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What is Generative Art?

In generative art, the act of creating picture structures itself becomes the primary focus, with the physical artwork taking a secondary role. In addition, these artists have created new technological instruments for their work, such as computers, photo cameras, and artificial intelligence. Examining topics that are pertinent to science, such as visualization, perceptual phenomena, or, more broadly, the algorithmizing and evolution of processes, is another characteristic of many generative works. In this sense, generative artists also play a variety of roles in bridging the gap between the arts and sciences.

Oscillogram by Herbert W. Franke (1954)
photo art by Hein Gravenhorst (1966)
generative art by Manfred Gräf (1965)
Computer Art by Kurt Ingerl (~1972)
Still from Evolution of Forms by William Latham (1988)
Generative Art by Edgar Knoop (2008)

Since artists created their own codes in the early days of computer art, they were typically engineers or programmers.  At the time, only few artists with traditional training dared to enter this new technical realm, and when they did, they eventually had to collaborate with programmers. But as digital technologies advanced starting in the 1970s, artists have access to an ever-increasing array of programs for putting their creative ideas into practice. Through the development of interactive applications and multimedia performances, artists laid the groundwork for the emergence of net art and virtual art worlds in the 1990s.

Computer Art by iRyanBell (2022)
AI Art by Pierre Pauze (2023)
Computer Art by Aleksandra Jovanic (2022)

Since the dawn of the twenty-first century, generative artists have also been dependent on blockchain. With its help, they are now able to connect with a sizable audience and have created a novel avenue for distribution beyond the conventional routes of galleries and museums. NFT art led to the rapid emergence of an alternative billion US-dollars crypto art industry in 2023 that was even twice as high 2 years ago. One of the conference’s topics will be: Does this distribution channel own the future? Similarly, the topic of how artificial intelligence’s neural networks will alter the creative process will become increasingly significant for generative art in the future. This AI art raises some questions even more sharply, questions that have already been the focus of contentious discussion among professionals in the field of visual art since long time. But AI art confronts some issues even more pointedly when it comes to openings to technology. They deal with the intricate area of conflict between humans and machines during the creative process of art.