Forensics of a Molten Crystal

challenges of archiving and representing generative art | full text


This text addresses the questions of erasure, deletion and disappearance in new media art from the aspect of preserving, archiving and representing the emblematic line of generative art practices whose poetic qualities make them museologically problematic within the technological and institutional context of the early 21st century. Contemporary generative art often combines procedural (algorithmic) thinking with bricolage methodology and relies on the infrastructures such as the Internet or the AI systems which are becoming ubiquitous and essential but remain largely elusive, exclusive, opaque and misunderstood.

We explore this interrelatedness by discussing some of the exemplar generative art projects which transcend the expressive and aesthetic limits of code-based art but prove to be difficult to preserve and are relatively underrepresented within the art world. With respect to the existing literature in the area, we show that the material fragility, the cognitive values and the educational potentials of generative art practices all stem from their conceptual, methodological and technical sophistication, pointing to the uncertain cultural status of generative art and to some general yet ambivalent issues of cultural memory, re(cognition) and preservation.

Keywords: Bricolage, Computer Technology, Creative Coding, Digital Art, Digital Culture, Generative Art, Hardware, Information Technology, Software.

Publication: ISSUE Annual Art Journal: Erase. Singapore: LASALLE College of the Arts, 2019, No. 08: 3-15. ISSN: 2315-4802.