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Patric Prince "Comments..." in Leonardo: Journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology (ISAST), 1990. The comments refer to the 1990 Leonardo publication of Roman Verostko's 1988 Utrecht paper on "Epigenetic Painting: Software as Genotype"




Roman Verostko (Leonardo 23, No. 1, 17-23, 1990) discusses his art making in terms of the theory and creative techniques developed for his style of work created with a "personal expert system". Verostko's software is designed to express his personal form of preferences and to generate totally original works of art automatically. His use of the term epigenesis emphasizes the responsibility for the place­ment of choices in the structure of the program.

For decades art critics and theorists have been debating the legitimacy of art made by machine; this issue is constantly reappearing in the context of computer art. Of those artists who use computer technology in the creative process, the 'proceduralists', a term used by Rosebush and Kerlow for those who use expert systems, advocate a fundamentally purer appreciation and understanding of original creative possibilities derived from use of the computer. In reality, few artists have actually delivered art 'created' by machine intelligence. Having coded his 'art concept' into a computer program, Verostko is one of the few artists I know. of who is actually letting the power of the computer create original works of art.

It is Verostko's program or his 'soft­ware art' that executes color decisions, selecting from 14 available pens, creating harmonies by overlaying color combinations for the plotted drawing. He has also invented a device that converts the pen sleeve to hold a traditional brush. The mimetic structure of the gestures in simulated spontaneity was carefully developed to express the artist's concepts that extend form-making ideas through the contrast of stroke control and improvisation. Verostko believes that through a dialectic process the original art concept undergoes transformation and the software evolves form making ideas that "point the way for the artist in designing the next generation of software".

Roman Verostko is head of the Liberal Arts department at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. He is interested in using the power of the computer to interact with traditional art ideas for the enrichment of art making. His current project is the illustration (second chapter) of On the Laws of Thought, by George Boole. This limited-edition book, to be published by the Saint Sebastian Press of Minneapolis, Minnesota, will have an original computer-generated work bound as frontispiece, demonstrating the strength and endurance of his expert system. 

Patric D. Prince
Altadena, CA

© 1990 ISAST, Leonardo 23:4 p 459, 1990



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