artist. The effect of the work of art becomes controllable.“
  • „When one acknowledges that the process of making works of art can be formalized, mathematized, and programmed, nothing remains of that mystery that used to be associated with art.“
  • „It is remarkable that cybernetic models that are supposed to simulate creative processes require some kind of non-classical machine, a random generator. Random processes seem to be the cybernetic equivalent of creative processes. Accordingly, random distributions play a major role in the work of art-both in its production and in its consumption.“
  • „To reach a goal is always a loss. One must accept it, try to find oneself again, to integrate oneself into new functional events without being naked and helpless.“
  • „The system does not allow surprise. Surprise is an expression of partial ignorance. Surprise indicates a lack of knowledge, suggests voids. So far, they had not detected any gaps.“
  • “Leave your eyes behind. You will see the invisible. You will feel infinity. You will no longer count hours. No more measuring. There is nothing to consider. There is nothing to decide. There’s nothing left to do. It was a beautiful day today.”
  • „Unlike classical machines that convert energy, the computer processes information. It is a means for the conception of structural order.“
  • „Recent research suggests that the key to art lies in the realm of perceptual and thought phenomena.“
  • „The random generator is the cybernetic model of an organism with intuition.“
  • „One can regard it (the program) as a kind of musical notation – a musical notation, near which the drawing automaton executes its drawing. Just as in music, it becomes clear here that the real value of the work of art is not in the realization, but in the conception: its carrier is the program.“
  • „Random can be planned, disturbance becomes a factor.“
  • „If one sees the special feature of computer graphics in the fact that it is now also possible to carry out not only the execution of the work of art, but also the conception with the help of technical apparatus, then this indeed means a turning point in the history of art. The very use of the new instrument exerts a compulsion to systematize that has hardly ever been common in art before.“
  • „The fact is that a computer has some basic features that traditional artistic tools did not have.“
  • „The visualization of mathematical relationships leads to a new territory of forms, as rich and variable as, for example, the regions of the microcosm opened up by the microscope.“
  • „Even in an entirely unusual form, the mathematical method can be applied—namely, not for scientific, but rather, artistic-design purposes. In this case, it is necessary to examine what forms have a special aesthetic appeal, how to describe them with the help of mathematical formulas, and which mathematical processes can be used  to further process them.“
  • „Art always involves mathematics. Every image can be mathematically described.“
  • „Thus there are fantastic possibilities for art, whereby the artist becomes a creator who, if he wants, changes the basic laws of physics as well as the landscapes and architecture. He creates worlds in which he floats weightlessly, makes himself invisible or walks through walls–and he can take his audience into these worlds.“
  • „In principle, our world could also be cyberspace. But this can neither be proven nor refuted.“
  • „The way I see it, the possibility of bringing forth new things is not limited to the evolution of life or to the brain, but is an ability that is already written into the laws of our universe.“
  • „The idea of a programmed universe suggests the question about an instance which has planned all this and has put it into scene. There is […] nothing to be said against the assumption that a group of programmers is given the task to write a program for a universe which is comparable to ours. The task of the automaton controlling the universe is clear: It is supposed to produce a world that is capable of building complex and actionable structures on its own.