Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Art after the Algorithmic Revolution: A Semiotic Approach to Digital Art
Isabella Lomanto
2nd Author
3rd Author
Master of Science (M.Sc.)
Number of Pages
University of Applied Sciences Bremerhaven, Germany
Thesis Supervisor
Prof. Dr. Frieder Nake
Supervisor e-mail
nake AT
Other Supervisor(s)
Prof. Dr. Andrea Sick
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Digital Media
Languages Familiar to Author
Spanish, English, German, Italian
URL where full thesis can be found
digital art, semiotics, aesthetics, algorithmic sign, algorithmic revolution, interactivity
Abstract: 200-500 words
This thesis explores the challenges and changes faced by our culture as a result of the advent of digital technologies. Particularly, the focus is on how artistic practices and aesthetics have been transformed by the algorithmic revolution. The hypothesis, developed and examined throughout this thesis, is that the notion of the algorithmic sign offers crucial insight into the aesthetic and semiotic qualities that characterize digital art. The algorithmic sign is described as the semiotic entity that results from our interaction with computer systems, and as such, the product of a coupled semiosis of human and machine. The idea of a coupled semiosis, or co-semiosis, is introduced to explain how the algorithmic sign has two modes of interpretation —human or true interpretation, and machine or determined interpretation. This double existence of the algorithmic sign is represented, as Frieder Nake maintains, in a visible surface and a computable subface. The distinction between surface and subface, serves as the starting point for discussing how the algorithmic revolution has challenged traditional aesthetic notions, such as medium, image and perception. The main argument is that the notion of the algorithmic sign is fundamental for understanding how the computer and in general digital technologies have become media, especially for artistic creation. Furthermore, this thesis intends to demonstrate that the concept of algorithmic sign best describes the dual ontology of the digital image, and that it reaches its full potential through interactive media. Finally, this theoretical exploration inspired the creation of an interactive installation that addressed the idea that the digital medium is ultimately characterized by its dual existence, by its subface and surface.