Computing and Aesthetics

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Soft Computing: Forms and Limits in Computational Aesthetics by M. Beatrice Fazi/ Versor: Spatial Computing with Conformal Geometric Algebra by Pablo Colapinto/ Two Bitster Disagreement by Karla Villegas/ Branched surfaces and colored patterns by Juan Garcia Escudero/ Retracts And Fixed Points In Theory Of Ordered Sets. Towards Combinatorial Computer Science by Robert Balthasar Lisek
Monday, 19 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:40
Chair Person: 
Chris Rowland
M. Beatrice Fazi
Pablo Colapinto
Karla Villegas
juan escudero
Robert B. Lisek

Soft Computing: Forms and Limits in Computational Aesthetics

by M. Beatrice Fazi

The aim of this presentation is to investigate the possibilities of different kinds of aesthetic organization offered by ‘soft computing’ practices. Through the production and application of fuzzy logic, evolutionary systems and neural networks, this rapidly advancing area within computer science provides us with inexact, indeterminate and generative solutions as novel responses to ‘computationally hard’ problems that cannot be addressed via classical algorithmic structures. The paper will explore the employment of these techniques in software art and, more generally, their conceptual and practical relevance for the field of computational aesthetics. I will then look at notions such as undecidability, uncertainty, randomness and approximation, characterizing them not as opposite but complementary to the procedural, regulative and axiomatic nature of computational logical forms. Contra the common view that takes these ‘soft’ solutions to successfully account for the perceptual, the empirical and the contingent, I will argue that their most interesting theoretical aspect consists instead in indirectly continuing what can be called a ‘rationalist’ project of optimization, compression and synthesis of deductive knowledge. In other words, I see these practices worth investigating exactly in virtue of the fact that they situate themselves within the broader philosophical and cultural debate about the limits of formal reasoning, consequently complicating issues about the constraints of computational images of rationality. In this respect, the paper argues that soft computing can perhaps help us to unfold the indispensable role played by abstract, logical and formal processes in the construction of aesthetic experience. On that basis, I will draw more speculative conclusions by putting forth an approach to computational aesthetics that maintains the possibility of retaining and working with the reality of algorithmic entities. The presentation will then conclude by discussing how such a conceptual position involves viewing the computation’s abstract forms and limits not solely as an expedient means of performing a specific type of reasoning (i.e. deduction) or as a process that stands in contrast to direct experience (i.e. induction), but rather as an ontological reality itself.

Versor: Spatial Computing with Conformal Geometric Algebra

by Pablo Colapinto

This visually stimulating presentation investigates the Euclidean, Spherical, and Hyperbolic transformational capacities of Conformal Geometric Algebra [CGA].  I introduce VERSOR, a CGA-based open source cross-platform computer graphics synthesis library for manipulating immersive 3D environments and activating dynamic animations.  VERSOR aims to advance spatial systems thinking by introducing Geometric Algebra to artists and engineers within an integrated multimedia platform.  A highly expressive and remarkably consistent mathematical grammar for describing closed form solutions within various metric spaces, Geometric Algebra is finding increased application in computer vision and graphics, neural nets, DSP, robotics, astronomy, gauge theory, particle physics, and recently in metamaterials research, among other sciences. Geometric Algebra is a combinatoric system of spatial logic derived from William Clifford's hypercomplex algebras developed in the 1860s.. Introduced into the Geometric Algebra community by physicists Hongbo Li, Alan Rockwood, and David Hestenes in 2001, the particular model implemented here represents a 5-dimensional graded algebra based on Riemannian projection of 3D Euclidean space onto a hypersphere - a higher dimensional mapping which opens the door to a rich set of functions for describing Mobius Transformations typically restricted to the 2D plane.  Integrated with various dynamic solvers, a graphics user interface library and audio synthesis library, VERSOR introduces some novel compositional methods into the CGA research landscape enabling exciting new techniques for the analysis and synthesis of dynamic structures and spaces, such as fluid-like warp fields and spontaneous surface generation.  It provides a path for researchers eager to engage in advanced concepts from fields as diverse as quantum mechanics, bio-surface design, hyperbolic tessellation, form-generation, and worldmaking.  A short introduction to the geometric algebraic system and its provenance is accompanied by explorations into its features and demonstrations of various organic animations. 

Two Bitster Disagreement

by Karla Villegas

Notes from the The Aestethic Machine vs the Technological Imperative

One of the least studied aspects surrounding the debates about AI is the one related to the creative process. It is not until 1994 that light is shed upon this particular issue with the GENESIS (Generation and Exploration of Novel Emergent Structures in Sequences: Derek Partridge and Jon Rowe, University of Exeter) project, which aimed to provide a computer with a “creativity” capacity. It was based on the idea expressed by John Minsky in his book The Society of Mind (1985) that embodied “the representational fluidity for a multiagent system”, in other words, a memory mechanism that showed an increased creative behavior, based on the input data and its output. Nevertheless, twenty years earlier there was already an interdisciplinary project that, facing the question of whether machines were able to think, gave it a turn and added (from an artistic point of view): “if so, are they capable of creativity?” This project was carried out by Manuel Felguérez and the engineer Mayer Sasson between the years of 1973 and 1975 – through a Grant sponsored by the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico and Harvard University – in the Laboratory for Computer Graphics and Spatial Analysis and the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts. This essay discusses how science, art and technology interfaced in Mexico during that period and makes clear how The Aesthetic Machine was a very precise artistic correlate to the topics been debated during that time around technological development, mind studies and cognitive sciences.

Branched surfaces and colored patterns

by Juan Garcia Escudero

Tiling problems have appeared in many branches of mathematics and physics, and during the last few decades there has been much progress in understanding their nature.  In the visual and sound arts, they have potential interest as a system of reference in constrictive preforming for channeling the expressive energies. 

Research on aperiodic tilings has been very intensive in connection with the field of mathematical quasicrystals and recently it has been suggested that aperiodic order already was present in the medieval islamic architecture. A cell complex is defined in the analysis of the cohomology of tiling spaces. It contains a copy of every kind of tile that is allowed, with some edges identified for the 2D case, and the result is a branched surface.  When the tiling does not force the border, collared tiles can be used. In this paper we discuss the use of cohomology for the generation of colored aperiodic tessellations which represent branched manifolds. The prototiles with the same shape, color and orientation appearing in the resulting patterns, represent the same tile in the complex. In the time domain substitution tilings and their appearance in the field of astronomy have been on the basis of several works where time harmonizations and sound synthesis play a central role.

Retracts And Fixed Points In Theory Of Ordered Sets. Towards Combinatorial Computer Science

by Robert Balthasar Lisek

In this brief paper we research systems with respect to their abstract properties as structure and organization. In our approach important significance has theory of ordered sets and fixed points of morphism. We present state of art in this field and some new results based on retracts of posets. We point also the importance of methods to represent, manipulate and measure poset.

Retracts and fixed points have a crucial significance for recursion and computation.Well know is that fixed points are important because they exactly characterize solutions to recursive definitions. It’s convenient to describe functions using recursion, certainly in programming languages, also tempting in semantics. The problem is, are they well defined? Idea is successive approximations. The approximation process yields a fixed point, that give us a solutions to the recursive equations.

We use morphisms for processing posets. In our paper we check out different measures of poset morphisms. We define a new concept: the energy of a morphism. The energy of the morphism of order set is a scale-invariant of morphism: function from morphism to rational numbers. Intuitively, the connection between the complexity of the morphism of an order set and its energy is simple: the more complicated morphism, the higher energy.

This kind of research have many application: for networking (portable knowledge management environments), cybernetic, for AGI and many other novel problem area: appearance of large, combinatorial data objects.