Video Selections from the Electronic Visualization Laboratory's First Decade

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A joint initiative between the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Engineering and School of Art & Design, the Electronic Visualization Laboratory has long operated as a center for interdisciplinary research in art and computer science. Founded in 1973 by artist Daniel Sandin (creator of the Sandin Image Processor, a crucial tool for video artists in the 1970s) and computer scientist Tom DeFanti (developer of the GRASS programming language), over the years EVL has sponsored pivotal research and development in the field of visualization, resulting in output such as the virtual reality theater CAVE (Cave Automatic Virtual Environment) in 1992, the GeoWall in 2001, Varrier in 1999 and the LambdaTable in 2004.

Admittedly, one day of videos is not enough to cover the breadth of EVL's work from the past 36 years. That said, today we will post selections by EVL's faculty and students from the first decade. These clips capture the playfulness and excitement of their creators, as they experiment with new tools and techniques. All of these videos were sourced from EVL's YouTube account, which includes original work and documentation up to the present day.

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FANTASY VISION MEDITATION (MEGAMIX) (2008) - Ivan Lozano

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FANTASY VISION MEDITATION (MEGAMIX) from Ivan Lozano on Vimeo.


Structured as a continuous mix of videos from a recent series investigating the parallel historical narratives of disco, gay liberation movements and AIDS. A phantasmagoric elegy for the fallen soldiers in the hidden cultural wars of the 70s and 80s by transforming two sources generally dismissed as vapid and disposable. The musical collaboration between disco singer Sylvester James (a victim of AIDS) and producer Patrick Cowley (who succumbed to AIDS less than three months after the disease was codified) and A Night At Halsted's by queer porn auteur Fred Halsted (who overdosed on sleeping pills after the death of his lover from AIDS) who helped in defining the culture of the era. A labor-intensive digital exegesis of the unconscious spiritual elements hidden in the originals.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S STATEMENT

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Untitled (1974) - Mark Wilson

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Of course, there was certainly a long history of machines and technology inspiring 20th century artists. The path of geometry, technology, and art was in part formed by the late paintings of Kandinsky, Mondrian’s Broadway Boogie Woogie, and the machine aesthetic of artists like Charles Sheeler and Gerald Murphy. I was also influenced by the work of artists who were currently involved with imagery of machines and technology. For example, I loved the graphics of the London-based avant-garde architectural group, Archigram, and the Pop Art prints and paintings of the Scottish artist, Eduardo Paolozzi. There were also contemporary collaborative experiments like E.A.T—Experiments in Art and Technology—at MOMA, and Art and Technology, an exhibition of collaborations between artists and engineers, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

-- FROM AN INTERVIEW WITH THE ARTIST

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Sesame Street Highlights

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First airing in 1969, Sesame Street was an innovation in educational television. In addition to producing its own live action sequences, the show reached into the worlds of film and animation and commissioned work from studios such as Jeff Hale's Imagination, Inc., John and Faith Hubley's Storyboard Films, and Jim Simon's Wantu Enterprises. The program also pioneered the use of early computer graphics from the Scanimate analog computer courtesy of Dolphin Productions in New York City. All of these elements combined to create some of the most adventurous and artistic children's programming ever shown on television. Here are some highlights:


by Imagination, Inc.


by Imagination, Inc.


by Imagination, Inc.


by Imagination, Inc.


by Imagination, Inc.


by John and Faith Hubley's Storyboard Films


by Steve Finkin with Joan La Barbara


by Steve Finkin


by Owe Gustafson


by Owe Gustafson


by Jim Henson


by Jim Henson


by Frank Oz


by Wantu Enterprises
















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Interview with Hollis Frampton by Esther Harriott (1978)

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From the program "Conversations in the Arts" produced at the State University of New York at Buffalo. This video is a 2-part interview edited to one piece.

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Interview with Paul Sharits by Gerald O'Grady (1976)

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Paul Sharits Interviewed by Gerald O'Grady in 1976
From the series Film-Makers, WNED Buffalo.

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Fantasy (1976) - Vincent Collins

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Required Reading

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Art Fag City started their artist essay series, IMG MGMT, again this week with "Zappos Selbstdarstellung" by Joel Holmberg. In this essay, Holmberg considers the corporate culture of the online shoe company Zappos, which encourages the individual expression of its employees through social media outlets, content it then uses to build their overall brand. Holmberg makes the observation that this communal bonding through self-expression is similar to the Selbstdarstellung performances acted out by members of Otto Muehl’s Action Analysis Commune. Here, members were to "reveal one's freest self" through "spontaneous acts of self-representation." What results is "joy-bordering-on-desperation," as members were pushed to test their own boundaries by the larger group. The Zappos example illustrates the contemporary corporate adaptation of psychological practices used in various social experiments from the 1960s and 1970s, a subject elaborated in greater detail by filmmaker Adam Curtis in The Century of the Self.

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Multiple Views

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Artist Dan Graham (born 1942) has embraced a wide range of media and genres including film, video, performance, installation, architecture (he collaborated with Jeff Wall in 1989 to build Children’s Pavilion), women’s magazines (Figurative—made in 1965 and reproduced in Harper’s Bazaar in 1968), and rock music (where he has collaborated with musicians such as Glenn Branca and Sonic Youth). Graham is well known for his documentary Rock My Religion (1982-84), a fifty-two minute video that explores the religious and spiritual tendencies underlying the American obsession with rock music. In the exhibition catalog for Don’t Trust Anyone Over Thirty, Diedrich Diederichsen claims that this video is “one of the most important texts on the theory of rock music.” Rock My Religion, as well as many other of these interdisciplinary projects are included in Graham’s current solo show, Dan Graham: Beyond, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City.

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Video Weavings (excerpt) (1976) - Stephen Beck

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My work is to make something beautiful with technology. I believe in spiritual technology. Video Weavings is a link between the modern (video) and the ancient (weaving) technologies. Video Weavings are based on poetic mathematical rhymes, or algorithms, visualized in real time on the warp and weft of video's horizontal and vertical scanning electron beams, color phosphors, plasma cells, and LCD pixels.

-- FROM THE ARTIST'S DESCRIPTION

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