Aesthetic Computing

edited by Paul A. Fishwick

April 2006
The MIT Press
A Leonardo Book
ISBN 0-262-06250-X. 488 pp., 201 illus.

In Aesthetic Computing, key scholars and practitioners from art, design, computer science, and mathematics lay the foundations for a discipline that applies the theory and practice of art to computing. Aesthetic computing explores the way art and aesthetics can play a role in different areas of computer science. One of its goals is to modify computer science by the application of the wide range of definitions and categories normally associated with making art. For example, structures in computing might be represented using the style of Gaudi or the Bauhaus school. This goes beyond the usual definition of aesthetics in computing, which most often refers to the formal, abstract qualities of such structures--a beautiful proof, or an elegant diagram. The contributors to this book discuss the broader spectrum of aesthetics--from abstract qualities of symmetry and form to ideas of creative expression and pleasure--in the context of computer science. The assumption behind aesthetic computing is that the field of computing will be enriched if it embraces all of aesthetics. Human-computer interaction will benefit--"usability," for example, could refer to improving a user's emotional state--and new models of learning will emerge.

Aesthetic Computing approaches its subject from a variety of perspectives. After defining the field and placing it in its historical context, the book looks at art and design, mathematics and computing, and interface and interaction. Contributions range from essays on the art of visualization and "the poesy of programming" to a discussions of the aesthetics of mathematics throughout history and transparency and reflectivity in interface design.

James Alty, Olav W. Bertelsen, Jay David Bolter, Donna Cox, Stephan Diehl, Mark D'Inverno, Michele Emmer, Paul Fishwick, Monica Fleischmann, Ben Fry, Carsten Görg, Susanne Grabowski, Diane Gromala, Kenneth A. Huff, John Lee, Frederic Fol Leymarie, Michael Leyton, Jonas Löwgren, Laurent Mignonneau, Frieder Nake, Ray Paton, Jane Prophet, Aaron Quigley, Casey Reas, Christa Sommerer, Wolfgang Strauss, Noam Tractinksy, Paul Vickers, Dror Zmiri

Paul A. Fishwick is Professor of Computer and Information Sciences and Engineering at the University of Florida.

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Updated 21 March 2012