Generative Art in VC

Posted: January 21st, 2009 | Author: Manuel Lima | Filed under: Uncategorized |

Within the VC database there are only 7 projects that are genuine generative art pieces. To those who are not familiar with the term, and in order to clarify any misunderstanding, Wikipedia describes generative art as “art that has been generated, composed, or constructed in an algorithmic manner through the use of systems defined by computer software algorithms, or similar mathematical, mechanical or randomized autonomous processes”.

There are dozens of other projects in VC that reveal a similar visual output, and share an analogous execution process, however, there’s still a pivotal difference between them. All digital projects featured under Art are always fed by a specific data type (e.g. electrical signals from plants, cellphone traffic migration, rss feeds, images, URLs, or even barcodes). In opposition, these 7 projects are not dependent on any dataset. They were created by a specific algorithm that purely makes different “agents”, or “particles”, move through the screen in a semi-controlled way, leaving behind a rich trail of color and intricacy.

So why include these abstract pieces in VC? Because there’s an undeniable bond between Generative Art and A conceptual bond that embraces various scientific theories, such as Complexity, Chaos, Emergence and Information Theory, and relies on the philosophical notion of Rhizome, developed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari on their groundbreaking book A Thousand Plateaus. Rhizome is a rich philosophical context for a collective mindset on “organized complexity”, which certainly influences many of us. This legitimate fascination is shared amongst many generative artists and is best exemplified in the words of Marius Watz: “I believe that the scientific principle of complexity is a crucial influence on the current scene, providing a departure from a reductionist understanding of the world”.

In order of appearance (left-right, top-down):

3 Comments on “Generative Art in VC”

  1. 1 Sean McDonald said at 6:45 pm on March 21st, 2009:

    Hell yeah you should publish this. These are stunning, if nothing else. But they belong in the mix of other VC projects.

    Generative art will become important to business institutions as social network analysis evolves to the point that extrapolations can be made about existing relationships between people. We will leave that to the machines to do the work.

    Eno says “I try to stress the idea of a drawing that is the result of a collaborative process between me and the machine.”

    Analyzing data to extrapolate data, as it applies to real human relationships, is art as much as science. And it is very specifically a collaborative process between me and the machine.

    Generative art may hold the clue to effectively using that data; the inspiration for computing processes that solve problems social network analysts don’t yet know that we have. (It may not, but my hypothesis is that is does.)

    See you at HATCH Asheville from what I hear…

  2. 2 Haibinnok said at 9:25 pm on June 5th, 2009:

    Very nice collection of information on that question. Thanks to the author. I have been looking for such an article since January! Thank you again!

  3. 3 Isabel Draves said at 12:00 am on September 19th, 2011:

    If you are including generative art in your database, you may wish to add some examples of Scott Draves\’ work and his Flame algorithm (open sourced in 1992 and incorporated into several graphics packages) to your database. See and examples at and

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