Computational art is, simply put, any art created through a computer. In other words, the computer in this case is the one with the main role in the creation or even in the exhibition of the work. Defining computational art through elements is very difficult and inconclusive, as this type of art is always evolving and transforming all the time.

It was in the 1960s that computational art began to develop. However, at that time, most "artists" were still computer engineers or scientists. That's because they were the ones who had access to all this new technology. It was from there that other artists began to explore this type of technology for artistic purposes.

Since then, a lot has changed. Several artists became famous for making computational elements their art. Art and technology have always been so close together. This combination is powerful and is capable of transforming simple elements of everyday life into true works of art.

Understand the concept of computer art

Hearing the first time, it seems that computer art is very complex, but it is not. In a simple way, you can define computer art as any art that needs a computer or that, during its creation or exhibition. It is important to remember that computational art is not just about paintings. Animations, images, sounds, videos, video games and even an internet site can be classified as computer arts.

In this form of creation it is necessary to have, in addition to creativity, a good knowledge of computing and digital techniques. In addition, it is a form of artistic expression that is always changing and evolving, since technology with each passing day makes other forms of artistic creation possible.

As previously mentioned, computational art began during the 1960s. And at that time, artists were computer engineers and scientists, since they had access to machines. In other words, it was something more technical. In New Jersey, during the year 1962, Dr. A. Michael Noll started to program a computer for the purpose of artistic visual patterns.

A few years after Noll started using computing as artistic purposes, the first official exhibition of computational art took place. And there were two exhibitions, one in Germany and another in the United States, both in 1965. It is important to remember that, many do not consider the works as art, since they were created through the computer. For this reason, they did not receive an art name in the title.

It was 3 years after these two exhibitions, in 1968, in London, another important exhibition of computational art took place. This brought together the names of the first digital artists, such as Nam June Paik, Frieder Nake, Leslie Mezei, Georg Nees and A. Michael Noll.

The technology behind this artistic expression

The human being has always had the need to express himself, to leave his mark. Proof of this are the cave paintings in the interiors of caves and on other rocky surfaces carved by the mark of human presence.

But after many, many years, already in the middle ages, it was that art was divided into two segments: mechanical arts and intellectual arts. In short, mechanical art can be compared to a craftsman who creates predetermined objects or things. Intellectual art is the most elaborate, most sentimental and unique art. But, regardless of the terms used, it is important to understand art as something that cannot be limited to idea A or B, because its grandeur and complexity do not allow limitations. Better understand the relationship between art and technology in this article available on our Blog, Art and technology: understand this relationship throughout history.

Computational art is directly linked to technological developments that the world has undergone to date. This form of artistic expression has changed a lot from the 60s until today. In the beginning, machines were used that produced simple and geometric elements, even today “piracy” is strongly present in this segment.

5 artists who use programming technology in their works

The use of programming in art is not so simple, but several artists have made this science their careers and, consequently, incredible works for all eternity. Meet now 5 artists who use programming technology in their works to find audiences:

Fernando Velázquez

The first artist on this list is a Uruguayan who was born in Montevideo in 1970 and is now based in São Paulo. Fernando Velázquez has a Master in Fashion, Art and Culture from Senac-SP and has a specialization in "Video and on / off line technologies" by Mecad de Barcelona. He is a multimedia artist who supports his creations in technology in various types of media, such as drawings, paintings, photographs and videos.

Among the various subjects portrayed in his works, issues related to contemporary daily life and the construction of identity are the ones that stand out the most. His works range from videos, interactive objects, audiovisual performances and images from algorithms. The relationship between nature and culture is his point of dialogue between his works and the public.

Among his outstanding performances, the most striking were: on / off (Itaú Cultural, São Paulo - 2012 curator, Roberto Moreira), Mapping Festival (Geneva, 2011), LPM (Roma, 2011) and Cyland (Saint Petersburg, 2012) .

Laura Ramirez: the Optika Vj

Here we have a visual arts lover who managed to revolutionize live visual projects, transforming them into real shows. Luara Ramirez, better known as Optika VJ, is from Bogotá, Colombia, and specializes in combining digital art and audiovisual narratives, thus creating incredible installations and interventions.

It was in 2007 that Optika VJ started to take its first steps in its performances, organizing workshops, conferences and electronic and art presentations related to programming.

Laura, or Optika VJ, has performed in several countries in South America, Europe, Asia and also in the USA. Clubs like REX Club in Paris and Tresor in Berlin were places where Optika VJ gained notoriety and its works became known.

In 2011 Laura designed, for more than 90 thousand people in Bogotá, a work of approximately 140 m² that featured special colors and lights for this presentation. She also stood out for developing CMX / LED systems, Designing Clubs and other diverse computational art revolutions.

Georg Nees

You can't talk about computer art without mentioning Georg Nees, one of the pioneers of computer art. Born in 1926 in Germany, he was a student of Max Bense, the founder of Information Aesthetics. Many consider that the Nees Show Solo, still at the university in Stuttgart, was his first exhibition, still in 1965. The artist himself stated that it was this piece that inspired him to create his own series of algorithmic works of cubic disorder.

Hito Steyerl

Born in Munich, Germany, in 1966, Hito Steyerl gained great prominence for her technological artistic innovation. In addition to being a moving image artist, Steyerl is also a filmmaker and writer. She attended the Japanese Institute of Moving Image and years later studied at the University of Television and Cinema in Munich, becoming a filmmaker.

She is currently a professor of New Media Art at the University of Arts in Berlin. His work manages to push the limits of video as we know it, making it often obscured what is real under many layers of metaphors and satirical humor. In 2017 she was elected as the most influential person in the world of contemporary art.

Philippe Parreno

Philippe Parreno is a French artist who was born in Oran, Algeria in 1964. His work is focused on several media, such as films, installations, performances, drawings and even texts. His ideas focus on the time of his works and the distinct conception of other exhibitions as a single medium. Since he began exhibiting his works in the 90s, Parreno has always been critically acclaimed.

In Dancing Around The Bride, in 2012, at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Parreno acted as an orchestrator, using the works of great artists such as: John Cage, Merce Cunningham, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Marcel Duchamp to invoke time and movement.


Art and technology have always gone together. From the invention of a simple tool in the beginning of humanity to the most modern computers that we have today, art has always been and will be present. Reading this article, it became clear how art and technology are shaped and reinvented.

Computational art is something new, but it is already present in several galleries and museums around the world. And when it comes to art and technology, it is also possible to see things beyond art itself, but also in your own organization. Timelinefy's timelines serve to organize artistic and historical movements chronologically. In other words, art and technology go far beyond what can be imagined.