When the Machine Made Art (International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics)

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9781623568849: When the Machine Made Art (International Texts in Critical Media Aesthetics)
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Considering how culturally indispensable digital technology is today, it is ironic that computer-generated art was attacked when it burst onto the scene in the early 1960s. In fact, no other twentieth-century art form has elicited such a negative and hostile response. When the Machine Made Art examines the cultural and critical response to computer art, or what we refer to today as digital art. Tracing the heated debates between art and science, the societal anxiety over nascent computer technology, and the myths and philosophies surrounding digital computation, Taylor is able to identify the destabilizing forces that shape and eventually fragment the computer art movement.

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Review:

Taylor's 'troubled history of computer art' is subtle, complex, multi-layered and often paradoxical, so any attempt to summarize or synthesize its content fails to convey the scope and depth of what is covered ... I intend to champion Taylor's book whenever the lament arises about why the art world takes no notice of mathematical art ... I will urge everyone I know who has an interest in using the computer in any significant way in his or her art practice to read Taylor's book for the cautionary lessons it has to offer.
Journal of Mathematics and the Arts

Taylor recovers and reassembles the fractured history of "computer art" from 1963, when the term came into use, until 1989, when "digital art" and "new media" became the preferred terms [...] Taylor's approach is integrative. He reconstructs the history of computer art not by isolating it from its scientific and mathematical nature but by combining that context with the "art and technology" and conceptual art movements of the 1960s. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and researchers/faculty.
CHOICE

How astonishing that the pioneers of computer, digital, algorithmic, programming, and mash-up art are largely unknown at the very moment when the computer, or more specifically its handheld, lap bound, or otherwise omnipresent progeny are transforming virtually every aspect of existence! I read this, fascinated by the continued relevance of the artists (and their disputes) and delighted to know that finally, with this publication, there exists a portrait of an evolving movement that has worked assiduously at the boundaries of the art world for fifty years.

About the Author:

Grant D. Taylor is Associate Professor of Art History at Lebanon Valley College, Pennsylvania, USA. He most recent article, "The Soulless Usurper: The Reception and Criticism of Early Computer-Generated Art", is published in Mainframe Experimentalism, edited by Douglas Kahn and Hannah Higgins.

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