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Themesicon: navigation pathGenerative Toolsicon: navigation pathComputer Art

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examination facilitates differentiation, so that comparisons between older and newer works are possible, and on the other, opens up the possibility for a more profound understanding of computer art. Going against the trend of using more and more new ‹categories,› based on different technologies, to classify art movements, I suggest making use of the traditional and comprehensive term ‹computer art› to refer to the use of digital methods in the arts. For this reason, I will proceed in an historical fashion in the first part, and, by means of a loose narration, I will point out connections that have been neglected to date. In the second part, I will examine four works from different time periods that, in my opinion, are especially good examples for illustrating the history of computer art. First of all, in order to be able to focus on and understand the phenomenon of computer art, a setting is required. It is important to note that the following definition contains no requirement for a type or category. Precisely for this reason, I will, however, favour the term computer art over software art because the former implies an historically integrated factor that permits a comparative investigation of


computer art. Using this approach, I will establish connections between the latest phenomena, which have achieved great popularity, for example during transmediale.01, and works from the sixties and seventies—connections which cannot generally be seen by looking at the testimonials and essays on the computer art of the present. [5] For the first time, these connections make it possible, by looking at the artistic use of computers from an historical perspective, to draw closer to an appreciation of its contexts and their importance for and within art as a system. [6] Contrary to conventional practice, I will draw no type distinctions between immersive artificial worlds, which are generated using computers, and ‹software art› programmes. In recent art history, this division has led to a less than fruitful connection between interactive environments and video art, which, as a supposedly logical consequence from the history of film, [7] has prescribed the digital as the medium of the future with a «Gestus des Advents.» [8] By computer art, I understand that artistic activity that would not be possible without computers, and those works that would not have any meaning without the computer.

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