The Techspressionist Manifesto (v2.0)

  1. The computer, and technology in general, are not separate from humankind, but a natural extension of us. Our tools are anthropic in nature, conceived of, built, and conceived of by humans.
  2. Technology is a continuum which is as old as humanity, not a novelty or fad. Consider: The lever is a machine, and therefore a technology, so is the notion of the zero. The Romans would have never had a digital computer.
  3. The computer is one of a long string of tools which have enabled human expression, including the typewriter, the camera, the printing press, the pen, the pencil, and paint. Oil paint is a technology.
  4. At this point in human history, nothing is truly computer generated, even when code determines the output, as with the work of the Algorists. Anything considered as “computer-generated” is the result of a human initiated set of processes, and shaped by human choices.
  5. This may change, as the Singularity, as predicted by Kurzweil, is a possibility.  As humanity went from the age of Ptolemy to that of Copernicus, we understand that our machines may someday develop sensisibilities independent of our own. This is a subject of great interest to us, and we await that day.
  6. Coding is an artisans activity. Well-crafted code has an aesthetic quality as beautiful and valid as any poetry. (Kant’s Mathematical Aesthetics)
  7. Artificial intelligence is a misnomer. While machine learning/AI has the qualities of complexity that make it appear “intelligent”, it is still a product of human agency and at the moment possesses no subjectivity of its own.  AI, like a camera, is still an extension of the emotional intent of the user.
  8. The scientific method can be applied to anything, including the realm of aesthetics.
  9. A successful image is affective, and memetic. Art that communicates successfully affects the person viewing it, and even more so if it becomes “viral”. This is Dawkins’ concept of Memetics at work.
  10. Our project is a direct expression of the contemporary. Where the modern suggested the “arrow of time” with its notions of past progress, and future, we understand that this work is contemporary in scope. That is, a product of the eternal now, understanding the indeterminacy of the future and past.

NB: This text draws inspiration from artistic manifestos of the past, including Marinetti’s Futurist Manifesto and Breton’s Surrealist Manifesto.

Version History

V2.0 – Patrick Lichty, September 2020, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
V1.0 – Colin Goldberg, September 2014, Greenport, New York, USA.