For a while I have been thinking about the following territory. You can imagine a spectrum of art software. At one end is a generic tool like Photoshop that lets artists do more or less anything that they are capable of. At the other end is a purely algorithmic / generative piece where I, the programmer, specify constraints and the work unfolds without further human intervention.
I am interested in neither of these poles but in “sweet spots” somewhere between, where the programmer sets up “art systems” within which the user / viewer has freedom enough to explore and express something of her or his self while the algorithmic constraints still empower, simplify and give an overall genre to the work.
I've also called this principle "Semi-Control" ... the software needs an inner life which moves it by itself, but should still be responsive to the user / player's gestures.
“Art Systems” seems a powerful lens to focus some of my ideas and I see interesting resonances with my theoretical readings. JohnRuskin's Gothic cathedrals are art systems, providing context, opportunity and backdrop for the craftsman's personal flourishes. So is HundertWasser's “WindowRight” of residents to decorate the outsides of their rented homes.
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