Towards an Ontology of Computational Technologies as Tools for Aesthetic Creation

  • Rodrigo Hernández-Ramírez Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Keywords: Aesthetics, Computational Technology, Media, Modelling, Ontology, Philosophy of Information, Post-phenomenology


Computational technologies have significantly expanded the horizons of aesthetic creation; nonetheless, their wider ontological status as tools remains poorly understood. This limitation hinders our ability to assess their true impact on aesthetic practices and limits our means to establish the relationship between computer generated artefacts and previous forms of ‘media’. This paper argues that understanding and categorising the things computational technologies are able to do as aesthetic tools also requires understanding what type of tools they are. Following recent insights from philosophy of information and post-phenomenology, this paper begins by showing computational technologies are no ordinary mediators, but truly ‘multi-stable’ appliances which are leading us to reformulate our very notions of reality and self-understanding. While delivering a fully-fledged ontological model falls outside of its scope, this paper nonetheless suggests that within aesthetic contexts, computational devices may be initially described as information modelling appliances. This characterisation offers an alternative to their increasingly less adequate portrayal as ‘media’.

Author Biography

Rodrigo Hernández-Ramírez, Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Lisbon, Portugal
Rodrigo Hernández-Ramírez (Mexico City, 1982) is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Fine Arts at the University of Lisbon, Portugal. He is a member of the Centre for Research and Studies in Fine Arts (CIEBA) at the same institution. His research interests include photography, new media, videogames, software studies and philosophy of technology. His current research focuses on the ontological nature of computational technology and its impact on aesthetic practices, as seen through the lens of philosophy of information.


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