Significance of research in Digital aesthetics

computer art

No Comments

Share this post

Why do we study lives?

The study of a life does not simply tell the facts and anecdotes of a person. Biographical inquiry (Denzin, 1989) seeks to understand the meanings of the events that form someone’s life. The biographical study researcher seeks to find truthful facts and turning points in the life of the subject, and interprets them in a narrative form.

Turning life points are called epiphanies (Denzin, 1989) and in the case of Aldo Giorgini, the development of the software FIELDS was an epiphany that turned the direction of his life, and the origin of Giorgini’s contribution to computer graphics and the digital arts.

The materials at the Giorgini residence in Lafayette, Indiana hold an untold life story. After his death in 1994, his son Massimiliano Adelmo Giorgini has taken care of his father’s state, and presently lives in the house where Aldo Giorgini lived and worked as an artist. Massimiliano has kept the artist’s studio practically untouched. At a first glance to Giorgini’s studio in the basement of 734 Berkley road, it would seem that he would still be alive. The amount of files, folders and artwork lying around look like there was still, an artist working on a big project. However, a closer look to the materials shows signs of wear and humidity. Unfortunately, the personal papers and art of Aldo Giorgini are at risk of disappearing and with them the story of how, an Italian-born artist and scientist pioneered in digital aesthetics. What methods did he use?

Giorgini worked extensively developing algorithms for graphics, but also theorized about the meanings of a computer aided practice. In 1975, FIELDS marks the beginning of Giorgini as a digital artist and it is the main focus of this study.

Why is important to find new meanings?

Through the study of Giorgini’s life and papers, this study will find meanings of a technology-based art practice. In Heidegger’s text “The question concerning technology” (1954), he explains that the meaning of technology is concealed and that it can’t be defined only as a mere ‘tool’. Heidegger explains the meaning of technology is found in four aspects: causa materialis (the material), causa formulis (the form), causa finalis (the end) and causa efficiens (the effect). According to him, they all belong to each other and effect each other. A simplistic definition of Giorgini’s work would only explore his work in the dimension of “use of technology as a tool”, that is, using computers instead of brushes and canvases. As Heidegger explains, this is truth, but only partial. This study will seek the meanings of Giorgini’s use of technology and how, he redefined the use of the ‘tool’ to create different results (causa efficiens) than those that technology intended for (causa finalis).

New media theorists attempt to explain the meaning of new technologies and criticize their impact in our society. This study will inspect Giorgini’s work and texts under the light of new media theory, to unveil the concealed meanings in Giorgini’s digital aesthetics.

In 1967, Giorgini became a professor in the Civil Engineering department at Purdue University. During this period, Giorgini worked at a lab equipped with the latest scientific visualization technologies developing algorithms to produce terrain simulations. The visual output of the computer code inspired Giorgini to pursue computer aided art. Making art using computer languages was an unusual practice and Giorgini was one of the first artists to develop his own software to produce art. This relationship between instruction and form will also addressed in this study.

How & what to preserve?

One of the main purposes of this study is to provide the guidelines for the preservation of Giorgini’s documents and artifacts. The conservation of digital art poses a challenge to traditional archival methods, and new vocabularies need to be implemented for a successful preservation. This study will lay out possible frameworks for the preservation of software art, namely, the documents concerned with the production and execution of the software FIELDS, its physical outputs, computer aided art and related materials. The resulting data from this study will be readily for it’s cataloguing in archival records, and will provide the frameworks for further conservation of these materials.

0 Responses to this post
Add your comment