# Charting Artistic Rigor: How Kandinsky influences three new media artists

Wassily Kandinsky was a prominent artist, theorist, and educator. Among his distinctions Kandinsky is lauded by the art world for being the “principal progenitor” of abstract painting. One reason for this title are the numerous abstract paintings he created from the early 1900’s until his death in 1944. Another reason are two books he wrote outlining and justifying his theories and techniques for abstract painting. The two books are Concerning the Spiritual in Art (1911) and Point and Line to Plane (1926). In the prior book Kandinsky outlines his motivation to paint abstract geometric shapes. The latter book builds on the first by formalizing techniques of composition, balance, and form. The totality of these theories and techniques Kandinsky calls the “science of art”.

This science of art led Kandinsky to make paintings that endure today. This is evident by the many major museums that conserve and exhibit Kandinsky’s work. What is not evident however, is how his science of art endures. This thesis aims to answer that question through a comparisons of form, theory, and technique. This thesis will compare Composition 8 (1923) by Kandinsky to three contemporary works: Frankenfont (2011) by Fathom Information Design, Flight Patterns (2005) by Aaron Koblin, and 24 Drones (2015) by ELEVENPLAY x Rhizomatiks Research. This thesis will argue for Kandinsky’s influence on these artists through three tenets of his science of art: surface, precision, and dissonance. These three artists’ work, like Composition 8, are emblematic of each artist’s process and approach. Finally, these three artists all operate in the domain of New Media, a recent genre of art focused on harnessing technology for the purpose of expression. By drawing clear connections to these artists, the case is made for Kandinsky’s influence on New Media Arts.