A Critique of Surprise in Generative Art

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

View graph of relations

Author(s)

Related Research Unit(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
Journal / PublicationLeonardo Electronic Almanac
Volume22
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2019

Abstract

In contemporary generative art, the aesthetics of surprise has become a central element in both the production and reception of artwork. While sciences that investigate chaotic or emergent phenomena attempt to generate the unexpected in order to explain and manage it, generative art moves in the opposite direction, cultivating surprise as a foundation for aesthetic experience. Understanding that the experience of surprise is influenced by larger cultural and economic factors, however, is essential for a generative artist’s self-reflective, critical practice. This paper foregrounds the importance of surprise in generative art and argues that it mirrors neoliberal capitalism, training us to seek surprise and to find pleasure in its repeated production. This argument runs counter to recent theoretical work that attempts to position  generative art as a methodology beyond history and the influence of ideology.

Research Area(s)

  • Algorithms, capitalism, generative art, history, information theory, modernity, surprise

Citation Format(s)

A Critique of Surprise in Generative Art. / Soderman, Braxton; Howe, Daniel C.

In: Leonardo Electronic Almanac, Vol. 22, No. 4, 15.09.2019.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review