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Generative Art and Computational Creativity

Simon Fraser University via Kadenze


This first course in the two-part program, Generative Art and Computational Creativity, proposes an introduction and overview of the history and practice of generative arts and computational creativity with an emphasis on the formal paradigms and algorithms used for generation. The full program will be taught by Associate Professor from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University and multi-disciplinary researcher, Philippe Pasquier.

On the technical side, we will study core techniques from mathematics, artificial intelligence, and artificial life that are used by artists, designers and musicians across the creative industry. We will start with processes involving chance operations, chaos theory and fractals and move on to see how stochastic processes, and rule-based approaches can be used to explore creative spaces. We will study agents and multi-agent systems and delve into cellular automata, and virtual ecosystems to explore their potential to create novel and valuable artifacts and aesthetic experiences.

The presentation is illustrated by numerous examples from past and current productions across creative practices such as visual art, new media, music, poetry, literature, performing arts, design, architecture, games, robot-art, bio-art and net-art. Students get to practice these algorithms first hand and develop new generative pieces through assignments and projects in MAX. Finally, the course addresses relevant philosophical, and societal debates associated with the automation of creative tasks.

Music for this course was composed with the StyleMachineLite Max for Live engine of Metacreative Inc.
Artistic direction: Philippe Pasquier, Programmation: Arne Eigenfeldt, Sound Production: Philippe




What Students Are Saying:


" I found the course to be very enriching and complete in what it covers and I enjoyed doing the course work. We discovered a wide range of artists in all fields of art and the course is up to date. The coursework is well thought out and the homework not only allow us to apply what we learned but to go further in our personal artistic practice if we wish. "




 Session 1: Introduction and Ontology of Generative Art (February 1, 2016)
In this session, we define generative art and computational creativity and establish a typology of generative systems based on levels of autonomy and agency.
Session 2: History of Generative Art (from pre-history to the 80s) (February 2, 2016)
Generative art is nothing new, and this session goes through the history of the field from pre-history to the 80s
Session 3: Generative Art and Text (February 2, 2016)
This session focuses on generative processes deployed in literature, poetry and other written forms.
Session 4: Generative Music (February 2, 2016)
In this session, algorithms used for the generation of both notated and interpreted music are reviewed.
Session 5: Generative Visual Art, Video, and Film (February 2, 2016)
This session explores the various processes deployed to date in the field of static and moving images.
Session 6: Generative Sculpture, Design, and Architecture (February 2, 2016)
3D and tangible realizations based on generative systems are reviewed in this session.
Session 7: Generative Art and Performance, Dance, Theatre, and Circus (February 2, 2016)
This session is exploring the various uses of generative systems in performative disciplines.
Session 8: Generative Art and Games (February 2, 2016)
This session reviews how generative algorithms are used in video games from procedural level generation to computational narratives and automatic character design.
Session 9: Generative Art, Robotics, bio-Art and Web Art (February 2, 2016)
This session introduces generative systems deployed in disciplines that did not exist before the computerization of our societies, such as robotics, Web Art, Virtual Reality, biotech-based art.
Session 10: Computer-assisted Creativity (February 2, 2016)
This session, defines the main concepts and approaches used in systems that are designed to collaborate with humans in their creative tasks.
Session 11: Valuation and Evaluation of Generative Art (February 2, 2016)
In this session, we explore the methodologies that can be used to evaluate how successful a given generative system is. Can a generative system be as good, or sometimes better than humans at their specific task?
Session 12: Generative Art, Authorship and Societal Perspectives (February 2, 2016)
This session concludes the course by deepening our understanding of the possible applications and implications of generative art. We address ethical, and philosophical concerns that can be raised by generative systems. What does developing or using a generative system means in terms of authorship and creativity

Taught by

Philippe Pasquier


4.6 rating, based on 20 Class Central reviews

Start your review of Generative Art and Computational Creativity

  • Anonymous
    I found the course very enriching and complete in what it covers and I enjoyed doing the course work. We discover a wide range of artists in all fields of art (that includes music of course) who have put into practice generative art and computational creativity in their special fields of art. The course is up to date. I have read about markov chains and Lindberg generation but with this course I learned how to apply them in Max/MSP/Jitter, and that's great. The coursework is well thought out and the homeworks not only allow us to apply what we learned but to go further in our personal artistic practice if we wish.
    The course is so rich that I recommend taking a lot of notes for future reference otherwise one forgets.
  • Anonymous
    Philippe Pasquier is an accomplished and excellent guide through the wild world and compelling history of generative art and its myriad technical approaches. The course provides numerous angles of access toward what this powerful (and newly resurgent) practice can offer artists, designers, musicians, and programmers alike. Clear, insightful, and well-structured, I highly recommend it to anyone new to the field of generative practice - or those seeking to deepen their understanding of it.
  • Anonymous
    This course is a wonderful intro to dive into comics! I've never pulled the trigger on any personal projects -even though I have dozens of ideas to illustrate- I had no idea where to start, and stare at a daunting blank page. I cannot thank Kadenze, Matt Siladay and all of the contributors, enough for making this course easily accessible, and affordable to those who have sparse options in their intimidate community, if at all. Thank you!!!
  • Anonymous
    I started this course a month ago. I have to say it is the most active performance of mine having purchased several online course. I really enjoy watching the videos, complishing the assignments and browsing the galleries of other students. It is a pity that we can not further know each other or have some unformal chats with my classmates or teachers, because I want to make friends with them.
  • Charles Rykken
    For a beginner this course is optimal in the sense it starts off with the most basic concepts but builds fairly rapidly to more advanced topics. I have an advanced background in math and CS so when there were deep waters I was able to keep my head above water. I think people without that background could also do well as the deeper math and CS were not essential to doing the exercises.
  • Anonymous
    The generative art and computer creativity courses were a good starting point for me into a whole new world. The course program took me through the history of generative art so that I could try various basic techniques on my own. and I am very grateful for all the comments from teachers and other students. The community discussion was very helpful
  • Profile image for Luca Pulvirenti
    Luca Pulvirenti
    It’s a really interesting course. The lecturer goes quite in depth with some of the concepts in generative art whilst providing many examples. I did however have to learn the basics of Max MSP to participate in the assignments but luckily Kadenze also offered a course teaching beginners how to use the software
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed the Generative Art and Computational Creativity course. I found it to be complete and clear, and it's also a great panoramic of artistic production in the generative field. The homework is balanced and also lets you diverge and further research your own artistic language and research.
  • Man
    I really enjoyed the Generative Art and Computational Creativity course. I found it to be complete and clear, and it's also a great panoramic of artistic production in the generative field. The homework is balanced and also lets you diverge and further research your own artistic language and research.
  • Anonymous
    took the class through kadenze
    was happy with the videos and the way of teaching.
    very informative and have a lot of great practice project.
    have to be a premium student to submit all of them but I was not paying for a premium membership, still, most of the content remains free and I did the project assigned just to practice for myself.
  • Anonymous
    this course teaches you the deep connection between math and art, and how to realize this connection using programming language such as processing or p5js or python.
  • Anonymous
    Great course, very informative and interactive. Liked the material and all the materials!
    Looking forward for new courses on Kadenze.
  • Anonymous
    Great narration, incredible curriculum. I recommend it to everyone. It gave me many ideas for my thesis and taught me many things.
  • Profile image for Stephane Paul
    Stephane Paul
    Excellent course, definitely a must if you want to learn generative art. Gave me a push and dived in more experimentation.
  • Anonymous
    this course requires quite a lot of prior knowledge but it's really interesting even if you are not that familiar with the subject
  • Anonymous
    Although I very much liked the contents that the course was teaching, one major problem I had with this course was the assignments. Some of the requirements were very questionable and felt unnecessary to my opinion, especially the gallery participat…
  • Anonymous
    Great class i've ever taken better than the colleges that I took before the pandemic. Plus, I cant wait to be a comic cartoonist!
  • Anonymous
    Its exhausting if you don't have any experience with Max programming, but the topics covered are very interesting
  • Anonymous
    Fun and instructive way to get into comic world.

    Understanding what is a comic and what elements coexist in it, help us to understand the essence of the comic, and it is the first lesson; and thank of this lesson, that let us create better and various ways to conceive comics and transmit our stories. The lessons and visual examples provide us to understand in a better way, the different relationships that made a comic a comic. And the resources help us, as a beginner, to know and create our first pages and stories, and translate them using comic resources.

  • Anonymous
    Nicely laid out, straight forward, great pace. I would appreciate maybe a class of master work analysis. Going through comics by dif artists.

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