Nottingham Trent University
Registered: Dec 2003
This isn't meant to be as negative as it sounds, and I am partial to a bit of number-crunching myself (it forms the basis of my own art), but those questions got me thinking:
"Can Picasso be quantified?"
Intuitively, I would say 'no':
I'm sure that many kinds of statistical analyses could be performed on Picasso's vast output [quantification already!], but what kind of meaning might be derived from such efforts, and how might this contribute to our perception of his work, i.e. should this information be used as a tool in the apprehension of the artwork, or as something more anecdotal?
This brings us to that familiar problem of the role of the artist's intention in the appreciation of a work of art, for which there are few answers and many questions, the most pertinent being 'how did Picasso intend for us to read his work?', and the most obvious answer (which also applies to most visual art) is simply 'by looking at it'.
Of course, this does not preclude cogitation and analysis, but Picasso - of all artists - used many modes of perception besides the rational; just look at magical power (primal magic, not wizardry) of Les Demoiselles d'Avignon; the emotion in his 'blue period' and in Guernica; and finally the arational and aperspectival angles of his cubist pictures.
"a program that would be capable of mimicking artistic inventiveness":
Well, I've been researching a bit about digital art recently, and these are a couple of the investigations into such programs:
The former abstract painter Harold Cohen has spent the last 30 or so years working on and with AARON, the 'cybernetic artist', and his (Cohen's!) explorations of computers/machines and art touch on some NKS-related issues, e.g. the definition, perception and origin of complexity and creativity.
In a similar effort to understand these relationships, Ed Burton of SODA created things like ROSE (Representation Of Spatial Experience), a program that recreates the drawings of children.
Also of note is the work of Jared Tarbell, who does wonderful algorithmic work using Flash. His stuff should interest any Artistic New-Kind-of-Scientists:
I've strayed a little from Picasso, but if you hadn't noticed, Herbert W. Franke - one of the earliest pioneers of computer art - has contributed to the Mathematica Graphics Gallery:
Did he intend a rational, analytical, quantitive reception of his work by 'exhibiting' in such a context?...
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