The role of computers in visual art

Mario Verdicchio

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


The beginnings of computer art can be traced back to the 1960s, when three computer scientists began, almost at the same time and independently from one another, to use their computers to create geometrical designs, among them was Frieder Nake, then working at the University of Stuttgart, Germany. Some of Nake’s works were shown in the gallery “Wendelin Niedlich” in Stuttgart in November 1965, which can be considered as the first contact between an output of a computer system and the Artworld, and the reaction of most art critics was rather dismissive. This work analyzes Nake’s reply to such criticism in the form of three considerations: (a) the novelty of generative procedures by means of pseudorandom numbers; (b) the evolution of authorship thanks to code parametrization; (c) a recognition of the key role of the audience in the creation of artistic experiences. By means of examples from modern art and from contemporary art we will show that (a) and (b) only refer to procedures that are indeed made more efficient by the use of computers, but do not need these devices to exists, whereas (c) seems to shed light on a field that is essentially based on today’s computing technology, namely, interactive art.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHistory and Philosophy of Computing
Subtitle of host publicationThird International Conference, HaPoC 2015, Pisa, Italy, October 8-11, 2015, Revised Selected Papers
EditorsFabio Gadducci, Mirko Tavosanis
PublisherSpringer International Publishing AG
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-3-319-47285-0
Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes
EventHistory and Philosophy of Computing - Pisa, Italy
Duration: 8 Oct 201511 Oct 2015
Conference number: 3

Publication series

NameIFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
ISSN (Print)1868-4238


ConferenceHistory and Philosophy of Computing
Abbreviated titleHaPoC
Internet address


  • Computer Art
  • generative art
  • interactive art


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