Art from Code: What is a Heuristic?

A heuristic is a method used to increase the process and speed of an already established method. ┬áBut with a heuristic, there is no guaranteed correct result or even a result at all. The reason it can not even give a result is that sometimes the heuristic can be set to random, the output does not have to make sense. Similar to the turtle that Cohen made the heuristic was set up to make art in random designs. Similar to the psychological sense of a heuristic it takes an algorithm, which is made to do one step at a time and guarantee a result and creates faster ways of completing the same task. In programming, a heuristic the aim to create an efficient form of an already efficient program. Vera Molnar actually uses both algorithms and heuristics. When we used her repetitive step-by-step method of how to change our loops into more interesting pieces of art. But actually, Vera Molnar changed the way she made her own computer art. Before Molnar “developed a system of work in which simple abstract geometric pictures were generated by altering the dimensions”*. So really Molnar uses a heuristic to create her work but in the processing in which she modifies it is actually an algorithm.

*Taylor, Grant D. When the Machine Made Art: The Troubled History of Computer Art. New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2014.