Thesis Info

Thesis Title
Language, Memoru and Volition: Toward an Aesthetics of Computer Arts
Maureen A. Nappi
2nd Author
3rd Author
Number of Pages
New York University
Thesis Supervisor
Benjamin Binstock
Supervisor e-mail
Other Supervisor(s)
Judith R. Weissman
Language(s) of Thesis
Department / Discipline
Art & Art Professions, Critical Studies area
Languages Familiar to Author
Spanish, French
URL where full thesis can be found
aesthetics, computer arts, process, language, memory, mnemotechnics, volition, embodied logic
Abstract: 200-500 words
This dissertation, Language, Memory and Volition: Toward an Aesthetics of Computer Arts, constructs an aesthetic framework for computer arts based on the most fundamental operational components of the computer: language, memory and volition. Virtually absent in other artistic media, language, memory and volition are uniquely commingled and embedded in the very processes of our computational means. This dissertation searches for traces and mirrors of cultural discourse to determine how they might be applied to a new or revised critical theory of computer arts. As the primacy of process within the computer is a reflection of how we think we think, the computer as a meta-tool, is an integration of cognitive processes with various skill sets. The praxis and skill sets intrinsic to art making continue aesthetic and historical traditions. Historical sequence, however, is not without its ruptures, ruptures which periodically signal a hermeneutic overhaul and review of our critical and cultural assumptions embedded within the production of our aesthetic theories. Such a rupture is noticed with the employment of computers in contemporary art making. For an increasing number of artists the computer has become the means and/or site for making art. Computer arts describes artworks created through the use of a computer or computer systems, including visual imagery, text or literary works, and music or dance performances, as well as sound and audio installations, whether interactive or not. These works are not restricted to a specific discipline, genre or output medium and do not necessarily require the presence or operation of the computer during the aesthetic experience, as is the case with interactive installations and performances. Computer arts form a praxis in which artists actively engage and appropriate technology and infuse it with their own visions. Computer artists have had to mediate between the economies and ideologies within the dominant art world and the commercial environment of product development and consumer markets. As early as the 1950s, artists started to create art using analog computers, which were later followed by digital systems. Throughout the span of its almost 50-year history, with multiple transformations of system configurations, artists have persisted in utilizing the computer for creative expression. Although there is an acknowledged history of computer arts, no codified aesthetic methods that are applicable to computer arts has been established. Through an investigation of the utility of language, memory, and volition, three selected computer art works are interpretatively analyzed on the basis of the proposed aesthetic framework. They are: ComplexCity by John F. Simon, Jr.; Protrude, Flow by Sachiko Kodama and Minako Takeno; and Illuminated Universal Turing Machine by Roman Verostko.