Renegade X

poetic contingencies in computational art


Poetic contingencies play vital and sometimes decisive roles in artmaking, whether as intentionally introduced conceptual, technical, or aesthetic features or as mistakes whose unforeseen consequences are usually undesired by artists but always epistemically useful for their audience. In this paper, I explore how uncertainty, accident, and imperfection shape and challenge the creative processes, cultural identities, and impacts of contemporary computational art. The introduction outlines the necessities and pitfalls of including randomness, error, generativity, chance, and surprise in computational art. The central discussion interrelates these with other poetic eventualities in six sets of experimental, tactical, and mainstream practices that leverage unpredictability and imperfection on higher ideational levels or take interesting expressive twists due to oversight, blunder, misjudgement, or miscalculation. By placing the computational art’s productive, cognitive, and ethical issues firmly within the context of human nature and existence, they indicate ambiguities in a broader milieu of digital culture, economy, and society. The concluding section traces several aspects in which the intrinsic heuristics of artmaking provides a valuable perspective for studying computational art’s strengths and deficiencies and for articulating the critical discussion of art and creativity in general.

Full text: In M. Carvalhais, M. Verdicchio, L. Ribas, and A Rangel, eds. Proceedings of xCoAx 2023, 11th Conference on Computation, Communication, Aesthetics & X, 201-221. i2ADS Research Institute in Art, Design and Society, Porto.