Rul Gunzenhäuser | i |
last name: Gunzenhäuser
first name: Rul
birthday: September 4, 1933
death date: February 14, 2018
died in: Stuttgart (Germany)

Rul Gunzenhäuser studied mathematics, physics, and philosophy at the Stuttgart Institute of Technology (now: University of Stuttgart) and University of Tübingen. After his state examination for high-school teaching, he finished his doctoral studies in 1962 with the degree of a Dr.phil. His thesis advisor was Max Bense (philosophy). He worked as a “scientific assistant” at the Computing Center of the Stuttgart Institute of Technology, as associate professor at the State University of New York, and as a professor of Applied Mathematics and Didactics at the College of Education, Esslingen (Germany).

His dissertation established a connection between Birkhoff’s “Aesthetic Measure” and the “Information Aesthetics” developed by Max Bense, Abraham A. Moles, and Helmar Frank. Information Aesthetics was based on Shannon’s information theory and, thus, on the concept of the work of art as an arrangement of elements chosen from a discrete repertoire of “signs” whose probability distribution was needed across the work (in space or/and time).

Birkhoff’s idea was essentially that the aesthetic measure depends on measures of order and complexity. He actually defined the measure of aesthetics in a given work as the quotient M = O / C , where M is the measure of aesthetics, O that of order, and C that of complexity. Gunzenhäuser’s contribution was to take redundancy (according to Shannon) as O, and statistical information as C. Whereas Birkhoff was taking a macro-aesthetic perspective, that of Gunzenhäuser was micro-aesthetics.


1962 Gunzenhäuser’s dissertation has the title Ästhetisches Maß und ästhetische Information. Einführung in die Theorie G. D. Birkhoffs und die Redundanztheorie ästhetischer Prozesse [Aesthetic Measure and Aesthetic Information. Introduction to the theory of G. D. Birkhoff and the redundancy theory of aesthetic processes], which was published in 1962 by Verlag Schnelle (Quickborn near Hamburg).
1965 Gunzenhäuser presents his theory at the Recklinghausen Conference on “Kunst und Kybernetik”.
1973 – 1999 He is Professor and Director of the Institute of “Dialogsysteme” [Human-Computer Interactive Systems] at the Department of Computer Science, University of Stuttgart, Germany.
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