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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathCybernetic Aesthetics

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of repertoires on various levels of information, and for further concepts leading to evaluation norms. For Birkhoff, the quantity of information indicates the complexity of a message. Complexity, as a quantifiable value, constitutes in relation to the message one of the objective quantities of perception. The greater the degree of order relationships in a work of art, the smaller is its aesthetic value; the latter increases in proportion to the complexity of the representation. In this way, complexity is considered to determine the degree of innovation and aesthetic value contained in an item of artistic information.

Information aesthetics

The philosopher Max Bense expanded Birkhoff’s model to include new findings from the fields of information theory, semiotics, and philosophy. [5] A close connection to the scientifically technical terminology of cybernetics is immediately discernible in the concepts he used. He defined the measure of order as ‹redundancy› and material expenditure as ‹entropy,› both scientific terms frequently used by


Norbert Wiener likewise. [6] As Bense stated, art—and modern art especially—can no longer be grasped along classical lines with terms like proportion, symmetry or harmony, which stress contrasts and reject standards. Aesthetic process and physical world tend in opposite directions, and are different in principle: the world of physics is existent, that of aesthetics is constructed. Bense was convinced that a theory was lacking which could objectively evaluate this field and offer a ‹programming of the beautiful.› His theory took the shape of an attempt to systematize basic aesthetic principles. The information aesthetics first proposed in a lecture on «Modern Aesthetics» at the Stuttgart Technological University in 1957, and subsequently at the «Aesthetica III,» was based on the statistical analysis of art objects and consigns the subject—the recipient—to the background by substituting the usage of adequate rules in the aesthetic evaluation. Bense would later use the term «generative aesthetics,» which was to be understood as «the compound of all operations, rules and theorems through whose application to a quantity of material elements able to function as signs can deliberately and methodically generate in the latter

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