|title:||Projekte generativer Ästhetik. (The projects of generative aesthetics)|
Max Bense and Georg Nees published this booklet under the title computer-grafik in the irregularly appearing series of avant-garde texts rot as the series’ text no. 19 in 1965. The small and slim brochure with its characteristic cover design contains six of Nees’ earliest computer-generated drawings (with short explaining comments by the artist).
Bense’s contribution to rot 19 is a programmatic article entitled projekte generativer ästhetik [the projects of generative aesthetics]. This text may, in retrospect, be regarded as a kind of manifesto of Computer Art. Such a view is justified even though at the time of publication nobody thought of the essay as a manifesto. However, it is a manifesto in the usual double sense of the word: (i) It was published on the occasion of an exceptional, even though small, exhibition computergrafik displaying for the first time ever computer-generated works that Georg Nees had programmed. And (ii), the text lined out in general, but programmatically sharp formulations the essence of what would become the domain of algorithmic art (a word that better identifies “computer art”).
As an aside, it is also interesting that Bense used the term “generative”. He borrowed it from Noam Chomsky’s “generative grammar” in order to announce a revolution in the approach to aesthetics: instead of interpreting the work as a work of art, generate it according to some formal aesthetics!
The original text is in German. It was re-published in English in Cybernetics, Arts and Ideas, edited by Jasia Reichardin 1971. Further, a copy of Bense’s talk for the vernissage was published in 1966 in Wendelin Niedlich’s »Kritisches Jahrbuch 1«.