rot 19. Computer-Grafik | i |
title: rot 19. Computer-Grafik
year: 1965
Bibliographic Entry

Bense, Max & Nees, Georg 1965. rot 19. Computer-Grafik. Stuttgart:Max Bense, Elisabeth Walther

This little booklet of 14 pages is one of the first publications ever on computer art. It appeared at the occasion of the first exhibition of computer-generated algorithmic art world-wide: the famous show of a small set of graphic works by Georg Nees. The show was opened on February 4, 1965, and lasted until February 19, 1965, on the premises of the Studiengalerie of TH Stuttgart (now University of Stuttgart). The Studiengalerie was part of the Institut für Philosophie und Wissenschaftstheorie.

The texts of the booklet are written in German. It contains two short contributions by Georg Nees (2 pages) and Max Bense (3 pages) plus six images of Nees’ earliest works.

Both texts are important from a historic perspective. Nees gives a brief account of the essentials of early algorithmic art, including five descriptions of programs in plain natural language. These descriptions are precise (but not formal) formulations of the algorithms, and as such they constitute perfect documentations, independent of any programming language, operating system, run-time support, or hardware. This was possible because of the simplicity of the algorithmic schemata used.

Bense’s text, entitled Projekte generativer Ästhetik (projects of generative aesthetics), may be considered as an early manifesto of computer art. It introduces the notion of Generative Aesthetics, in direct reference to Chomsky’s term Generative Grammar. It is formulated in Bense’s typical apodictic and rigorous prose, often not easy to grasp. But it points to a development that started to blossom and gained recognition only during the first decade of the 21st century: the exciting movement of generative art, design, architecture, music, poetry, and more such “generative” genres.

The special issue of Studio International, published by Jasia Reichardt, for the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition in London, 1968, contains an English translation of Bense’s text. It has since then often been re-published.

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