Abstract- Christoph Kluetsch

The roots and influences of information aesthetics in Germany, Canada, US, Brazil and Japan

Early digital computer graphics started in the first half of the 1960’s. One of the most important places for what was called ‘generative aesthetic’ was Stuttgart, Germany, with Max Bense as the theoretical head of the Stuttgart School. His information aesthetics laid the groundwork for a variety of graphical, sculptural and poetical experiments with computers. Though the theoretical framework and the art works by Bense scholars has been recently investigated, in further pursuing the topic of information aesthetics I would like to focus on the international connections of the Stuttgart School to Brazil and Japan, as well as its influence into North America.
While information aesthetics was embedded in many art movements of the 20th Century including New Tendencies, concrete art, conceptual art, cybernetic art, constructivism, Bauhaus, and other areas of design, the genuine methodological connections between these different art movements still have to be spelled out. Therefore it is of most interest to follow some paths of similarity and connection. By comparing the artist lists from exhibitions such as Cybernetic Serendipity 1968, New Tendencies 1969, the Computer and Automation contests 1963-1969, a survey by the Kunst Magazin 1970, the activities of the Computer Art Society in London with PAGE, and the networking activities of Canadian, Leslie Mezei, we get a wide picture of the simultaneous, international up rise of the beginnings of computer art, and just how interwoven they were. This is at the same time a counter example of the multiple, undifferentiated timelines for computer art.
Taking into consideration the discussion about the Two Cultures, we see a network activity, which is very untypical of artistic processes, and can be seen as a prototype of art and science networking at the same time. Of course, this network can be found and traced in the places of publication - usually in scientific journals. It can be shown, that the character of thse activities is due to the nature of information aesthetics.
For my presentation I would like to draw a map of the information aesthetics in the 1960’s clarifying their artistic, geographical, philosophical and personal connections, and in closing give a few short examples of the influence into algorithmic art groups and more recent theories like Lev Manovich or the programming environment processing (developed at MIT).