Ernest Edmonds *1942

Ernest Edmonds is a multi-disciplinary artist and known as an expert on human-computer interaction. He studied Mathematics and Philosophy in London and is Professor of Computation and Creative Media at the University of Technology in Sydney. There he runs a practice-based art and technology research group, the Creativity and Cognition Studios.

Edmonds’ artworks are generated by systems and therefore bare neither representational qualities nor are they alluding to objects. In order to create those ‘constructs’ he works with patterns and employs algorithms to generate them. The composition itself became more important to him than the actual representation. He minimised the elements emphasising the structure of the work, not its surface complexity. This structure is the key to the aesthetic experience of the art work. The impression aroused in the spectator is based on his often unknown response to them. Edmonds often uses colour as a defining element, in earlier works he mainly chose black and white due to the unreliable colour reproduction of the screens.

‘Nineteen’ is the lead off artwork in which he used a computer program in its creation process, it dates back to 1968/69. In 1970 he exhibited for the first time an interactive work together with Stroud Cornock in Leicester. In 1985 the first generative time-based computer works called ‘Video Constructs’ followed, accompanied by paintings created using geometric and procedural systems. In the 1990s both time-based works and paintings concentrated on systems to form, select, vary and manipulate colour. Further the ‘Video Constructs’ were no more recorded onto a video tape, but realised directly from the computer and hence had no restriction on length. Edmonds did his first public performance of a ‘Correspondance work’ 1990 in Liège.

With Logic Programming he was able to visualise a search process. In his Video Constructs like ‘Nagoya’ (1995) both structure of the images (its colour and geometry) and structure in time are defined by the logic that founds the basis of the generative works. These applied rules make it deterministic. He compares his work to a music composition and emphasises the correspondence in performances. The sound made by a musician is analysed in real-time and influences the image generating system to create a kind of a duet: ‘In my work, the idea is to operate with structures that can mediate between sound and vision, so that a unified work can be produced that integrates both.” (Edmonds in: On New Constructs in Art, p. 13). Recent works feature the aspect of interaction. The spectator, how passive he might seem, gets involved into a creative process. Edmonds reworked his Video Constructs into Interactive Video Constructs which capture the motion of the viewer and react to what he is doing. The output of the work is the visualised search through a set of rules, enhanced by a Software Agent which is able to take passed interactions into account.

Edmonds has exhibited his work in numerous international forums, including the Sonar Festival (2004), Barcelona and SIGGRAPH (2004), Los Angeles. In 2004 Edmonds instituted Beta_Space, a centre for research into interactive art at Sydney's Powerhouse Museum. His current work, in collaboration with sound artist Mark Fell, continues his longstanding exploration of abstraction, audience interaction and the correspondences between sound and image.

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