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Monthly Design Review - April 2023

Accompanying our Forum about AI, here is a collection of books about art and technology, concentrating on the emergence of computer art in recent decades.


NAM JUNE PAIK (Sook-Kyung Lee, 2020)

Nam June Paik was a visionary artist who foresaw many technological innovations in modern life, and celebrated them with a humor and whimsy that counteracts some of the darker aspects of our age.

This book features works from Paik's five-decade career -- sculpture, video works and views of his renowned room-sized installations. Archival materials and excerpts of Paik's own writings offer a deeper understanding of the artist's extraordinary collaborative career. Essays explore how Paik influenced a global network of artists and pioneered a radical and cutting-edge art practice. By envisioning a future that has become a reality, Paik's work - and its humanity, scope, and optimism - is perhaps more important than ever.

Buy the book here.


A COMPUTER PERSPECTIVE (Charles and Ray Eames, 1973)

This book is a retrospective of the hugely successful New York exhibition of the same name, sponsored by IBM and created by a collaboration of staff at the original Eames Office in 1971.

The exhibition was highly visual and charted the history of the computer since inception, circa 1890, through to 1950. The success of the exhibition led to it being installed for over four years and two related films were also released before the book. The book includes images of the huge wall panels from the exhibition, with mesmerizing overlapping imagery, and also provides a logical chronology of great detail.

Buy the book here.


CODED: Art Enters the Computer Age, 1952-1982 (Leslie Jones, 2023)

This book is a companion to an on-going exhibition at LACMA in Los Angeles, which explores how the rise of computer technology impacted the making of art in the age of the mainframe.

International and interdisciplinary in scope, the book examines the origins of what we now call digital art, featuring artists, writers, musicians, choreographers and filmmakers working directly with computers to produce their work. Whether computer-generated or not, the many artworks considered here reflect the simultaneous wonder and alienation that was characteristic of the 1960s and ’70s, along with the utopian and dystopian possibilities of these new machines.

Buy the book here.


DIGITAL ART from WORLD OF ART series (Christiane Paul, 2023)

This upcoming book is the fourth edition of Christiane Paul’s acclaimed book, which provides an essential introduction to digital art and explores the ways in which it has emerged as a recognized artistic practice.

The new edition traces the emergence of artificial intelligence, augmented and mixed realities, and non-fungible tokens (NFTs). In addition, it surveys themes explored by digital artworks in the areas of activism, networks and telepresence, and ecological art and the Anthropocene. The book examines issues surrounding the collection, presentation, and preservation of digital art, and looks at the impact of digital techniques on traditional forms of art, such as printing, painting, photography, and sculpture.


Pre-order the book here.


THE CREATIVITY CODE (Marcus du Sautoy, 2020)

Marcus du Sautoy, a celebrated Oxford mathematician, considers what machine learning means for the future of creativity. Can a well-programmed machine do anything a human can - only better?

Complex algorithms are choosing our music, picking our partners, and driving our investments. They can navigate more data than a doctor or lawyer and act with greater precision. For many years we’ve taken solace in the notion that they can’t create. But now that algorithms can learn and adapt, does the future of creativity belong to machines, too?

But do these programs just mimic, or do they have what it takes to create? Du Sautoy argues that to answer this question, we need to understand how the algorithms that drive them work—and this brings him back to his own subject of mathematics, with its puzzles, constraints, and enticing possibilities. While most recent books on AI focus on the future of work, The Creativity Code moves us to the forefront of creative new technologies and offers a more positive and unexpected vision of our future cohabitation with machines. It challenges us to reconsider what it means to be human—and to crack the creativity code.

Buy the book here.


THE ARTIST IN THE MACHINE: The World of AI-Powered Creativity (Arthur I. Miller, 2019)

Arthur I. Miller, an authority on creativity, identifies the key factors essential to the creative process, from “the need for introspection” to “the ability to discover the key problem.” He talks to people on the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, and explores the riches of computer-created art, introducing us to artists and computer scientists. Miller argues that computers can already be as creative as humans—and someday will surpass us. But this is not a dystopian account; Miller celebrates the creative possibilities of artificial intelligence in art, music, and literature.

Buy the book here.



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