Algorithmic Art and Data Creativity

by Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Joerg Blumtritt
Strata + Hadoop World Conference Singapore 2016

When it comes to data visualizations, we usually think of infographics. But besides data as storytelling, journalism, and dashboards, data has grown into a medium for expression for a large spectrum of creative output. Parametric design, algorithmic architecture, and rapid prototyping technologies have redefined the relationship between creator and artist tools.

Contemporary artists are still struggling to find the language for a new contemporary output and practice in the post-Internet genre. The online world is bingeing, but it is also rapidly changing. Artistic expression within the digital arts has brought forward critical examination of technology and its impact on society, such as surveillance and self-determination, and has often collaged quotations of all aspects of media and consumerism, questioning art market concepts like authorship and intellectual property rights, in mediums ranging from video, software, and websites to hardware, kinetic machines, and robotics. In some cases, the next generation of digital artists, responding to their own experiences of the online world, have affected what is being known as a staunchly Web 1.0 aesthetic. At the same time, parametric or generative art is being created from algorithms without direct human intervention.

Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Joerg Blumtritt illustrate current developments with examples of recent bodies of work and discuss possible routes of art driven by data and algorithms.