25 - 28 NOVEMBER 2008

Fabrica, Benetton’s communication research centre, hosts on 25-28 November a workshop held by futurologist and author Bruce Sterling, one of the founders and leading promulgators of cyberpunk sci-fi. The Sterling workshop theme takes its cue from the concept of generative art, i.e. a process which develops with a certain degree of autonomy to produce a work of art or design.

When generative art is computer-based, windows are opened onto otherwise unimaginable fields of human creativity. The computer becomes a vehicle for exploring new territories and boosting our understanding of creativity as an inseparable synthesis of art and science. In this perspective, Sterling’s seminar, entitled “Generative Art and Design: Critical Assessments“, starts off from the statement of fact that it is becoming increasingly easy nowadays to create a software that generates fonts, pictures, videos, music and even furniture.

The provocative question to which Sterling and Fabrica’s young people will try to provide an answer is whether these products have any value or whether they are just rubbish, i.e. the meaningless results of a mechanical process. And moreover, how important is the designer’s creativity, i.e. what is the relationship between a generative software creation process – defined by an inevitable human component – and the results which that software generates completely autonomously?

The workshop will also be enriched by a contribution from the critic and curator Marco Mancuso, director and founder of Digicult, who will attend the presentation of the workshop’s results and offer his comments as a conclusion to the proceedings.

The workshop programme is an integral part of Fabrica’s long-held tradition of intercultural creativity and sensitivity to social and environmental issues. Workshops have over the past few months been run by Cameron Sinclair, founder of Architecture for Humanity and the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader for 2008; and Kevin Slavin, founder of the award-winning New York media and game design firm, Area/Code.

Bruce Sterling was born in Texas in 1954. He debuted on the international scene with sci-fi stories, thus helping to establish the cyberpunk movement. His writings include short stories, literary reviews, editorials, and articles published in leading publications like Wired and MAKE . He is considered one of today’s leading design futurologists.