Nouveau Logic

There is an area of intersection between design, art and technology that has been consistently growing and spreading around the world. It cannot be easily labelled as a mere aesthetic or a short lived trend as yet, since it has survived, permeated and perhaps silently evolved in our midst.

 How new is Generative art and algorithmic forms

"Generative Art" is often used to refer to computer generated artwork that is algorithmically determined. But generative art can also be made using systems of chemistry, biology, mechanics and robotics, smart materials, manual randomization, mathematics, data mapping and more.

It could be a paradigm born to a pair of seemingly opposing forces; accessibility to computing and the drive to rediscover and respect nature and natural systems. What is interesting about this emerging style is that it challenges modernist ideas of aesthetics while cleverly maneuvering from being classified as mere ornamentation.

This is a style that could have born and died within the screen and the digital realm. However it is important to remember that in history there have been many instances in which fringe ideas permeate into the mainstream, due to its intrinsic nature that allows it to be translated to different expressions.


De Stilj could have been a short lived art movement, however it influences our aesthetics and visual language immensely till date. Similarly the styles from generative art has escaped the two dimensional surface and moved effortlessly into the third dimension, and in this specific case, fueled by the advent of 3d printing technology.

It is a scalable style that has been adopted by a spectrum of creators from etsy craftsmen to architectural studios. However this style is not spared of criticism. This method of making and visualizing is often realised at two different levels; either as superficial visual mimicry or through a systematic study of natural mechanisms.  


The former method pulls this practice closer to a larger system of thought known as Biomimmicry. where the design and material is inspired and modeled by actual biological processes and observations.

Since generative art is a fascinating futuristic visual style, it has also been misappropriated at a visceral level under the guise of being 'green' and sustainable. It is comforting to know that there are rigorous research labs invested in this particular area of study, and that it could have major impacts on sustainable practices in the future.  It is arguable that generative art is an idea that has always visited culture from time to time and that there is nothing 'Nouveau' about it. 

The fact that we are constantly re-visting this paradigm, with updated reflections of the tools and concerns of the time, is a tell tale sign that it cannot be discounted as a superficial trend.
Perhaps it is a transforming meme, one that appears in mainstream culture in different avatars, as a reminder and expression of our proximity and distance from nature itself. 

For this week's blog post, you'll build on the learnings from last week's class.  Take a look at the world around you - your classmates, your instructors - can you describe a trend you've observed?  It could be a trend in design, education, technology - or something else.  Describe the trend, give some examples, and tell us where you think this trend is going and what it means.  Pictures most welcome!

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