Algorithmic Art

Prada AW12/13

The ‘Algorithm’ was first named by the Persian Mathematician Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khārwizmi for use with calculation and data processing. However, artists have been inspired by the algorithm and have created an art form out of algorithms. The artist can create any shape which they desire when they put the code into the algorithm. It is a mathematical art, however it is not a software art, each piece is completely original as each algorithm is original.

Algorithmic art soon spread across the world and artists including Sam Base, Charles Csuri and Herbert W. Frankie were inspired by this mathematical age of art and created their own pieces of art. Artists are usually referred to as ‘Algorists’ after they formally corresponded and established an identity in 1995 at an event “Art and Algorithms” at SIGGRAPH. The co-founders were Roman Verostko and Jean-Pierre Hébert with Hébert defining the term and the process of Algorithmic Art.

Within all art forms there is distinct characteristics which define the pieces of art. The Algorists make clear that a work can only be considered algorithmic if it includes a process based on an algorithm devised by the artist, and not from already existing computer memory software, therefore elements of mathematics are important. Artists such as Mikael Vidtfeldt Christensen is a famous Algorist, he used the software Structure Synth to create his piece ‘Octopod’ which has formed an optical illusion effect on first look.


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Written by Felicity Jones

Felicity Jones, studying Literature at Portsmouth University, with a passion for all things art and fashion, writer/reader/ editor/ artist/ dedicated shopper. Felicity looks after the Catwalk Yourself Art Dictionary.

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