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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathAesthetic Paradigms

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of authentically and independently assessing the value of a production. [20]

There exist, as we know, artistic computer programs which possess specific evaluation criteria, and can even develop new values in dependence on the success of the works they produce (as for instance in systems of artificial life or in programs equipped with heuristic methods of altering conceptual areas or capable even of changing their own heuristics). Thus, analysis would be concentrated on intentionality and awareness, i.e. on the question whether computers can really know what they are doing when they evaluate their output. There is no doubt that the program «Aaron» neither is able to think about production quality, nor possesses any real or virtual causal relationship to the external world. However, just as programs are able to apply heuristic, specialized, or general methods and examine and modify their own processing modes, it would not be outlandish to assume that a program of this kind would be capable of producing art.

It is not yet possible to answer all these questions unequivocally, and many other questions have still to


be clearly formulated in the first place. The interest of the debate, however, lies in the placing in question of terms like artist, authorship, originality, work of art, creativity and awareness in relation to the value of creation and its artistic significance, and no less so in the critical examination of cognitive processes which are factors in artistic creation and realization.

Author and recipient

Postmodern thought queries the sense of the notions of author and recipient, yet the interest granted to this subject is neither as contemporary nor as postmodern as its form of presentation usually suggests. The ‹death of the author› announced by the youngest heirs of Hegelian thought may be polemical, but their approach can be understood only if considered in the wider context of twentieth-century research into the function of author and recipient. Especially important in this connection is the Russian literary theorist and philosopher of language Mikhail M. Bakhtin (1895–1975) who, ignored until the 1970s, is now considered to be one of the representative theorists of literature. A keen critic of Formalism, he argues that

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