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Holger Heine

generation/mutation: from crowdsourced to ai-sourced new media art

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Launched in the early days of the Internet, before Google or Facebook or iPhones, generation/mutation explores the new possibilities of collaborative art production and distribution afforded by the evolution of digital technologies

Based on the idea of crowdsourcing creative work online, years before the expression “crowdsourcing” was coined, generation/mutation received contributions from an international group of new media artists. During its first two years, the project’s online exhibition attracted more than 2.5 million visitors and has remained one of the most iconic collaborative new media artworks online.

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Description

Spanning more than two decades, the new media art project generation/mutation evolved from human made, crowd-sourced art to machine made, ai-generated art. When the project was launched in 1998, artists were simply asked to

  • download the project’s seed image
  • alter the image any way they like
  • email the result back to be shown in an online exhibition.
generation/mutation seed image
DV01 by H-Ray Heine. 1982 photograph, bw, Nikon F2A, 24mm, seed image for generation/mutation online project

Participation in the project was open to everyone and every contribution—provided it met a few simple technical requirements—was guaranteed a place in the planned online exhibition. No jury, no curator, no censorship.

generation/mutation contributions

The aim was to trigger a free and open-ended collaboration that would generate a series of contributions by artists from around the world, using the just emerging Internet as the only means of communication and exchange.

The resulting online exhibition was seen by more than 2,5 million visitors during its first three years online!

And that was just the first, crowd-sourced version of the project. Heine offers a fascinating account both of the technological evolution of the Internet and their creative uses in new media art. Combining art and philosophy in a novel form of expression and discourse, generation/mutation is required reading for anyone interested in new media art!

Chapter 1 - Crowds

Based on the idea of crowdsourcing creative work online, years before the expression “crowdsourcing” was coined, generation/mutation received contributions from a diverse group of international new media artists. During its first two years, the project’s online exhibition attracted more than 2.5 million visitors and has remained one of the most iconic collaborative new media artworks online.

Launched on digitalsouls.com in the early days of the Internet, before Google or Facebook or iPhones, generation/mutation explores the new possibilities of collaborative art production and distribution afforded by the evolution of digital technologies.

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