It seemed very unlikely, at the dawn of computing, that one would ever be interested in using calculators as tools for art. More than half a century later, it is hard to imagine any artwork which hasn't been influenced by computers, whether as its core component, or as a reference point, or by using file formats, or by finding inspiration on the internet. This class will retrace the impact of computers, and more specifically of the most intangible part of computers -software- on the visual arts.


Software, by being an elusive concept, oscillating between machine and man, action and thought, quantitative and qualitative, is a unique vantage point on the history of art and society in an era during which the impact of technology is unprecedented. While born into the US 'iron triangle' of army, industry and academia, software art embodies a desire to free oneself and reflect upon one's place in such a world, both building on and contradicting previous dynamics in art history.

This class is also directed towards developing an artistic thought, sensitivity and skill with programming. This will allow students not only to ponder the aforementioned questions, but also to explore them from their own aesthetic intent.


This class will focus on three parts:
  • readings in art criticism, art history and media studies.
  • weekly homework relating to key concepts recurring in software art.
  • two major pieces (still and motion), as well as a final piece.


Instructor: Pierre Depaz


Offline: C3-153 (Arts Center)
Online: github