What is compArt?

compArt: Center of Excellence Digital Art is a project in computer art at the University of Bremen. It is currently financed by Rudolf Augstein Stiftung for the time from 1 October 2007 to 31 December 2010.

compArt aims at establishing in Bremen an institution for the advancement of digital art. Activities of such an institution as a Center of Excellence will be research, publishing, teaching, production of works, curating of exhibitions, and various services. compArt bundles generative, critical, and communicative activities in the domain of digital art.

compArt, in its present phase, restricts activities to digital art between 1950 and 1979. The year 1979 is chosen as the year of the first Festival Ars Electronica in Linz, Austria. In cooperation with Kunsthalle Bremen, compArt is concerned with the archaeology of digital art.

compArt is carried by a small group of dedicated researchers from different backgrounds. It is rooted in the computer science department of the University of Bremen.

compArt divides the domain of its activities into four subspaces connected by various links:

  • the space of data and facts (the database),
  • the space of works and exhibitions (virtual reconstructions of galleries),
  • the space of art and society (serendipitous findings and relations),
  • the space of study and experiment (the Aesthetic Laboratory).

A word on history

When Frieder Nake had his first exhibition of computer art at Buchladen und Galerie Wendelin Niedlich in Stuttgart (5 to 26 November 1965), art promoter Carl Laszlo came visiting from Basel, Switzerland. He was interested in promoting computer art. For this pur­pose, he suggested to put an announcement into an art and lifestyle magazine he published by the time: Panderma. Such an announcement actually appeared in 1966.

For this promotion, a name had to be coined under which the new kind of art should come to be no­ticed. (Those were the years of ever new brands of art appearing.) The name was chosen to be: compArt. It was used in Nake’s book Ästhetik als Informationsverarbeitung (Springer Verlag Vienna, 1974) to identify Nake's earliest package of programs.

When Susanne Grabowski, Matthias Krauß, and Frieder Nake joined in 1999 to cooperate on com­puter art, they took up and revitalized the old word.