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Trail: WhatIsThePrecedentForYourWork



Artists: Jacques Louis David, William Bouguereau, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, John William Waterhouse, Jean-Leon Jerome, Sandro Botticelli, Jan Van Eyck, Rogier Van Der Weiden, August Rodin, Casper David Friedrich, Gustave Moreau.

Response to a request by Casey Reas for a book realted to Sonic Acts festival in Amsterdam.

Thank you for the response. This is what I’m trying to learn and expose through asking the question. I’m looking for diverse opinions and practices. You and Michael are creating extremely interesting work and I think it is important for you to share your disdain for the algorithmic work of the 1960s in favor of painting. Thank you for the consideration. --Casey Reas
Well, I wouldn’t go so far as to call it disdain... It’s more like, complete and total ambivalence... We sort of just, skip over all that stuff and get to places in history with a little more emotional connection/meaning and a little less math and process description (algorithms about algorithms just as bad as paintings about paint in my book.) Could sum it all up in one phrase - “It’s too formal”
Not something I’ve thought a whole lot about or anything. And I wouldn’t want to spend 200 words “disdaining” anything I know so little about. I could try telling you in 200 words “What is the precedent for our work?” But it won’t have anything to do with the 1960s or algorithmic art or possibly even computers... is that okay? --Auriea.

Software tends to be formal, male, square. We seek to bring into the emotional, female, organic. A difficult task not made easier by the precedents of contemporary art which strive to be cold, cynical, ironic, ugly, mean. If I have to narrow it down, our work finds it’s roots in the vilified period of 19th century salon painting. We admire the works of the Renaissance as much as they. While we could never hope to match their artistry, we strive to do just that. Software for bodies that use machines. Not just pointing out process but taking pride in the craft. Making works which can enhance life, can impart knowledge, entertain and tell stories.

How about this:

In our work, we try to make something that will amuse our audience and we hope to enlighten them and enrich their lives. Expressing personal emotions or experimenting with aesthetics or technology are only means to an end. This is why we do not feel much affinity with most 20th century art.

Despite of the highly technical nature of our medium and the complexity of some of the software we create, we look further in the past, in search of masters. We probably feel most affinity with artists from the 19th century -both the romantics and the classicist Salon painters. We share their admiration for the Flemish Primitives and Renaissance and Baroque art. And, like them, we attempt to create meaningful images that communicate directly with our audience.

We hope that our work can be a continuation of an artistic tradition that was violently interrupted by modern art. And we see in interactive media a technology that can advance this tradition in a similar way as oil painting did 500 years ago.

Jacques Louis David, William Bouguereau, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, John William Waterhouse, Jean-Leon Jerome, Sandro Botticelli, Jan Van Eyck, Rogier Van Der Weiden, Casper David Friedrich, Gustave Moreau.

This may be relevant as well:

During the 20th century, art has manoeuvred itself into an insignificant niche of contemporary society. And the void that remained has been filled by pop culture, to the detriment of said society. We consider it to be the responsibilty of the artist to reflect on his surroundings and help the audience understand them and lead a constructive life. Modern art, as the high point of self-indulgence and arrogance has done nothing but the exact opposite. As such, we hold modern artists personally accountable for all the misery and injustice in the world that they so fashionably lament.