Aldo Giorgini says of his computer works: “Art and Science have a common goal: the search for an order.  They differ in its description.  That's why I call my works experiments." (photo by John Guild)


CE prof Giorgini connects art, science

By LARRY BULLOCK, Fine Arts Writer.


"Art and Science have a common goal: the search for an order.  They differ in its description.  That's why I call my work experiments."  This illusory connection between art and science in the words of Prof. Aldo Giorgini of the School of Civil Engineering relates some feelings toward his recent ex­perimental approaches to art.

Cybernetheism, or computer drawing, is perhaps the most unusual and intriguing result of his efforts. Seen on the page are examples of drawings which resemble myriad, concentric shapes with fantastic curves that illogically disappear into each other, then re-converge to create mind-blowing, often sym­metrical, optical patterns and illusions.

All of this did not come by chance, however. The creator of these and other new approaches to art is Aldo Giorgini, a soft-spoken artist and engineer. Born in Voghera, Italy, and raised in Ethiopia; Giorgini served as an apprentice for eight years to sculptor and painter Ingegneri, and to Ambrogio Casati, one of the Futurist masters, in Italy.

Then, being uncertain of his inclinations, he pursued an engineering career and acquired the ME doctoral degree at the Polytechnical Institute of Turin. Giorgini then came to the United States as an exchange scholar on a Fulbright Scholarship. After attending Colorado State University and there obtaining a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering, he joined the faculty of the School of Civil Engineering in 1968.

Except for his valuable ap­prenticeship as a young student, Dr. Giorgini has only pursued his zealous interest in art in the last three years. Amazingly, this renewed fervor was partly due to an accidental discovery while experimenting with enamels and acrylics in his studio.




“In my computer-aided drawings I try to create or to unravel optical illusions by complementing, with my own intervention, what the machine can do best.”




Then, continuing his ex­perimental approach to art, Giorgini's equal love for­ mathematics and art prompted him to experiment with com­puter-aided graphics. Relying on the computer's ability to draw perfect lines in minutes that might otherwise be impossible by hand, the artist may fully utilize the machine as a sophisticated tool. .

The process of computer-aided drawing requires three steps. First, an idea conceived by the artist must be translated into some useable form. This is ac­complished by using mathematical formulae with appropriate parameters that enable the machine to manipulate the human concepts.

          Secondly, the formulae must be expertly programmed into the computer. Lastly, as the computer draws out the desired pattern on an output device, the idea can then be fully implemented by the artist's in­tervention or transformed ac­cording to any particular whims or innovations that the artist might conceive at the moment. Tedious blackening of desired areas (by hand) creates special effects that emphasize intricate patterns of lines and spaces.

In the work thus far, Giorgini has carried out all of the steps, but considerable help has been given by W. C. Chen who has ­provided excellent program­ming, while Bob Bullard, Steve Jasevicius and Mark Kanney have helped with the inking.

Within the process described here, there lie several inherent choices that have been made concerning the direction and amount of intervention by the artist. Giorgini has thus distinguished between autonomous computer art where the actual computer output is considered to be the final form, and synergistic computer art, where the output needs further modification by the artist.

Giorgini's personal attitude is toward the synergistic approach. This is partly due to extravagant use of programming and com­puter time required by the strict autonomous approach, and also due to the tremendous flexibility allowed by a "non-purist ap­proach."

An equally important distinc­tion can be made as to the amount of control constraining the computer. Giorgini states that two classifications can be made concerning the "amount of chance that may be present in computer art."  There is in­tentional computer art which is "the ideal medium for the creative learning process in which research and development take place." Next, serendipitous or accidental computer art is "not to be considered a valid art form, but yet can serve as an exploratory device or as a source of ideas."

These accidents are not art, yet they are potentially very beneficial to the artist. But in this special use of the computer, the use of randomness is condemned as a means of creativity.

He says, "Using a 'canned' program is like choosing one work from 100 paintings in a gallery, and then calling it your own."

          There is a need for creative intervention that is similar in the degree of expertise that raises photography from a push-button mania to an art. However, both are considered true art from the same criteria, that is, production of good, intentional results.

In addition to his art interests, Giorgini teaches courses in probability, advanced math, "Aesthetics In CE Design" and a new course, "Man, Aesthetics, and Public Works." Besides doing research on "Theoretical and Computational Hydromecha­nics," he has a very strong in­terest in bridges. To pursue this interest, he spent one month last summer traveling about Europe studying and photographing bridges and other public works.

          Giorgini has exhibited his works in four previous exhibitions, and is displaying them this month at Purdue.

          For those interested in seeing them first hand, run, don't walk, to the Krannert drawing room. Giorgini's works will be on display Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon until April 10.


Entire article from the Purdue Exponent, Thursday, March 14, 1974. Volume 90, No.7. Pages 1a,2a, & 4a.