Talk:Generative art

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March 2012 Improvements[edit]

Hi all. Tonight I reorganized this article in a way that is much more extensible. Now it is very clear where to add examples, where to add methods, and where to add art theory discussion. I only deleted two things. (1) Conway's game of life because it isn't art let alone generative art...however there is cellular automata based art out there...I mention it as a technique...others may want to add specific examples. (2) Anne Wilson does not, so far as I can tell, create generative art at all. The only reference I could find was a single use of the use of the word "generative" in a different context. However, please feel free to make a footnoted entry for her if you can find info otherwise.

Other than this I also improved the initial definition, alphabetized the references, added a few more citations, reworded and rewrote some text that meant well but had to be said better, and added a significant section on generative art theory. I know I cite my own work there, but it really is the most widely cited theory work, and I did try to also reference Boden's paper which takes a different but very useful approach. Any additional theory references would obviously be welcome, but they should cite published work not just speculation shot from the hip.

At this point I'm committed to making incremental improvements on a regular basis. I sure hope others will as well. More citations for unsupported text and more examples of art and artists would be great! — Preceding unsigned comment added by Philip Galanter (talkcontribs) 04:18, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

Philip Galanter (talk) 04:19, 11 March 2012 (UTC)

August 2012 Discussion[edit]

I note that after mentioning the March 2012 improvements on the generative art discussion list a few possibly contentious edits have been made. A few notes in that regard. Of course by design there is no single authority (short of Wikipedia staff) when it comes to wiki entries, but I think the following suggestions are consistent with current practice:

  • If you are removing content please comment in the "Edit summary" why that is appropriate.
  • If you are adding content that makes an assertion please substantiate it with an academic-like citation in what is now labeled as the "Footnotes" section.
  • When adding citations be sure to understand and use the automated function for doing so. See other parts of the wiki article for examples as to how to do this.
  • I see a couple references to Celestino Soddu's writing as well as one for the Matt Pearson book were deleted. I'm tempted to simply add them in again but please comment here as to why that wouldn't be appropriate if you feel strongly about it.
  • I've now looked at a number of other articles with regard to the ordering of sections (is history at the beginning or the end?) and citations (are they notes? Footnotes? Additional reading? etc.) I've found significant variation among articles.
  • Given that, I'd like to reorganize this article to put all such entries into 3 sections: "Footnotes" for parenthetical remarks not wanted in the main text "References" for citations of sources supporting statements in the main text and "Additional Reading" for other related media not tied to any particular statement in the text but very relevant to generative art.

Again, any other ideas or strong disagreements with this?

I'm posting this both here and on the generative art mailing list with the hope that we can anticipate consensus edits rather than sequential edits that battle back and forth.

thanks, Phil — Preceding unsigned comment added by Philip Galanter (talkcontribs) 06:08, 16 August 2012 (UTC)

Talk archive[edit]

I've taken the liberty of rearranging the talk so most recent discussions are at the bottom, as I believe is customary. I've also archived older discussion, although was unsure how much to archive.. There is still some relevant stuff in there, no objections if anyone moves some of it back. Yaxu (talk) 23:17, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

The current sense of the term "generative art"[edit]

Back to this wikipedia article - I've tried to come up with wording that Celestino and his wife might let pass:

"A particular sense of the term "Generative Art" was established in an academic context by Celestino Soddu and Enrica Colabella, in the proceedings of the First International Generative Art conference in 1998, at Politecnico di Milano University, Italy. The proceedings were published in 1999 under the title "Generative Art" by Dedalo in Rome 1999."

But he insists on this version, which claims that they have defined the term, despite all that came before, including that already documented in the article:

"The current sense of the term "Generative Art" was established the first time by Celestino Soddu and Enrica Colabella, in the proceedings of the First International Generative Art conference in 1998, at Politecnico di Milano University, Italy. The proceedings were published in 1999 under the title "Generative Art" by Dedalo in Rome 1999."

To me, this strange assertion renders the section nonsensical. However rather than enter a pointless edit war with the subject, I give up on this paragraph for now -- contributions from a neutral point of view would be much appreciated.

Yaxu (talk) 23:22, 20 August 2012 (UTC)

Live coding and autonomy[edit]

I've added a reference to my own (albeit peer reviewed) work under live coding. I thought it important to clarify a point, which affirms generative art's focus on autonomy and differentiates it from live coding in this respect. Happy for others to find a more appropriate reference for this.. Or to just remove the section on live coding if justified here.

Yaxu (talk) 08:30, 21 August 2012 (UTC)

Tags removed[edit]

There is room for improvement, but this article has much improved lately in my opinion, so I have moved the original research one to the one section which I think it still applies to (which Philip Galanter is collecting references for), and removed the other one completely. If anyone puts the tags back, please be specific about the sections that are in particularly need of attention.

Yaxu (talk) 08:59, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Recent edits by Celestino Soddu impugned by Alex McLean[edit]

In my opinion these edits are in violation of WP:COI (see WP:PSCOI).

As you have said, if there are multiple views established in the literature, we should try to represent them all, not try to arrive at a single point of view. We document and differentiate them all.

However you have just made this edit:

In the current sense, the term "Generative Art" was established the first time 
by Celestino Soddu and Enrica Colabella, in the proceedings of the First 
International Generative Art conference in 1998, at Politecnico di Milano 
University, Italy.

This statement asserts that there is a single current sense, while you have just clearly said that there is not.

I will edit the article accordingly.

Furthermore you say in the edit comment "And it's not true that all people converge in the definition that you have written. Put your definition and other people will write his own definition. GA is open"

This is not my definition, but that of Boden and Edmonds, both highly respected scholars, who I believe have written the only in-depth history of generative art. I do not necessarily agree with the statement, I am just trying to help write an article that reflects the position in the literature.

By the way you have not said in the article what your definition of the term is. I think it would be helpful if you did so.

Yaxu (talk) 18:34, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Conflict of interest[edit]

I have restored the conflict of interest tag to the content contributed by Celestino Soddu. His only contribution to the article is to make baseless claims about himself and his wife, which do not sit with well referenced content in the rest of the section.

This is the only potential conflict of interest violation in my opinion. An anonymous editor with an IP which geocodes near Milan, applied it to the theory section, but I see no problem there, for example Philip has been very open to discussion.

Problems I see are:

  • Celestino keeps removing arguments from Boden and Edmonds, who are well established experts in this field.
  • He persists in claiming to have established the current sense of the term "generative art" without justification
  • He does not actually say what this sense is

I'm finding it extremely difficult to find common ground. He even deletes the word "arguably" from his claims after Philip Galanter introduced it.

Yaxu (talk) 22:01, 22 August 2012 (UTC)

Recent edits by Alex McLean[edit]

First of all, you refer to my wife and not to Enrica Colabella, wellknown researcher in Generative Art. This says to everybody about how works your "critical" position and your person.

I tried to improve the Generative Art page but everything I wrote you always delete it.

This is your integralist, not cultural position. And surely not generative!.

Celestino Soddu

Apologies for getting that fact wrong. Please do continue to improve the page with well reference content, but acknowledge any conflict of interest, and step back where necessary to allow a neutral point of view to be established.

Yaxu (talk) 13:03, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

The article now states that your conference was the first venue for cross-disciplinary research into generative art. You should certainly be proud of this, I don't think anyone would disagree, and I don't think much more needs to be said.

I do not think you claim about establishing the "current sense" of the term is supportable by any reference. You might reasonably argue that Philip's "What is generative art?" paper at your conference established the predominant sense (in 2003 - not 1998), but as it says in the introduction to the paper, this sense was established through community engagement in at least one other venue.

Yaxu (talk) 13:10, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Also regarding integralism - once more, the quote in the article about converging on a shared meaning of the term is not mine. It is the position of Boden and Edmonds, I do not necessarily agree, I am just trying to help write a useful, neutral wikipedia article that reflects the literature on the topic.

Yaxu (talk) 13:23, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

But, Alex-Yaxu, do you have nothing better to do that going ahead with this boring discussion, useless claims and demonstrations of envy? I am in Sardinia (and not in Milan as you suppose, sorry) and I prefer stay on the beach! Celestino — Preceding unsigned comment added by Celestinosoddu (talkcontribs) 19:15, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

I didn't say anything about you being in Milan, but otherwise a fair point. I won't waste my time trying to engage with you any more. Yaxu (talk) 20:43, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

Additional reading[edit]

The article is getting fairly long now, with a good number of references. From a quick look, the entries on the "additional reading" list are on the whole already in the main references list, or are not directly relevant. Should we just delete the additional reading list? Is it worth saving any by referencing them in the text first?

Yaxu (talk) 18:59, 23 August 2012 (UTC)

I think an additional reading section is worth having even if some of it duplicates references. Citations will be used by some to provide additional reading, but their primarily function is to lend authority to a statement in the article. The additional reading list should include items that expand on the topic in a way typical readers of the article are likely to find useful.

I'd say that if something in the additional reading list is also a reference, but it isn't either a "classic" article in the field, an introductory or overview book or article, or an introductory book or overview article on a significant subtopic (e.g. the Algorithmic Beauty of Plants regarding L-systems), then it should probably just be shown as a reference. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:21, 30 August 2012 (UTC)

Righto, I did remove quite a few references that I felt too general/irrelevant.

Yaxu (talk) 15:04, 2 September 2012 (UTC)

Another apparent CoI edit[edit]

I thought we'd finally got to a wording that Celestino and I could agree on, until this edit this afternoon:

This edit goes as far as modifying a direct quote from Margaret Boden and Ernest Edmonds so that it agrees with Celestino's point of view. According to the IP address, the edit was done by someone near Milan, if anyone knows who it was, I hope that they will educate them on academic malpractice.

Yaxu (talk) 20:18, 29 August 2012 (UTC)

In reply to Celestino's message to me on the page, and to his talk page:

I am editing many areas of the page including your edits. This is what happens when you contribute to wikipedia, others try to improve it, in a collaborative spirit. Calling fellow editors arrogant or boring does not help towards this spirit.

As I understood from your recent edits, Philip thinks of generative art in terms of creative processes, and you think of it in terms of creative people authoring processes. It is indeed important to represent this difference of opinion in the introduction, but hundreds of people have considered this point of authorship over decades, so I don't think editing yourself in at this point is reasonable.

You may think of yourself as the founder of the current meaning of generative art, but many others do not, including those writing in peer-reviewed literature. Please do not assert this as unqualified fact in the article.

Happy to engage with you on this again, on the basis of common courtesy.

Best wishes,

Yaxu (talk) 19:11, 6 September 2012 (UTC)

Problems / questions[edit]

I've largely replaced the 'problems of generative art' with the central questions proposed by McCormack et al. I hope this major edit doesn't cause offence - if so we can revert and try a different tack.

There is considerable overlap with what was there already, but I thought it helpful to replace what looks like original research with a peer reviewed journal article. There may be some points from the original that are missing, and Philip may still be collecting references for them, so I've pasted in them below for easy reference. It could be an idea to gradually add other references for the questions, and more questions to the list, to give a broader view. That said, the Leonardo article has quite a few respected authors so the view is already fairly broad.

  • The problem of authorship - With generative art how do traditional views of the artist shift regarding credit, expression, provenance, and so on?
  • The problem of uniqueness - Traditional art artifacts are treasured as unique objects, but when such objects can be produced in quantity does that diminish the value of the art?
  • The problem of autonomy - Since the artist creates the system, and to date all such systems are presumed to be unconscious, can the system be thought of as being autonomous in the same way a human artist is?
  • The problem of authenticity - Given it is in part created by an unemotional and unthinking system, is generative art really art at all?
  • The problem of dynamics - Some have opined that generative art must exhibit to the audience change over time, and that static artifacts made using generative systems outside the view of the audience are something less.
  • The problem of postmodernism - Are generative art systems the ultimate expression of the postmodern condition, or as Galanter[1] suggests do they point to a new synthesis based on a complexity-inspired world-view?
  • The problem of creativity - Can generative art systems be considered creative when they are merely unpredictable and typically lack any self-critical capacity?

Yaxu (talk) 07:52, 24 October 2012 (UTC)


  1. ^ Philip Galanter Complexism and the role of evolutionary art in "The art of artificial evolution : a handbook on evolutionary art and music", Springer

Georg Nees Generative Computergraphik[edit]


The first such exhibition showed the work of Nees in February 1965, which some claim was titled "Generative Computergrafik". While Nees does not himself remember, this was the title of his doctoral thesis published a few years later.

The first exhibition was titled - computer-grafik -.[1] - --Maxim Pouska (talk) 23:02, 22 March 2015 (UTC) typos --Maxim Pouska (talk) 23:04, 22 March 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Georg Ness und Max Bense (Hrsg): „computer-grafik“; edition rot 19; Stuttgart, 1965.

October 2016[edit]

Generative art is alive and well but you wouldn't know it to read this article. I keep trying to put in a link to the #1 generative art forum and archive on the planet ( and the local watchdogs remove it within minutes. The WP:EL #1 & #10 was cited but the WP:EL also offers an exception for "official pages", and that's as official and relevant as it gets.

So wtf people? Surely some references to modern works are in order here. is relevant and modern to the hour. — Preceding unsigned comment added by John alexander greene (talkcontribs) 00:14, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

A Reddit forum is not an official forum for generative art. You need to get consensus prior to inserting it again. -- GB fan 00:27, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
You can also ask for another opinion at Wikipedia:External links/Noticeboard. -- GB fan 00:42, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Ok, so how do I put it up for vote or whatever?

Also, why is this an issue. You'd think that you guys would leap at the opportunity to include a reference that is so relevant and modern. If it became an issue later then yes, by all means, remove it. But until then why not just leave it?

I swear, you people seem to be more interested in quibbling over technicalities than creating useful and relevant articles. Is this some kind of territorial thing? Do I need to bribe somebody?

John alexander greene (talk) 01:04, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

You have made the first step and that is to discuss the edit. Now if you can do that without talking about editors that would help a lot. So far your reasoning hasn't been very convincing. While the reddit forum might be a good resource for people who are doing generative art is it a good reference or external for an encyclopedia? I don't see how it is. It is not peer reviewed, it is the personal opinions thoughts of individual who people who may or may not be experts in generative art. There are several avenues you can use to get other opinions about the link. Like I said above you can ask at Wikipedia:External links/Noticeboard. You can also ask at Wikiproject talk pages that have taken an interest in this article. The two listed at the top of this page are: WikiProject Robotics and WikiProject Visual arts. There have been posts to both of these in the last month or so, someone there might give you another opinion. If none of these pan out you can also ask for a third opinion or try using any of the other dispute resolution processes. The thing you don't want to do is edit war, that is a quick route to being blocked from editing. I know a bribe won't convince me to change my mind, only a good argument as to why this forum should be linked. -- GB fan 11:24, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
  • WP:EL is pretty straighforward, particularly WP:LINKSTOAVOID, item number 10, social media/chat or discussion forums/Usenet. A reddit forum is exactly that, an unsourced and unverified chat room. Under what authority is a reddit forum "official"? Anyone can start a forum. I can start one today on generative art. Does that make it "official"? There's a reason reddit etc. are not acceptable as sources and as external links. They have no real value for an encyclopedia, no different than a facebook page or some random guy's blog. Guidelines are pretty clear and although they are not mandatory per ce the way Wikipedia policies are, changing guidelines do require consensus. That starts here with this discussion and until consensus is reached in favour of adding the reddit link, it should remain outside the article. A word of advice to the original editor: attacking other editors, being belligerent and accusatory, is not the way to gain consensus. We're all volunteers here and have no interest in engaging in a discussion where we are attacked freshacconci talk to me 14:02, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Sorry, reddit is just a forum for to sell anything and to talk - like some art guppe at facebook - not relevant.--Maxim Pouska (talk) 15:12, 26 October 2016 (UTC)
Reddit, like other forums and social media that anyone can edit, is not suitable as a source for Wikipedia articles. Wikipedia isn't either, for the same reason. This isn't a "technicality", it's a matter of reliable evidence. Chiswick Chap (talk) 16:03, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Uncited material - could be useful so here it is[edit]

The following material has remained uncited, and although I've worked on the article I can't see how to cite it (maybe you can do better, in which case feel free to do so, and to add [the usable parts of] it back to the article). It might just be somebody's unciteable opinion, of course. Chiswick Chap (talk) 18:46, 28 November 2017 (UTC)

"Generative art systems can be categorized as being ordered, disordered, or complex. Here complex systems are those that have a mixture of both order and disorder and typically exhibit emergence. Ordered generative art systems can include serial art, data mapping, the use of symmetry and tiling, number sequences and series, proportions such as the golden ratio, and combinatorics. Disordered generative art systems typically exploit some form of randomization, stochastics, or aspects of chaos theory.
While ordered generative art systems are as old as art itself, and disordered generative art systems came to prominence in the 20th century, contemporary generative art practice tends to lean in the direction of complex generative systems. Evolutionary computing approaches have been especially productive as a way to harness and steer complex expressions of aesthetic form and sound at a high level either by interactively choosing and breeding individual results leading to improved hybrids, or by applying automatic selection rules, or both.
Other computational generative systems that move towards complexity include diffusion-limited aggregation, L-systems, neural networks, cellular automata, reaction-diffusion systems, artificial life, and other biologically inspired methods such as swarm behaviour.
While some generative art exists as static artifacts produced by previous unseen processes, it can also be viewed developing in real-time. Typically such works are never displayed the same way twice. For example, graphical programming environments (e.g. Max/Msp, Pure Data or vvvv) as well as classic yet user-friendly programming environments such as Processing or openFrameworks are used to create real-time generative audiovisual artistic expressions in the Demoscene and in VJ-culture."

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Dubious claim about Bach's fugues being generative[edit]

The claim that:

The fugues of J.S. Bach could be considered generative, in that there is a strict underlying process that is followed by the composer.

is, in my view, highly dubious. While process is a major pillar of Bach's work, in particular the fugues, canons, and such, his process is by no means equivalent to the "setting up of system and allowing them to play out" characteristic of the work of, say, later John Cage. Creative decisions are made at every point throughout Bach's compositions. The only case where I can see an argument for generative processes is the working out of sequence passages, but even still these tend to last at most 4 iterations, where the first and last involve creative decisions in entry and exit methods. Indeed, a reading of the cited source provides no real argument for this work being generative in the sense that this article uses the word.

--Andrewjyoon (talk) 19:46, 1 February 2019 (UTC)


Yaxu (talk) 13:41, 3 February 2019 (UTC)