Introduction // Brief History
Imagine an artwork that is created with minimal influence of the human hand, something that flows naturally and follows a given set of rules and paths. This is how generative art works. The artist creates a system of that will decide properties of the artwork, trying to take away some of the control away from the artist. Generative art has been around for quite some time, but it really began to flourish around the late 50’s with the use of new computational technology. However, Generative Art is not just created using software, it is also created through music, traditional, and analog video. For time’s sake, in this essay it will focus on coding aspect of Generative Art.
Some of the early pioneers of Generative Art include artists such as Georg Nees, John Whitney, and Vera Molnar. Georg Nees was one of the first artists to show and exhibition of Generative Art, titled Computer Graphik. These works were created by a computer controlling a milling machine. Later he would incorporate a flatbed plotter to create his work.
"Schotter (gravel)" Georg Nees, 1968
John Whiney, took a more animated approach to creating Generative Art. Using a camera, he be built named the magic machine along with a analog computer Whitney created animated graphics. This work titled “Catalog” was created in 1961 inspiring artists to think of new ways to utilize new technology to create stunning visuals.
One last pioneer to discuss is Vera Molnar, founder of multiple groups researching using computing to create art. Her early works involve Generative Code and a plotter machine. Molnar was an essential key figure in early Generative Code thanks to her research and continuous effort to push the boundaries of creative coding.