Algorithmic art

Algorithmic art, also known as algorithm art, is art, mostly visual art, of which the design is generated by an algorithm Algorithmic artists are sometimes called algorists

Algorithmic art, also known as computer-generated art, is a subset of generative art (generated by an autonomous system) and is related to systems art (influenced by systems theory) Fractal art is an example of algorithmic art

For an image of reasonable size, even the simplest algorithms require too much calculation for manual execution to be practical, and they are thus executed on either a single computer or on a cluster of computers The final output is typically displayed on a computer monitor, printed with a raster-type printer, or drawn using a plotter Variability can be introduced by using pseudo-random numbers There is no consensus as to whether the product of an algorithm that operates on an existing image (or on any input other than pseudo-random numbers) can still be considered computer-generated art, as opposed to computer-assisted art

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Roman Verostko argues that Islamic geometric patterns are constructed using algorithms, as are Italian Renaissance paintings which make use of mathematical techniques, in particular linear perspective and proportion

Some of the earliest known examples of computer-generated algorithmic art were created by Georg Nees, Frieder Nake, A Michael Noll, Manfred Mohr and Vera Molnár in the early 1960s These artworks were executed by a plotter controlled by a computer, and were therefore computer-generated art but not digital art The act of creation lay in writing the program, which specified the sequence of actions to be performed by the plotter Sonia Landy Sheridan established Generative Systems as a program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1970 in response to social change brought about in part by the computer-robot communications revolution Her early work with copier and telematic art focused on the differences between the human hand and the algorithm

Aside from the ongoing work of Roman Verostko and his fellow algorists, the next known examples are fractal artworks created in the mid to late 1980s These are important here because they use a different means of execution Whereas the earliest algorithmic art was “drawn” by a plotter, fractal art simply creates an image in computer memory; it is therefore digital art The native form of a fractal artwork is an image stored on a computer –this is also true of very nearly all equation art and of most recent algorithmic art in general However, in a stricter sense “fractal art” is not considered algorithmic art, because the algorithm is not devised by the artist

From one point of view, for a work of art to be considered algorithmic art, its creation must include a process based on an algorithm devised by the artist Here, an algorithm is simply a detailed recipe for the design and possibly execution of an artwork, which may include computer code, functions, expressions, or other input which ultimately determines the form the art will take This input may be mathematical, computational, or generative in nature Inasmuch as algorithms tend to be deterministic, meaning that their repeated execution would always result in the production of identical artworks, some external factor is usually introduced This can either be a random number generator of some sort, or an external body of data (which can range from recorded heartbeats to frames of a movie) Some artists also work with organically based gestural input which is then modified by an algorithm By this definition, fractals made by a fractal program are not art, as humans are not involved However, defined differently, algorithmic art can be seen to include fractal art, as well as other varieties such as those using genetic algorithms The artist Kerry Mitchell stated in his 1999 Fractal Art Manifesto: