See also Laleh Mehran and Engare
From Drawing Machines
These complex machine would inspire Charles Babbage and Ada Lovelace (Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace) to design the earliest computing machines, the Difference and Analytical Engines.
Even if these devices were mostly theoretical, Lovelace already had the intuition that they could manipulate other things besides mere numbers.
“[The Analytical Engine] might act upon other things besides number, were objects found whose mutual fundamental relations could be expressed by those of the abstract science of operations, and which should be also susceptible of adaptations to the action of the operating notation and mechanism of the engine…Supposing, for instance, that the fundamental relations of pitched sounds in the science of harmony and of musical composition were susceptible of such expression and adaptations, the engine might compose elaborate and scientific pieces of music of any degree of complexity or extent.”
-Ada Lovelace 1843
These artists seemed to be fascinated by the apparent randomness (unpredictability) of these machines and let them “do their thing”.
On the opposite side of the spectrum there is Sol LeWitt who didn’t use computers but conceived many of his works as a series of instructions. As if they were meant to be created by machines (art gallery interns).
Vera Molnar, Love Story 1974
Vera Molnar. Letters from My Mother 1988
“My mother had a wonderful hand-writing. There was something gothic in it (it was the style of writing of all well-educated ladies in the Habsburg monarchy in the early XXth century) but also something hysteric. The beginning of every line, on the left side, was always regular, severe, gothic and at the end of each line it became more nervous, restless, almost hysteric. As the years passed, the letters in their totality, became more and more chaotic, the gothic aspect disappeared step by step and only the disorder remained.”
Manfred Mohr – P-62 (floating points). German, background in abstract expressionism and jazz.
Offset lithograph on paper from plotter drawing (fine art prints).
“The anti-computer response came from several sources, both humanist and anti-humanist. The first originated with mainstream critics whose strong humanist tendencies led them to reproach computerised art for its mechanical sterility. A comparison with aesthetically and theoretically similar art forms of the era reveals that the criticism of computer art is motivated by the romantic fear that a computerised surrogate had replaced the artist. Such usurpation undermined some of the keystones of modern Western art, such as notions of artistic “genius” and “creativity”…. Many within the arts viewed the computer as an emblem of rationalisation, a powerful instrument in the overall subordination of the individual to the emerging technocracy.”
Grant David Taylor, “When the Machine Made Art: The Troubled History of Computer Art 1963-1989”
Starting from the 90s the focus of computer art shifted toward multimedia and interactivity, but some digital artists kept experimenting with mark-making, incorporating robotics, advanced generative techniques, and other cutting edge technologies.
Moth Generator by Everest Pipkin and Loren Schmidt (2015)
Moths drawn with lines!
SELF-PORTRAIT by Boštjan Čadež (2013)
Mechanical Parts by Matthias Dörfelt a robot that draws randomly generated “connectors” aka robot genitals.
Drawing machine or drawing tool? Stay tuned…
More generative art
Not related to drawing, check this overview of daily challenges: