The Mistake: The Importance of Errors in Computer-generated Images

By Jennifer Eiserman and Gerald Hushlak.

Published by The International Journal of the Image

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research into error tends to address its reduction in the design space (e.g. Van der Meij, 2000; Ozok & Salvendy, 2001; MacFarlene, 2002; Kelkar et al, 2005; and Thimbleby, 2010). However, when working in the subjective problem space of visual art, perhaps errors are not to be avoided entirely. Cropley and Cropley (2008) identify “tolerance of errors” as an environmental condition fostering creativity. Further, they discuss risk-taking and “absence of drive for closure” (or openness) as important elements in the creative process. The proposed paper examines our experience with evolutionary, computer-generated images and how the programming “mistake” can become an important starting point for new images. “Glitches” can reveal new possibilities for image generation that could not be foreseen. The ability to remain open and take risks, to embrace the “mistake” and incorporate it into the program, postponing linear processes of closure, leads to images that are truly human-computer collaborations.

Keywords: Computer Generated Art, Evolutionary Art, Digital Art, Creative Process, Mistake

The International Journal of the Image, Volume 1, Issue 2, pp.93-102. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.119MB).

Dr. Jennifer Eiserman

Associate Professor, Department of Art, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I am an associate professor in the Department of Art at the University of Calgary. My interest in the relationship between art and technology emerged in graduate study and has evolved as a result of what I perceive to be the necessity for those involved in the training of artists to provide a foundation in contemporary media to their students. Prior to entering academe, I worked in museums across Canada at a time when museum practice was just beginning to embrace the then emerging internet as a form of dissemination. This has led me to examine dissemination practices that are authentic to contemporary digital artforms, including online exhibitions and databases, Facebook, etc.

Prof. Gerald Hushlak

Professor, Department of Art, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

I exhibit mural-size paintings in museums, build rapid prototype sculpture defined in a three dimensional modeling package, Cinema 4-D, and plot 36”x 50” Giclee printed drawings derived from our own evolutionary computing software. In collaboration with Drs.Jacob Boyd, professors in Medicine and Computing Science respectively, we have created audience driven interactive computer installations using evolutionary computing. Over my art career I have participated in 40+ one-person exhibitions in public museums and art galleries. In the last five years we have presented installations, or hardcopy deriving from the installations, in more than a dozen exhibitions in different public galleries around the world. SwarmArt, the name we have given to this interactive visualization process, has been screened on Discovery Channel many times and is featured in “Leonardo”.