Abstract- How Anti-Computer Sentiment Shaped Early Computer Art

Artist physically attacked by protestors! Art works severely censured by art critics! Art curator’s career curtailed by the establishment! What kind of art could elicit such negative, indifferent or fearful response? This paper examines the reception and criticism of computer art - the most maligned art form of the twentieth-century. Locating the destabilising forces that impact and shape early computer art, I will argue that there was a complex interplay of ideological and discursive forces that influence the way computer art has been received by the cultural community. Beyond computer art´s emergence in that precarious zone between 1960’s science and art (a time when the perceived division between the cultures was reaching its apogee), computer art´s marginality was largely a result of the anti-computer response from the artworld orthodoxy. Computerised art was reproached for its perceived mechanical sterility as well as the romantic fear that a computerised surrogate may one day replace the artist. Such usurpation would not only undermine the keystones of Modern art, such as notions of artistic genius, but would endanger art´s primordial mystique. Another major impediment was counter-cultural dystopianism. Influenced by cynical anti-humanist writings, many viewed the computer as a powerful instrument in the subordination of the individual to the emerging technocracy.