Paul Prudence Interviews Mitchell Whitelaw [Theory]

Mitchell Whitelaw, #climatedata proposal (2009)

One of the most articulate and accessible voices within the generative art scene is undoubtedly the Canberra-based scholar/practitioner Mitchell Whitelaw. Given his relative (internet) silence over the last year, news of an interview—conducted by Paul Prudence, no less—published in the most recent issue of Neural magazine, is cause for minor celebration. Mitchell posted the transcript of this conversation to his blog last night and it is noteworthy for several reasons. First, the opening response about the utopian nature of software art acknowledges some ideological underpinnings that are seldom discussed – and Paul's query as to "where is the dystopian software art?" is both provocative and on point. Secondly, the comments about look vs. process and how even the glossiest eye candy often embodies a "narrative of systems" is a useful means of considering the 'performative' capabilities of generative art. Finally, Mitchell's description of algorithm popularity as 'a memetic ecology unto itself' is exactly the kind of meta-commentary that is desperately needed in (generally) uncritical software art circles.

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