Jeffrey Harris BFA Thesis Fall 2013

I began my undergraduate studies dedicated to traditional methods and media of craft: carving wood and stone, modeling ceramics. I learned how certain parametric proportions trick the viewer into seeing, for a moment, another human being. The sculptors I studied reverse engineered those measurements and wrote applicable instructions. As minds are so inclined, I recognized a pattern. Specifically, I began to see every artistic act as an elaborate algorithm, an interwoven decision tree. The creative act might be deciphered. It could be programmed. Overnight, my interest in the traditional deferred to this larger concern. Just as the sculptors I admired acknowledged the contributions of the past, I realize I am not the first to recognize this pattern or its significance.
Whole careers have been built on this very specific subject alone. Moreover, I quickly realized that computing artistic expression is but one challenge along an incredibly rich line of inquiry, encompassed by questions of artificial intelligence and machine learning. This is all in the way of saying I became obsessed with translating human behaviors for machines, specifically in decoding, parsing, and algorithmizing the most human of acts.

To wit, machines can create.

Keywords: computer, creativity, algorithm, artificial intelligence

Winner of the 2014 Liberal Arts Department Award

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