Art From Code: A Response to Vera Molnar

Vera Molnar is a very talented and unique artist. It might seem contradictory to call her talented when her work was essentially produced by a machine but I think the talent can be seen in the way she made the machine produce something that feels so man-made. There are indeed aspects of repetition that are creative and lend themselves to meaning. When people think of repetition, I think we initially think of something static. For me personally, I think of a row of lines. The idea of something repeating over again seems boring, and very far from art. However, when done right it can be exciting and meaningful. Vera Molnar’s work that was inspired by her mother’s letters is an example of that. I think what distinguishes Molnar’s art is the fact it’s based on something meaningful. Additionally, the computer was programmed on her mother’s handwriting, thus it is able to have life-like characteristics. 

The meaning that is created in art through repetition doesn’t have a certain amount of images that it must reside in. It’s dependent on the subject itself and what’s being displayed on the page. For example, there is meaning in one letter that Molnar created. The meaning becomes emphasized as it becomes a series, but it’s still not lacking meaning. When looking at a single letter in comparison to the series as a whole, the meaning gains complexity. Complexity is essential to making an image interesting. However, I don’t feel my art has the same meaning that Molnar’s art has in one single image. While I do like the repetition of the cylindrical shapes, it doesn’t mean as much to me by itself. I felt like more meaning was added to my work as the series grew, and slowly with each image. 

The progression and development of gradualism are what speaks most to me. I like to admire how an image morphs and becomes an entirely different image. It’s really interesting to see the nuances in between shifts too because although an image can look similar, it is still not the same. 

I do think that an artist is present in my work. A machine might have the ability to physically create the work, but there is still a designer behind the work. I equate it to the creation of a photograph. In photography, a person uses a camera to capture the subject. That is no different than art like this made by computers. There is still the artist driving process. Vera Molnar was an artist, it wasn’t her computer that was solely responsible for the art.

Emma Hoffman