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Digital Art Museum Presents The Algorists
Plottersketch "Skew" from Mark Wilson, created in 1984.

BERLIN, GERMANY.- Digital Art Museum [DAM] presents The Algorists – Group Exhibition: Plottersketches of Jean-Pierre Hébert (F), Roman Verostko (USA), Mark Wilson (USA), Manfred Mohr (GER-USA), and Hans Dehlinger (GER), on view through May 19, 2007. Discussions of algorithms, code and the algorists often evoke a wrinkled forehead and blank stares. An algorithm may be best understood as a detailed step-by-step procedure for carrying out a task such as a musical score for singing. The code for singing would be the musical notation. For the algorithms dicussed here, the code would be written in a compatible computer language. All computer programs such as word processors and spreadsheets are algorithms. An algorist is an artist who includes his own original algorithms in the process of creating art.

What was revolutionary for algorists was the ability to use a computer for complex algorithms that required extremely extensive logical computation.

Roman Verostko, both as an artist and a theoretician, has held a consuming interest in the deeper implications of this revolution as it unfolded. In 1988, at the First International Symposium on Electronic Art at Utrecht, he presented a seminal paper identifying the analogues between algorithmic form-generators in the arts and biological processes. Its subtitle, Software as Genotype, spells out the key analogy: the artist´s algorithm, similar to biological genotype, contains the code for generating the artwork.

Looking back on the last quarter of the 20^th century we can see clearly the revolution that has occurred. A number of artists became intensely committed to developing algorithmic procedures that embodied their own individual artistic style. Working separately, these algorists achieved individual styles with a full body of mature work.

For both technical and aesthetic reasons artists like Manfred Mohr, Mark Wilson, Hans Dehlinger and Jean-Pierre Hébert decided for the pen and ink plotter machines, which were created for architects and engineers. Today these drawing machines are replaced by inkjet printers and not any more on the market. A few algorists, preferring to draw with ink pens, continue to employ pen plotters, because the drawing arm of these machines presents an uncanny resemblance to the artist´s hand.

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