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Computational Representations


  • Pierre Depaz


From digital image processing to connected devices and artificial intelligence, we are more and more inclined to imagine our surroundings through the lens of the computer. However, the fundamental tension between continuous aspect of our lived, immediate, analog experience and the digital, discreet logic of software and hardware cannot be avoided, and can have increasing ramifications. This seminar will be looking at the different ways that computers and computation have affected the way that we represent the world around us, and to what extent where social, political and economical forces involved in the process. The seminar will be a combination of lectures, discussion and hands-on programming exercises.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand how computation led to a shift in aesthetic representations.
  • Be presented with the specificity of computational representation as opposed to other kinds of representation.
  • Replace the specific formal tendencies of computer graphics and user interfaces within their historic and social contexts.
  • Be able to utilize and question digital systemic representations.

Topic Outlines

  • Representation in art history: visual, interactive and networked
  • History of computing
  • Mathematics and the real world
  • Computational art


  • Weizenbaum, J. Computer Power and Human Reason, Introduction, W. H. Freeman, 1976.
  • Drucker, J., Art in Critical Terms For Media Studies, Mitchell W. & Hansen M., University of Chicago Press, 2010.
  • D'Alleva, A., Methods and Theories of Art History, Chap. 2, Laurence King Publishing, 2005.
  • Reas, C., {Software} Structures,, 2008. (the first two sections: Software & Drawing and Sol & Software).
  • Hui Kyong Chun, W., On Software, or the Persistence of Visual Knowledge in Grey Room, MIT Press, 2004.
  • Galloway, A., Language Wants to be Overlooked: On Software and Ideology, in Journal of Visual Cultures, SAGE, 2006.
  • Flusser, V., A New Imagination in Writings, University of Minnesotta Press, 2002.
  • Cramer, F., Ulrike, G., Software Art,, 2001.
  • Bogost, I., The Rhetoric of Video Games, in The Ecology of Games: Connecting Youth, Games and Learning, Salen, K. MIT Press, 2008.
  • Marche, S., The Crisis in Connectivity, LA Review of Books, 2018.
  • Blank, J., NetArt, 1996.
  • Driscoll, M., Color Coded: Mendi + Keith Obadike's Black.Net.Art Actions and the Language of Computer Networks, The Black Scholar, 2017.
  • Ascott, R., Is There Love in the Telematic Embrace?, Art Journal, 1990.

Grading Rubric

No grading rubric.


  • As this is a short seminar, the assignments are only about completing the readings and being ready to discuss them in class.


The course will be taught over a four full days of teaching. Each half-day will be dedicated to a specific subset of computational representations. Along with presentations on contemporary new media thinkers and current questions, students will be presented with case studies and practical exercises to grasp the presented concepts further.

Uploaded by Pierre Depaz on 2023-07-03