Algorithms and Art

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Swedish artist Jonas Lund frequently employs a wide variety of media but has earned recognition for combining ‘software-based works with performance, installation, video and photography.’ Raising questions about the role of technology and strategy in art, Lund’s exhibition at the showroom MAMA in Rotterdam “The Fear of Missing Out” relies rather unexpectedly on algorithms as the genesis of creation.

After inputing details such as age, details of the exhibition space and pricing, the self-designed algorithm sifts through a collective database of galleries, artists and works to produce ideas for the works that Lund should make. (The algorithm suggests three elements to the artist: title, materials and instructions) 

While detractors may suggest that such a clinical approach to the creative process removes spontaneity and heart, Lund maintains that the artist still retains agency and that “it’s up to [the artist] to follow the instructions in convincing ways… You get a framework but how do you transform it into something that could be viable?” It has, he says, fuelled creativity and given him insight and opportunity to pursue projects he might not have otherwise thought of or attempted. The value of “The Fear of Missing Out” lies not only in its innovation. It more importantly raises larger questions on the nature of art, the role of the artist, and the creative process itself.

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 Photos courtesy of Lotte Stekelenburg and

Find out more about Jonas Lund here!

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