From Fingers to Digits

From Leonardo

From Fingers to Digits

An Artificial Aesthetic

By Margaret A. Boden and Ernest A. Edmonds

Essays on computer art and its relation to more traditional art, by a pioneering practitioner and a philosopher of artificial intelligence.





Essays on computer art and its relation to more traditional art, by a pioneering practitioner and a philosopher of artificial intelligence.

In From Fingers to Digits, a practicing artist and a philosopher examine computer art and how it has been both accepted and rejected by the mainstream art world. In a series of essays, Margaret Boden, a philosopher and expert in artificial intelligence, and Ernest Edmonds, a pioneering and internationally recognized computer artist, grapple with key questions about the aesthetics of computer art. Other modern technologies—photography and film—have been accepted by critics as ways of doing art. Does the use of computers compromise computer art's aesthetic credentials in ways that the use of cameras does not? Is writing a computer program equivalent to painting with a brush?

Essays by Boden identify types of computer art, describe the study of creativity in AI, and explore links between computer art and traditional views in philosophical aesthetics. Essays by Edmonds offer a practitioner's perspective, considering, among other things, how the experience of creating computer art compares to that of traditional art making. Finally, the book presents interviews in which contemporary computer artists offer a wide range of comments on the issues raised in Boden's and Edmonds's essays.


$50.00 X ISBN: 9780262039628 392 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 27 b&w photos, 16 color plates


  • “Oscillating between practical and philosophical, From Fingers to Digits articulates the key issues in the production and reception of computer art. Boden and Edmonds revitalize the discussion of creative computing, and in doing so, provide new insights on the computer arts and the notion of creativity.”

    Eduardo Kac

    artist and poet; author of Telepresence and Bio Art and Potax: Poetry Anthology; editor of Signs of Life and Media Poetry: An International Anthology

  • From Fingers to Digits provides a wealth of information for those interested in all aspects of digital art. Edmonds and Boden's well-researched and documented book covers topics such as the taxonomy of computer art, programming as art, generative art, interaction in art, art appreciation, and creativity. In combination with interviews of pioneers Paul Brown, Harold Cohen, Manfred Mohr, and Roman Verostko, From Fingers to Digits is both thought provoking and an excellent stepping-off point for further research. Highly recommended!”

    Bruce Wands

    Chair Emeritus of MFA Computer Arts, School of Visual Arts, New York; author of Art of the Digital Age and Digital Creativity

  • “Boden and Edmonds's From Fingers to Digits is required reading for all of us interested in the arts and sciences of the twenty-first century. It offers deep insights into the making of computer arts and the psychological processes of the human mind and creativity, and compares this to traditional art making—I was entranced and enlightened. The interviews with many pioneers of the field of MediaArtHistories make it a must read.”

    Oliver Grau

    Professor, Danube University; editor of MediaArtHistories and Imagery in the 21st Century