The artistic movement of computer art in the 1960s and ‘70s was part of an international post-war avant-garde consisting primarily of artists, scientists, philosophers and engineers concerned with questions of the city and society as a whole. In their methodological approach, these transdisciplinary actors combined new theories on architecture, cybernetics and cognition, among others. The so-called “algorithmic” arts cannot be removed from the context of German or European post-war history. In each, they arise as artistic approaches to systemic planning methods and pedagogical concepts from the late 1950s and early 1960s based on structuralism.


It is precisely the pioneers of computer-aided art who played an important role in the investigation of the newly forming thematic areas, and it was they who with the help of primitive software and hardware components were able to realize highly radical and complex artistic and theoretical works in the sense of a new beginning of art, politics and society. The proposed scientific-artistic approach resulted in groundbreaking works in graphic design, sculpture and installation art, and was expressed in lively exhibition and publication activities and theory construction. The focus of all this activity was a fundamentally new conceptualization of artistic methodologies and a visual vocabulary in the face of technological innovation and historical, social and political change.


Computer-aided technologies operate today as they did yesterday as design and structuring actors, leaving their imprint on the very architectural, constructive and artistic discourses and design processes dependent on their existence. The prevailing technological conditions today, however, have undergone considerable change. The aim of this conference is to search for a cross-generational dialogue with the historic avant-garde generation in order to foster new perspectives on current technological developments in artistic and design processes.


Free of All Conventions is an initiative of the Chair for Digital and Experimental Design, Prof. Dr. Norbert Palz, The Department of Architecture at the Berlin University of the Arts in cooperation with the Hybrid Platform and with the kind support of Marit Rosen, ZKM Karlsruhe.