Drawing Machines


Ivan Sutherland MIT 1963 (Action starts at 4:20)

Computational art before computers?

Tinguely, swiss kinetic sculptor known for the self destructing machine.
In the 50s produced a body of work known as metamatics. A parody of American action painting.

In the same period matematician and artist Ben Laposky (American from Iowa),
made the first computer generated images, photographing the output of an oscilloscope.

Desmond Paul Henry (British) used bombsight analogue computers which were employed in World War II bombers to calculate the accurate release of bombs onto their target.

These artists seemed to be fascinated by the apparent randomness (unpredictability) of these machines and let them “do their thing”.
On the opposite side of the spectrum there is Sol LeWitt who didn’t use computers but conceived many of his works as a series of instructions. As if they were meant to be created by machines (art gallery interns).

This is the result of the sequence of instructions.
What is the status of authorship and ownership when the works are just instructions that anybody can execute?

Computer art

Georg Nees 1965-1968.
In the mid-60 computer begin to become relatively more accessible and the first printers (plotters) become available.
Georg Nees – Schotter 1968.
Nees had to write his own graphics libraries. His works often deals with order vs disorder.
He also made the world’s first computer-generated sculpture in 1968 using a computer aided milling machines.
Vera Molnar Interruptions-1968-69.
The computer art movement was international. Vera Molnar was a French Hungarian artist.

Manfred Mohr – Random Walk 1969
Frieder Nake, Nr. 2 (also known as Hommage to Paul Klee) 1965
Herbert W. Franke’s Serie Mondrian (1980), a software created for the Texas Instruments TI 99/4 home computer. Serie Mondrian produced Mondrian-style images according to user defined parameters.

Mark Wilson – STL D30 (1986)
In the 80’ computer generated abstraction grows in complexity. And can be printed in full colors.
Mark Wilson – Small Three Skew (1983)

Many of these artists are still around but in the ‘90s computer art morphed into new media art and interactivity and social engagement became the main focus for artists working with technology.

With the democratization of robotics, drawing machines started to get out of the gallery (see graffiti writer) and became more autonomous.

Cory Arcangel gradient works are a playful post-modern legacy of computer art.

Cory Arcangel
Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient “Spectrum”, mousedown y=1098 x=1749.9, mouse up y=0 x=4160
Cory Arcangel
Photoshop CS: 110 x 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient “Spectrum,” mousedown y=27450 x=6700, mouseup y=4800 x=13400, 2010
The preset gradient as pop culture reference that many recognize.
Cory Arcangel
Photoshop CS: 110 by 72 inches, 300 DPI, RGB, square pixels, default gradient “Spectrum”, mousedown y=1098 x=1749.9, mouse up y=0 x=4160
Low end sloppiness vs high end packaging
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