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Evaluation of Creative Aesthetics

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This chapter is an edited conversation on the topic of computational evaluation of artistic artefacts. The participants were Harold Cohen, Frieder Nake, David Brown, Jon McCormack, Paul Brown and Philip Galanter. It began at the Dagstuhl seminar on computers and creativity, held in Germany in 2009 and continued over a period of several months via email. The participants discuss their views on the prospects for computational evaluation of both the artistic process and the made artefact.


  • Aesthetic Judgement
  • Computational Evaluation
  • Aesthetic Evaluation
  • Human Artist
  • Computational Creativity

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  1. 1.

    Elements of this section are based on the initial Dagstuhl group discussions (Boden et al. 2009).

  2. 2.

    For important considerations of these issues, we refer the reader to the contributions in Part III.

  3. 3.

    By “in-line” Cohen is referring to evaluation of aesthetic decisions as a work proceeds.

  4. 4.

    At the time of writing this statement, Cohen was very focused on translating his theories of colour and colour harmony into algorithms that AARON could use to colour abstract shapes.

  5. 5.

    Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas, a 20th-century Greek artist and academic.

  6. 6.

    Max Bense was an influential German philosopher and Nake’s teacher and mentor in his formative years as an artist exploring the generative possibilities of the computer in the 1960s.

  7. 7.

    By Birkhoff’s formula, the square evaluates to the polygon with the highest aesthetic value.

  8. 8.

    This view is also shared by Dorin and Korb in Chap. 13.


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We acknowledge the contribution from all the participants, including the original Dagstuhl discussion group on this topic, which consisted of Harold Cohen, Margaret Boden, David Brown, Paul Brown, Oliver Deussen and Philip Galanter. The discussion group notes can be found at The interview in this chapter was edited by Jon McCormack.

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Correspondence to Harold Cohen .

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© 2012 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg

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Cohen, H. et al. (2012). Evaluation of Creative Aesthetics. In: McCormack, J., d’Inverno, M. (eds) Computers and Creativity. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-3-642-31726-2

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