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Themesicon: navigation pathAesthetics of the Digitalicon: navigation pathCybernetic Aesthetics

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If the artist becomes a programmer, if aesthetic values are determined by operational systems, and if the work is produced on the basis of defined creative methods, then according to Moles the aesthetician has a new function. «He compiles the elements of the program for the repertoire of the machine, he defines the hierarchy of the levels which are to be incorporated. The relevant organigrams make it clear that every machine for analyses can also be employed as a machine for syntheses, i.e. as a source of works of art. Even if not in the strict sense the author of these works, since the author vanishes behind his work, the aesthetician is at least the manager and person accountable.» [22] In the framework of information aesthetics the aesthetician can thus place himself on the same level as artists about whom previously he was merely able to write.

Moles’ theory is very probably the most comprehensible, thorough and revealing of those concerned with the application of cybernetics and information theory to computer-assisted art and aesthetics. Particularly significant and farsighted are


his analyses of the concepts of simulacrum and translation, his models of ‹creative machines,› as well as his reflection upon the consequences of aesthetic change in regard to the notions of artist, work of art, and recipient. It will later be demonstrated that several theories formulated by Moles in the 1950s and 1960s would be confirmed as the twentieth century drew to a close.

Cybernetic aesthetics

During the 1960s and 1970s, the theoretical reflection as well as the artistic practice were further developed by several followers of Max Bense and Abraham A. Moles. Herbert W. Franke and Bense’s pupils Siegfried Maser and Helmar Frank carried forward the research in the field of information aesthetics, whereby Maser crossed over to a «Numeric Aesthetics» (Stuttgart, 1970), while Frank deliberated upon the psychological aspect of information aesthetics. [23] Helmar Frank and Herbert W. Franke attempted to produce a synthesis of the approaches of Bense and Moles. Both of them viewed Moles’ work on the relationship between perceptual research and information theory as being

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