The Computer: a Tool for Thought-Experiments | i |
title: The Computer: a Tool for Thought-Experiments
year: 1987
Bibliographic Entry

Dietrich, Frank 1987. The Computer: a Tool for Thought-Experiments. In: Leonardo. [unknown address]:The MIT Press

‘Trajectories into the future of art are projected by investigating the basic question, How does computer art differ from traditional art? The author proposes that the computer as a symbol-processing machine is capable of simulating mental acts similar to the creative activity that is embodied in a work of traditional art. Therefore, the computer artist becomes empowered not only to craft a particular art object with the computer but also to design an art subject in the form of a digital system that is able autonomously to perform artistic activities and create art objects itself.’

Dietrich describes here the computer as a sign processing machine, which leads to a sifnificant turn from physical to the mental and back. In his view every technology is open for an artist’s experimentation with it.

The article can be read online at the Digital Art Museum, or is available as PDF at

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