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Roman Verostko

Roman Verostko, co-founder of the Algorists, identifies with first- generation pioneers of computer art who create original algorithms for generating their art. Born in 1929 in Tarrs, Pennsylvania and schooled as an illustrator at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (1947-49), his interests turned to monastic life at Saint Vincent Archabbey in 1950. In the following nine years he avidly pursued studies in philosophy, theology and history acquiring a deep understanding of the scholastic syllogism and logical argument. He created the book WIM, The Upsidedown Book, for the dedication of the Fred Rogers Center at Saint Vincent College, which features larger panels of the works in the book.

This study complemented his deep interest in spirituality and the nature of interior experience. As an ordained priest in 1959, Verostko was sent to New York and Paris where he pursued further study in art history and studio practice. This learning informed both his art projects at St Vincent and his later pioneer work with algorithmic art. Many of the inquiries that have been central to Verostko’s artistic practice originate from his time here at Saint Vincent.

In 1968, Verostko left the monastery and joined the humanities faculty at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 1970, following an introduction to programming language at the Control Data Institute in Minneapolis and a summer at MIT’s Center for Advanced Visual Studies in Boston, he saw the awesome leverage of algorithms executed with computers. Within a decade he converted his studio into an “electronic scriptorium” with computers and drawing machines known as “pen plotters”. Guided by Verostko’s algorithms these plotters generated drawings unlike anything he had ever seen before. For him, the computer served as a pathway to new frontiers of form and he committed his studio entirely to exploring this new frontier. Verostko’s experimental process of writing computer code for creative purposes would occupy his studio practice for decades. Perennially interested in semiotics, philosophy, and cross- cultural exchange, Verostko’s work exists at the nexus of creativity and technological innovation.