Insights

Philharmonic: Generative Art Enablers

29 March 2022

Generative Art operates right at the cutting-edge of today’s art world, providing artists with a new canvas to create beautiful, beguiling works using technology. 

Philharmonic has the knowledge to support these artists with the software and hardware that is needed to allow them to reach their audience, wherever they are. 

The technology used to create and support this relatively new form of art needs experience and skill to install, providing the platform for the artist to express themselves. In truth, great artists have always had help creating their masterpieces. Michelangelo needed a specialist to help him build the scaffolding to the reach the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Technical assistance has always been at the heart of some of the world’s most innovative, cutting-edge artworks and this is still true today, with Philharmonic fulling the role of a ‘technical artisan’ assisting the artists in reaching their goal and realising their vision. 

What exactly is Generative Art? Basically, it is a piece of art that relies entirely or partly on use of an ‘autonomous’ system, a non-human aspect, often a specially created algorithm, that helps to generate and change what the artist wants the viewer to experience. As well as algorithms, Generative Art can also make use of chemistry, biology, mechanics, robotics, smart materials, manual randomisation, mathematics and data mapping to generate the work.

Despite being extremely cutting-edge, like most art forms, its origins are older than you might think. Automated computer graphics from as far back as the early 1960s can be argued to form the roots of today’s work. One early pioneer was Georg Nees who showed his work in exhibitions as early as 1965. Other early exponents include Vera Molnár, widely considered to be a pioneer of Generative Art, and one of the first women to use computers in art. The movement continued to develop to the point where the first Generative Art conference took place in Milan in 1998.

Some examples of artists working today in this genre include Manolo Gamboa Naon, an Argentinian artist who harnesses algorithmic tools including processing to create art. Another artist, Anders Hoff through projects such as ‘Inconvergent’, explores the behaviour and evolution that emerges from systems with simple rules.

Today, it is widely accepted that Generative Art’s most defining features include change or dynamic development and motion. As more established forms of art such as painting and sculpture or static installation, cannot deliver these aspects, it is technology that needs to step in and provide the canvas for these innovators to use. Whilst the artist sets the rules, it is the defining feature of Generative Art that the technology makes at least some of the decisions. 

Each project involves at its conception some form of software. That software then needs a place to live, mostly usually specially designed hard-drives or computers. Then the work needs to be viewed, most usually on high-performance screens. These are the basics, but the needs for every work of art vary hugely. The type and size of screens required, the nature of the hard-drives to gain the correct performance from the software and protect intellectual property of the art, are all factors to be considered. The artist will then have a particular vision of exactly how the art will look; the brightness, speed of operation, colour contrasts, the colour pallet in general and any audio involved, all need to be perfect. 

Providing the basic hardware is just the start, generative artists call on the skills of Philharmonic to not just set up their art, but to fine tune it to be just as they intended. This will give the purchaser something they have never seen before that will be a living, breathing, ever changing entity for many years to come.One recent example involves this project where an art collector wanted to show off a recent acquisition from art collective TeamLab provided by Pace Galleries in New York.

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