Quantifying Aesthetic Perception: the Point of View of Digital Arts – Dr Aline Guillermet


Quantifying Aesthetic Perception: the Point of View of Digital Arts

Aline Guillermet, University of Cambridge

10 June 2021



Can we quantify and model aesthetic perception? Preliminary answers to this question date back to the American psychologist G. T. Buswell’s How We Look at Picture (1935), and to the French physicist Abraham Moles’ prediction that the ‘emotion engineers’ of the future would be able to ‘program aesthetic pleasure’. Recent research in the field of digital art history updates these debates from different perspectives. This paper considers a series of a digital art history studies dealing with the quantification of aesthetic perception in light of recent digital artworks by Erica Scourti, Jonas Lund, and Toby Ziegler. Dr Guillermet argues that digital arts offer a vantage point from which to consider the methodological and philosophical challenges that emerge from the application of quantitative methods to the history of art.


This presentation was delivered at the (en)coding Heritage Seminar Series, which brough together researchers working at the cutting edge of digital technologies, humanities and heritage science. The session was dedicated to Mapping Real and Imagined Sites. The full programme can be found here


Organised and chaired by Dr Lia Costiner (University of Oxford) and Dr Leonardo Impett (Durham University) for the Oxford (en)coding Heritage Network.

(en)coding Heritage Network, TORCH Networks