TIM_BK_033 Artgorithms: Algorithmic Art – theory

Faculty of Arts
Autumn 2023
Extent and Intensity
1/1/0. 4 credit(s). Type of Completion: zk (examination).
Taught in person.
Mgr. Tomáš Staudek, Ph.D. (lecturer)
Guaranteed by
Mgr. Tomáš Staudek, Ph.D.
Department of Musicology - Faculty of Arts
Contact Person: Bc. Jitka Leflíková
Supplier department: Department of Musicology - Faculty of Arts
The course is devoted to intersections of art, math and algorithms. It deals with theoretical foundations of software aesthetics and programmable imagery in visual arts. Enrolling the course assumes creative mind, artistic thinking and computer literacy.

The course is especially aimed on students who have concerns about mathematics — you will learn how beautiful, creative, and yet simple it can be!
Course Enrolment Limitations
The course is also offered to the students of the fields other than those the course is directly associated with.
The capacity limit for the course is 150 student(s).
Current registration and enrolment status: enrolled: 0/150, only registered: 0/150, only registered with preference (fields directly associated with the programme): 0/150
fields of study / plans the course is directly associated with
Course objectives
— Get acquainted with principles of mathematics and computer science in visual arts;
— Understand theoretical foundations of algorithms for visual creativity.
— Get an overview of applied computer art.
— Employ elementary practical skills in the field of software aesthetics.
Learning outcomes
After accomplishing the course students will be able to
perceive the beauty of mathematics and its artistic revelations;
interpret and evaluate algorithmic works of art;
employ acquired skills in creating own computer-aided artworks.
  • 1. Towards computer art: art in the 20th and 21st centuries.
  • 2. Software aesthetics: visual forms of computer art.
  • 3. History of computer art: from the oscilloscope to interactive media.
  • 4. Aesthetic functions: from sinus and cosinus to the superformula.
  • 5. Aesthetic transformations: repetition, parametrization and rhythm of algorithms.
  • 6. Aesthetic proportions: golden section in mathematics, art and design.
  • 7. Spirals and graftals: models of growth and branching in nature.
  • 8. Geometric fractals: iterated functions and space filling curves.
  • 9. Algebraic fractals: from the complex plane to higher dimensions.
  • 10. Chaotic fractals: visual chaos of strange attractors.
  • 11. Symmetry and ornament: periodic tiling and interlocking mosaics.
  • 12. Nonperiodic and special tiling: spiral, hyperbolic and aperiodic mosaics.
  • 13. Mathematical knots: knots and braids from the Celts to modern topology.
  • Practical assignment topics:
    letterism and ASCII art – digital improvisation – computer-aided rollage – generated graphics – quantized functions – algorithmic op-art – evolutionary algorithms – chaotic attractors – context-free graphics – fractal flames – quaternion fractals – fractal landscape – Escher's tiling – islamic ornament – circle limit mosaics – knotting – digital collage – graphic poster – artistic image stylization – generated sculpture.
  • MANOVICH, Lev. Software Takes Command. Bloomsbury Academic, 2013. ISBN 1-62356-745-9. URL info
  • MCCORMACK, Jon, Oliver BOWN, Alan DORIN and Jonatnan MCCABE. Ten Questions Concerning Generative Computer Art. Leonardo: Journal of Arts, Sciences and Technology. 2012. URL info
  • STINY, George and James GIPS. Algorithmic Aesthetics: Computer Models for Criticism & Design in the Arts. University of California, 1978. ISBN 0-520-03467-8. URL info
  • CAPLAN, Craig S. The Bridges Archive. The Bridges Organization, 2013. URL info
  • FRIEDMAN, Nat and Ergun AKLEMAN. HYPERSEEING. The International Society of the Arts, Mathematics, and Architecture (ISAMA), 2012. URL info
  • RADOVIC, Ljiljana. VisMath. Mathematical Institute SASA, Belgrade, 2014. ISSN 1821-1437. URL info
  • SCHIFFMAN, Daniel. The Nature of Code: Simulating Natural Systems with Processing. Daniel Schiffman, 2012. ISBN 0-9859308-0-2. URL info
  • MONFORT, Nick and Patsy BAUDOIN. 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. The MIT Press, 2012. URL info
Teaching methods
Teaching activities include lectures and practical projects. Classes are supported by e‑learning activities in Schoology LMS. Students are responsible for individual reading and watching provided materials, attending classes and participating actively in class discussions.

Projects are given in the form of homework assignments following the class topics. For each assignment freely available applications are provided. Artworks are displayed in the students' gallery: http://artgorithms.tumblr.com/
Assessment methods
The course completed with exam. The final grade corresponds to the points earned during the semester. Students will pass the course after accomplishing half of practical assignments (50 points). For the final project (another 50 points) students may submit a research paper on any course topic. Extra points (up to 25) can be attributed for class activity.

Grading scale: A = 100–90, B=89–80, C=79–70, D=69–60, E=59–50, F<50 points.
Language of instruction
Follow-Up Courses
Further comments (probably available only in Czech)
The course is taught annually.
The course is taught: every week.
Information on the extent and intensity of the course: 80 hodin výuky/semestr.
Teacher's information
The course is also listed under the following terms Autumn 2019, Autumn 2020, Autumn 2021, Autumn 2022.
  • Enrolment Statistics (Autumn 2023, recent)
  • Permalink: https://is.muni.cz/course/phil/autumn2023/TIM_BK_033