The Journal of Science and Technology of the Arts, published by the Portuguese Catholic University in Porto, has just released a special issue with a selected set of extended papers from the xCoAx 2017 conference. The issue includes works by Hanns Holger Rutz, Frieder Nake and Susan Grabowski, Pedro Alves da Veiga, Rodrigo Hernández-Ramírez, Pinelopi Papadimitraki, Luís Eustáquio, and Daniel Temkin, and was guest-edited by Luísa Ribas, André Rangel, Mario Verdicchio, and myself.
It’s open access at artes.ucp.pt/citarj/
I’ll present a paper with Rui Penha at the Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Information.
In this communication, we will argue that artistic creations made by artificial minds will most likely lay beyond our ability to understand them, perhaps even beyond our ability to recognize them at all as artistic creations. We will assume that the emergence of consciousness in artificial minds is possible: the fact that the belief in that hypothesis is not consensual is irrelevant to the argument being proposed. Additionally, we will assume that the artistic creation we are referring to is one made by the artificial mind’s own volition and not the one that—either procedurally, generatively or interactively—is made based on (or directed towards) an anthropocentric view of art.
It is inevitable that we start by facing the problem of the definition of art. A definition that circumvents the ontological question will not be very useful in this context, since a definition such as e.g. the institutional theory of art allows any artefact or proposition to be considered as art solely by being recognised as such by someone acting on behalf of the artworld, not establishing, however, any criteria for such recognition. We will therefore start from the definition of art as embodied meaning, and from its relation with embodied cognition, to show that there is a binding of artistic creation to the subjective experience of existing in a natural and cultural world through a human body that is born with a foretold death.
We will furthermore look at the reasons that justify the difficulty to understand artistic manifestations that are not inscribed in our own cultural matrix or previous experiences. Finally, we will try to demonstrate that the best we can aim at, as human beings standing by an artistic creation by another species, is to an understanding of what could have motivated another human being to create such a work. As such, we shouldn’t be able to understand an artistic creation originating by an artificial mind with a physical experience of the world that differs from our own, even if they have a privileged access to our culture. The boundaries for this incomprehension, that we believe to be inevitable, are therefore those of the human mind.
The proceedings of xCoAx 2017, the fifth conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics, and X, are now available at 2017.xcoax.org. Edited by Luísa Ribas, André Rangel, Mario Verdicchio & Miguel Carvalhais. Designed by Luísa Silva Gomes. ISBN 978-989-746-128-6. 389 pages.
xCoAx 2018 will take place in Madrid. The call for papers, artworks, performances, and doctoral symposium is now open at xcoax.org
At Digicom, I’ll present a paper written with Pedro Cardoso.
Procedural media possess traits that stand them apart from classical media, and lead them to foster a very peculiar set of relationships with their readers. Chief among these is how their procedural layer is discovered through a process of virtuosic interpretation, and how this allows for empathy and for the transference of their core mechanics from the computational system to the reader’s mind. This paper focuses on how this process is developed, and how these media conduce to the dissemination of a type of aesthetic experience that is unique to them, but remarkably similar to cognitive processes that humans develop towards each other.
A short text about LIA’s new work, “Resistance”, has been published at FRAMED*.
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A paper presented at the xCoAx 2017 conference, “On Emptiness (or, On Finishing with a Blank Canvas)”:
Starting from a review of monochromatic art, minimalism, and conceptualism, this paper attempts to understand the significance of these approaches to processor-based arts, looking at a dominant strategy in these works, the deployment of destructive processes. The paper then studies a series of recent works by Austrian software artist Lia, that are closer to the roots of monochromatic painting, suprematism, and constructivism, and are based in a deeply procedural and conceptual approach that we describe as a constructive process.
During this year’s xCoAx conference we presented the Temporary Library of Portuguese Media Art for xCoAx, curated by Alessandro Ludovico and co-curated by Luísa Ribas and myself.
The Temporary Library project relies on the concept of metaphorically breaking the classic boundaries of libraries. It means to bring publications in places where they’re not necessarily known, finally expanding and redefining in a contemporary sense, the public role of libraries. This project is about creating a temporary small library of Portuguese Media Art printed publications, which will be available during the xCoAx International Conference in Lisbon. Publishers and individuals have been asked to donate publications, and a specific space will be dedicated to consult the library. At the end of the conference the Temporary Library will be donated to the Faculty of Fine-Arts, University of Lisbon (FBAUL), and will form a special collection, available to be temporary lent as a whole, under certain conditions.