The inspiration behind all invention, be it mechanical or artistic is largely shrouded in the mystery of individual mindset.
Arguably, any human creation is the manifestation of certain conditions. For a piece of music it might be the end of a relationship. For a painter it might be the scene out of a window.
Imagine those conditions were implanted by a computer code? An algorithm.
Michael Lewis' cult book Moneyball, describes how algorithms were used in Baseball by Oakland's coach Billy Beane to predict how he might pick up players no other team wanted but which would help the side reach their win target each season. Known in Baseball parlance as sabermetrics, the A's, armed with two Harvard Graduates but a budget a fraction the size of the Red Sox or Yankees used these computations to correctly predict on two consecutive seasons exactly how many runs the team would make and how many games they would win.
This phenomenon has also infiltrated the major studios of Hollywood to predict how successful motion pictures might be. Using the variables of location, actors and plot, the algorithm compares them with other movies to work out how much money the new project will take at theatres. If the sums don't stack up, the project is canned.
Algorithms, for those of you wondering, are effectively a series of step-by-step calculations which disclose an outcome derived from a series of inputs. The most legible example of this is found on Amazon's, 'people who bought this also bought' which uses your more recent purchase as an input and calculates outputs (in this case other recommendations) based on other customer ordering behaviour.
If you're an artist going through a patch of creative turbulence, it might just be worth consideration.
If the algorithm is used by artists, there appear to be two options;
1. The algorithms are ideas which are 'implanted' into the artist's mind to provide inspiration.
2. The artist creates the algorithm and the result is an image produced by a computer. Not a single pencil line or brush stroke would be required.
In the second option, I suppose the art would be in choosing the computations. A sort of 'Genetically Modified' art if you will. Works of that nature might not be met with enthusiasm by the curators who stalk the vaults and creaky floorboards of Britain's esteemed galleries but surely they could still be classified as original art?!
I guess that leaves us with the question of what variables amalgamate to form a piece of Art? If you can work this out, perhaps you'll be onto a winner.