Published June 25, 2018 | Version v1
Conference paper Open

Empathy in the Ergodic Experience of Computational Aesthetics

  • 1. INESC TEC & Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto
  • 2. INESC TEC


Computational artworks develop very particular relationships with their readers. Being able to encode and enact complex and contingent behaviours, a computational artwork exists in a dual state between two layers that are inextricably connected, a computational subface that is often a black box which can only be peeked at through an analogue surface, that mediates but also isolates it. But the procedural layer of the subface can be unearthed through a process of virtuosic interpretation, through which readers are able to develop some empathy with the system and arrive at a theory of the system that ultimately allows the transferring of some of the artwork’s processes to human minds. This paper focuses on how this process is developed and how it is the basis for a unique type of aesthetic experience that leads computational media and art to involve readers in anamorphosis and in a dialectics of aporia and epiphany, that mirrors the superimposition of subface and surface, and from where narrative experiences emerge.


This work is financed by the ERDF—European Regional Development Fund through the Operational Programme for Competitiveness and Internationalisation – COMPETE 2020 Programme within project "POCI-01-0145-FEDER-006961", and by National Funds through the FCT – Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology) as part of project "UID/EEA/50014/2013".



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UID/EEA/50014/2013 – INESC TEC - INESC Technology and Science 147326
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia