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Digital Art and Philosophy

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Digital Arts Philosophy flyer.pdf Syllabus: Digital Art and Philosophy

Back to the main Open Thought Space Philosophy page

Please contact m AT melanieswan.com with any comments, resource suggestions, and potential collaborations.


Offered free of charge at the University of the Commons, Tuesdays Feb-Mar 2013 (2/12, 2/19, 2/26, 3/5, 3/12), 6:30-8:30 PM (Sign Up Here!)

Emerald Tablet Gallery, 80 Fresno St, North Beach, San Francisco CA 94133 (between Romolo Pl & Grant Ave)

Class Flyer with Syllabus


UOTC Syllabus: Philosophy, Computing, and the Arts (5 weeks, 2 hour sessions)

Description: This course examines the ways that computing and the arts are coming together in contemporary society in many exciting and innovative ways. We explore the philosophical, sociological, and design perspectives of the computational and digital arts, where computation, data, and information technology may be expression medium, subject matter, conceptual content, or all three. Format: lecture and discussion. Optional: respond to the class material in writing, performance, or digital art work. Objective: become aware of the context and philosophy of contemporary computing and digital arts. Each session considers the topic from three angles: philosophy, aesthetics in computing, and computing in the arts. Course content may draw from the list of works and authors below and is subject to change.



Introduction and Development of the Practice and Philosophy of Computing in the Arts:

Computer Graphics, net.art, Robotic Art 

“An Essay in Aesthetics” – Roger Fry

“The Origin of the Work of Art” - Heidegger

"The Digital Revolution is a Revolution of Random Access" - Grahame Weinbren,

"Current literature in computer graphics and interactive techniques" - GF Schrack, 1980

“The Aristotelian Rainbow: From Philosophy to Computer Graphics” - Jeppe Revall Frisvad, Niels Jørgen Christensen, and Peter Falster

Robotic Art

 “Origin and Development of Robotic Art” - Eduardo Kac, http://www.ekac.org/roboticart.html




Virtual Worlds, Gaming, Performance, Play

"As We May Think" - Vannevar Bush

Aesthetics in Computing: "Computer art for computer people - a syllabus" - Grace Hertlein          

Virtual Art, Virtual Worlds, and Telepresence

“Will the Real Body Please Stand Up?" Sandy Stone

“Bonds of Trust: An in-depth Look at Social Bonding within MMO Guilds” - Chris Taylor

“Image Avatars: Self-Other Encounters in a Mediated World” - Kathy Cleland

Performance, Play, and Gaming

“Reality is Broken” - Jane McGonigal

"Performance is the Thing" - Dzifa Bensonw

“Pervasive Games: Theory and Design” - Markus Montola, Jaakko Stenros, Annika Wærn

“Liminal Acts - A Critical Overview of Contemporary Performance and Theory Review” - Josephine Machon





Innovation in Philosophy, Computing, and the Arts: Processing, Evolutionary, and Synthetic Biological Art

“On the role of scientific thought” - Edsger Dijkstra

“A Philosophy of Computer Art” - Dominic Lopes

“From Stuttering and Stammering to the Diagram” - Simon O'Sullivan (Deleuze and Bacon)

Synergies of New Methods in Big Data Computing, Processing, and Generative and Evolutionary Art

“Processing for Visual Artists: How to Create Expressive Images and Interactive Art” - Andrew S. Glassner

“Creating Algorithmic Art Using Processing” – Robert Greiner, robertgreiner.com/2010/03/creating-algorithmic-art-using-processing

"Getting Started with Processing" Casey Reas and Ben Fry

Data visualization programming languages and tools: Visual.ly, R, and d3.js

Art and Computation in the Biological Sciences: Computational Biology, Synthetic Biology and, Synthetic Aesthetics; Computation and Scientism

Something about computational biology and philosophy

"Aesthetics in Synthesis and Synthetic Biology" - Steven Benner

 One or more of: “Art and the Brain” - Semir Zeki, Science paper re: art and the brain Neurocorrelates, "The Science of Art" - V.S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein

“Recent Developments in Computing and Philosophy” - Anthony F. Beavers




Information Visualization: Data Representation, Insight, Economies of Art – Information, Art, and Semiotics

“Photography Can Be Art” – Man Ray

“Studying Aesthetics in Photographic Images Using a Computational Approach” - Ritendra Datta, Dhiraj Joshi, Jia Li, and James Z. Wang

“Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think” - Stuart Card, Jock Mackinlay, Ben Shneiderman, http://www.cs.umd.edu/hcil/research/visualization.shtml

(Making data into art to provide meaning)




Identity, Fashion, Aesthetics in Electronic Textiles, Wearable Computing, Futurism

“Photography Can Be Art” – Man Ray

Identity, Function, Fashion, Aesthetics, Electronic Textiles, and Wearable Computing

“Electronic Textiles: Wearable Computers, Reactive Fashion, and Soft Computation” – Joanna Berzowska

“The Role of Design in Wearable Computing - Designing Wearables: A Brief Discussion” - Adam Martin, Richard Hurford, Jane McCann, and David Smith,


"A design process for the development of innovative smart clothing that addresses end-user needs from technical, functional, aesthetic and cultural view points" - J McCann

“The LilyPad Arduino: using computational textiles to investigate engagement, aesthetics, and diversity in computer science education” - Leah Buechley


Identity, Self, Future Technology, Transhumanist Art, Body Modification, Expressionism, HackerLabs, and Wearable Electronic Senses

“From Rilke to Stelarc: Cross-Mapping Body Figurations in Early Twentieth-Century German Literature with Early Twenty-First-Century Body Performances” - Markus Hallensleben

“From Spinoza to Tattooing. Embodiment, Ethology and Experiment” - Betti Marenko

“A Sixth Sense for a Wired World” - Quinn Norton, http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mods/news/2006/06/71087?currentPage=all

"What does the future have in store for radical body modification?" - George Dvorsky, http://io9.com/5944883/what-does-the-future-have-in-store-for-radical-body-modification

"Body Hacking: My Magnetic Implant" - Dann Berg


“The Transhumanist Culture” - Natasha Vita-More, http://www.natasha.cc/transhumanistculture.htm





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