No name
No country
No term
No term
No language
No academic level
No academic fields

Software Art: Image


  • Pierre Depaz
  • Michael Ang


Although computers only appeared a few decades ago, automation, repetition and process are concepts that have been floating around artists’ minds for almost a century. As machines enabled us to operate on a different scale, they escaped the domain of the purely functional and started to be used, and understood, by artists. The result has been the emergence of code-based art, a relatively new field in the rich tradition of arts history that today acts as an accessible new medium in the practice of visual artists, sculptors, musicians and performers. Software Art: Image is an introduction to the history, theory and practice of computer-aided artistic endeavours in the field of visual arts. This class will focus on the appearance of computers as a new tool for artists to integrate in their artistic practice, and how it shaped a specific aesthetic language across traditional practitioners and newcomers alike. We will be elaborating and discussing concepts and paradigms specific to computing platforms, such as system art, generative art, image processing and motion art. Drawing on those, students will explore their own artistic practice through the exclusive use of their computers. The course will also serve as a technical introduction to the OpenFrameworks programming environment to create works of visual art. Software Art: Image is a complement to Software Art: Text, a 7-week course approaching computation from the perspective of poetry and fiction.

Learning Outcomes

  • Develop an understanding of process-based artistic practice.
  • Understand the history and impact of software on visual arts and culture
  • Develop their own artistic voice through writing software
  • Become comfortable to present and discuss software-based artworks
  • Develop a familiarity in creating visual works with C++ and OpenFrameworks
  • Develop a critical outlook on art and aesthetics in the digital age.

Topic Outlines

  • Digital colors and shapes
  • Uncertainty and rules
  • Motion graphics
  • Glitch and error
  • Concept and software


  • Interaction of Color, by Josef Albers, Yale University Press, 2013.
  • ofBook, Zach Lieberman et. al.,
  • What is Computer Art?, H. Kawano, self-published, 1975.
  • A Tool is a Tool, P. Z, in Women, Art and Technology, MIT Press, 2003.
  • Computers and the Visual Arts, A. M. Noll. Design Quarterly No. 66/67, 1967.
  • Solo for a Black Stroke, Vera Molnar, self-published, 2001.
  • The Propaganda of Pantone: Color and Subcultural Sublimation, Kevin Lo, 2016.
  • 10 PRINT, Casey Reas et. al., MIT Press, 2012, chapter Random.
  • Generator: The Value of Software Art, G. Cox
  • Digital Harmony of Sound and Light, Ben Alves, Computer Music Journal, 2005.
  • Oscillons: Electronic Abstractions, Ben Laposky, Leonardo, Vol 2., 1969.
  • Audiovisual software art: a partial history, Golan Levin, self-published, 2009.
  • Sentences on Conceptual Art, Sol LeWitt in 0-9, 1969.
  • Art In The Information Age, Edward Shanken, Leonardo, Vol. 55, No. 4, 2002.
  • Against Information: Case Studies in Data Practice, Mitchell Whitelaw, The Fiber Culture Journal, 2008.
  • The Perception of Glitch, R. Menkman, Network Notebooks 4, Glitch Studies Manifesto
  • Aesthetics of the mirror: media art, the machine, the unforeseen and the event, Tim Barker, Error: Glitch, noise and jam in media culture, 2011.
  • The Softer Side of Art, Maciej Wisniewski, Network Art: Practices and Positions, 2006

Grading Rubric

No grading rubric.


  • Reading Readings will include book chapters, research papers and articles from art history, art philosophy and software studies fields. These readings will introduce the students to the history of computers as a tool to produce artworks, its impact on how we look at art, as well as an overview of the field’s main figures.
  • Participating Since the class will be focused on critical outlooks on artworks as well as discussion of both their execution and underlying concepts, participation by the students contributes to 15% of the final grade. Participation includes (a) expressing one’s own perspective on the readings, (b) discussing and elaborating your opinion on artworks shown in class, (c) offering critical and respectful feedback on classmates’ work, (d) sharing additional content that can be relevant to the topics discussed in class. - 15%
  • Sketching Students will be encouraged to produce computer artworks by posting weekly sketches on a public blog. These weekly assignments will explore a particular technique, concept, or artist who will have been discussed that week in class. Each sketch or series of sketches will be accompanied by a short write-up explaining the creative process of that exploration. - 15%
  • Coding The main assignments of the class will be two series of work, revolving around two concepts, Still and Motion. Each student will be required to produce a series of work that demonstrate both (a) technical skill, (b) aesthetic judgement and (c) critical knowledge, which will then be presented and critiqued in class. The final project will follow those guidelines, but will not have a pre-defined prompt. - 15% + 15% + 20%
  • Writing Each of the main assignments will be accompanied by a 500 word statement providing a theoretical context to the production of the work, in order to introduce students to not only art creation but also to art criticism and allow them to not only produce, but communicate. These statements will have to touch on (a) the conceptual background for the work, (b) the reasons for its formal qualities as well as (c) the evolution of the work over time. - 5% + 5% + 10%


No other.

Uploaded by Pierre Depaz on 2023-07-03