“Epigenetic Painting: Software as Genotype, a New Dimension of Art” presented by Verostko


Session Title:

  • Applying AI-Techniques to Art

Presentation Title:

  • Epigenetic Painting: Software as Genotype, a New Dimension of Art



  • This paper explores issues related to software that I have developed for personal use in my studio. The software, called Hodos, can generate paintings which bear an uncanny resemblance to work I did before becoming involved with computers.

    First I will outline the features of the art concept which occupied the mature phases of my own work long before my involvement with electronics. Then we will focus on the essential features of the “artistic decision” procedures used in expressing the art concept.

    Next we will review some of the salient features of the software which embodies these art form ideas. A review of several works generated by the software will show that they reflect essential characteristics of the earlier paintings.

    Finally we will see that this view provides important considerations for the future of art:

    First, this kind of software is a medium of a different “order” than any historical medium. Because such software embodies the procedures for artistic improvisation it can be used for innovative variation on the artist’s theme without the artist being present (Note 6). Although each work may be “one of a kind” it does belong to a family. We must ask whether, to what extent, and how the artist’s hand is present in the work or in a family of works. What can we say of the apparent feeling in the brush strokes?

    Second, perhaps a more important consideration, is the ‘quantum leap’ in procedure or process. This new artistic process, while hardly the same, is remarkably analogous to the biological process of epigenesis. The software, Hodos, may be viewed as a genotype (gene) since it is the code for “how to make the work”. The software can make a “family” of works – with each work being unique (one of a kind, yet familial). The potential for crossing families of different artists opens new domains which includes the hybridization of form and, eventually, a genealogy of form.

    These considerations open the door to a series of interesting questions on authorship, originality, the role of the individual and the art-making process.

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