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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathCybernetic Aesthetics

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received by the short-term memory with a dwelling time of maximum two hours, only a small part (some 0.05 bit/sec.) reaches the long-term memory, to which a capacity between 105 and 108 bits is attributed. Over associations, the consciousness can retrieve data from the short- and long-term memory. Seen in these terms, every type of information, including the aesthetic and emotional, is subject to certain physiological processes that determine how they are received. A surplus of information can rouse irritation, a deficit can lead to a monotonous impression. The information conveyed by a work of art must insofar hold a quantitative balance of information, and the same time not offer wholly redundant information types (principle of exception and information). If this standard is attained, the recipient has the pleasant feeling of having perceived something new and creative.

Taking information theory as his starting point, Frank proposed an expansion of the communication process, saying that aesthetic information is not solely dependent on one-way communication (transmitter—receiver— message) but must allow the subject to go beyond his receiver existence, and in


the context of the work of art behave also as a transmitter. In this respect, it is not at all a matter of «automatic» communication in the sense of an unconscious reflex. For Frank, creativity consists in the deliberate conception of communicative signs and precisely not in the usage of real signs. Aesthetic creation and reception can insofar be measured by their degree of automation: the higher the degree of automation, the lower their aesthetic value. In this sense, Frank’s notions on redundancy and complexity scarcely differ from those of cybernetics. Yet, at the same time they make it obvious that his position was opposed to the cybernetic view of artistic processes that focuses on indetermination, aleatorics, or randomization—basically automated processes. The notions of art as a process, as well as the recipient’s dual function as transmitter and receiver, were to be elaborated by other theorists and cybernetic artists.

Participative and generative aesthetics

In the early phase of computer art the work produced referred to methods of order and to syntactic analyses of parameters like repetition, combination and

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