Mediamatic Magazine Vol. 6#2/3 Remko Scha 1 jan 1991


Computer – Language

Remko Scha is a Dutch artist and scientist who is experimenting with speech and computers.


Scha -

(Fragmentof a Media Scape:) The preparation of this page involved four telephone calls and two chance encounters between Paul Groot and Remko Scha, seven telephone calls and four meetings between Remko Scha and Hein Eberson (Trademark™), two calls by Remko Scha to Hein Eberson's answering machine and two fax transmissions and one hand-delivered letter from Hein Eberson to Remko Scha. The text was written by Remko Scha, using a blue Pilot Hi-techpoint 5 (0,3 mm) on white A4 Xerox copy paper for the first two drafts and Microsoft Word 4.0 on Macintosh LC for the final version. An MFD-2HD floppy with the MS-Word file was hand delivered to Hein Eberson, who prepared the final typesetting. The image is a sample of the output of a HyperTalk program developed by Remko Scha on Macintosh LC. It was laserprinted at the Department of Computational Linguistics of the University of Amsterdam. Software development assistance by Anthony Bijnen (Metaform Software)

Art is not a means of communication. It is meaningless raw material to be used in open-ended processes of esthetic reflection by a culturally diverse audience whose interpretations are totally arbitrary. There are no serious reasons for making one particular artwork rather than another.

An artistic project that wants to acknowledge this state of affairs faces an interesting challenge: to avoid choices, to transcend styles, to show everything: to generate arbitrary instances from the set of all possibilities, the spontaneous individual artist wil not be able to accomplish this. Only a deliberate scientific/technological undertaking may ultimately approximate the ideal of a serenely all-encompassing art by developing an explicit algebraic sytem that articulates the conceptual space of all visual possibilities and by implementing software that systematically draws random samples from this space.

In this enterprise, digital techology will play an essential role: designs of artworks will be generated as data structures on electronic computers. Their execution howwever, will eventually involve all technology. It would be a mistake for automatic art generation to forsake the sensory richness of the material world and to remain secluded inside an impoverished digitally transmitted vituality. We can use any medium as long as the message is:


(When the layout and print was delivered at the Mediamatic offices, they were discarded. We asked for the original floppies and copied the image immediately from Remko's Hypercard stack. Also we copied the text from the Word file. Text and Image (cropped) were pasted into a layout program according to Hein Eberson's instructions. The other page elements and this text were superimposed and the page was printed directly on an image setter)