The Computer Generation (1972)

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Incomplete version of The Computer Generation, a 1972 documentary featuring the artist Stan Vanderbeek.

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The Artist and the Computer

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1976 documentary about Lillian Schwartz's work with computers.
via YouTube user crystalsculpture3

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Psychoactive Wallpapers (2008) by Roglok

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Psychoactive Wallpapers (2008) by Roglok


"Welcome to my jazzy collection of Psychoactive Wallpapers. My aim in this project is to generate static and animated .gif images with a low filesize that provide interesting visual effects. I am inspired by the Structural Film movement of the 60's and 70's as well as stereographic 3d images and early webdesign."

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Go With the Flow

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Fluxus is an art-historical movement that shares much in common with new media and is among our field's forebears. Its trajectory reads much like new media's: A network of experimental artists, scattered across the world, dissatisfied with the market's stagnant influence on art, concerned with art's ability to address the present moment, and intrigued by the interplay between concept and medium banded together to collaborate, creatively challenge each other, and co-theorize their niche. The word "fluxus" refers to "flow" and the idea of a fluidity between various media, as we now see in the ever-expanding field of new media art. Fluxus emerged in the 1960s and thrived through the late-1970s. Today, scholars and critics split hairs as to whether the movement is still in play, while its legacy continues to blossom--as in the current exhibition at New York's Maya Stendhal Gallery. "From Fluxus to Media Art," open through April 26, traces the DIY aesthetic embraced by members of the international Fluxus movement, and presents work whose signifying moments occur at the interstices of performance, film, literature, and electronic media. The show traces the movement's relationship to Dada and surrealism and its influence upon pop art, but has a stated interest in considering the path Fluxus paved for media art. Included is work by Jonas Mekas, George Maciunas, George Brecht, Andy Warhol, Nam June Paik, Shigeko Kubota, and Studio IMC. Many of the seminal projects and important pieces of ephemera on view make a trademark critique of authorship, while also paying homage to peers and collaborators within the movement. In the interest of knowing the history of the present, you're encouraged to see this exhibition. - Marisa Olson


Image: Nam June Paik, Majestic, 1975 reset 1996

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Gary Gygax (1938-2008)

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Gaming visionary Gary Gygax, co-creator of the Dungeons and Dragons universe, passed away on Tuesday, March 4th, 2008. He was 69. Gygax is credited as the father of role-playing games (RPGs), but D&D's influence has permeated almost every genre of gaming since it was first published in 1974. Perhaps what's most remarkable about the game is that, in its basic form, D&D is only a set of rules and suggestions. The creative aspects of the game are left in the hands of the players. With only a few multi-sided dice, a pencil, and some graph paper, D&D players devise fantastic worlds, develop complex characters, and engage in dynamic group experiences. The imaginative agency provided by the game and its participatory nature may be its greatest contribution to the foundations of contemporary game design. Video games have been particularly inspired by D&D, as many of the designers and coders behind some of the most important titles in video game history grew up rolling a 20-sided die. It's hard to imagine the existence of Richard Allen Garriott's Ultima series, Hironobu Sakaguchi and Yoshitaka Amano's Final Fantasy series, or Blizzard's World of Warcraft without the game play mechanics established in D&D. Even the internet itself owes a little bit to Gygax. From late-70's MUDs to the massively multiplayer online games of today, the development of networked, D&D influenced RPGs has both paralleled and pushed the development of the web towards creativity and collaboration. Artists such as Brody Condon have translated the form of role-playing to the gallery. For Untitled War (2004), Condon invited twelve warriors to fight until their "death" at the Los Angeles space Machine Project. The taxing two hour long performance, accompanied by the music of the Winks ...

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Signed and Numbered

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On January 18, Northwestern University's Block Museum of Art, located 15 minutes north of Chicago, will open an exhibition of major value to those with an interest in the relationship between art, technology, and design. Imaging by Numbers: A Historical View of the Computer Print surveys the work of over 40 international artists who have, since the 1950s, worked with computers to make drawings and fine prints. The show emphasizes artists who have penned their own code or collaborated with engineers to create custom programs for the production of images. The very concept of "drawing" is tested in works such as Ben Laposky's and Herbert Franke's photos of electronic wave forms (here the electronics do the drawing and the artist documents it), and the tools used to make the works range from DIY printers to fancy 3D-imaging software. Artists Lane Hall and Roman Verostko combine "traditional" and digital methods in their work, while Joshua Davis and C.E.B. Reas hack software programs to produce contemporary works. The sixty pieces in this show, curated by Debora Wood and Paul Hertz, are contextualized by a complementary exhibit called Space, Color, and Motion, which presents time-based installation projects by four artists exhibited in Imaging by Numbers: Jean-Pierre Hebert, Manfred Mohr, James Paterson, and C.E.B. Reas. The museum is also presenting an ambitious slate of public events, including gallery talks, studio workshops, a screening of early computer animations and a symposium entitled "Patterns, Pixels, and Process: Discussing the History of the Computer Print". This all adds up to one remarkable program. If you can't make it to Illinois, check out the slide shows and video samples online. - Marisa Olson



Image: Tony Robbin, Drawing 53, 2004

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