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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathCybernetic Aesthetics
P-159-A (Mohr, Manfred), 1974Polygonzüge (Nake, Frieder), 1965Schotter (Nees, Georg)
Polygonzüge (Nake, Frieder), 1965

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variation. Neo-Constructivism in the fine arts can be viewed as one of the forerunners of the procedural modes that re-emerged in computer-assisted works such as those of Manfred Mohr, A. Michael Noll, Frieder Nake and Georg Nees. While the Constructivists had concentrated on mathematical and geometrical models, the Neo-Constructivists and likewise the exponents of generative art and process aesthetics worked with the visualization of algorithms and statistical methods allowing them to expand their formal aesthetics. In contrast to most Neo-Constructivist works, which for practical and technical reasons were limited to relatively simple structures, computergenerated works attained far more complex forms.

Frieder Nake adopted a programmatic standpoint based on art generated by process-based aesthetic programs. «Polygonzüge» is a good example. In this work and others, the concept of the algorithm [32] takes on special significance for Nake. Works of art made on the basis of generative aesthetics enable the creation of aesthetic situations that are specified in various, albeit limited, steps.


For Georg Nees the computer represents a «generator» of the process of artistic creation; its result is the model of a work of art. According to Nees the core of computer-based work consists in the selection and distribution of signs on a predefined surface or composition. This composition can consist in the statistical distribution of selected elements of a repertoire over the overall surface of the work of art. His computer-graphic image «23-Ecke» of 1964 is a representative example of a generative aesthetics that builds on the principle of stochaistic computer graphics and on aesthetic redundancy.

The concepts of redundancy and complexity are closely linked in cybernetics, and must be evaluated in relation to a reference subject (the observer). This connection is intensified in Nees’ aesthetic, too. The more familiar the models or forms in a repertoire, the more redundant and less complex they are, thus diminishing a work of art’s degree of innovation. Aesthetic information insofar rests not only on the communication of content, but above all on the receiver of the message—on the audience. Like in his

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