Return to Planet Claire (1981) - Sue Forner and Rick Frankel

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This is an example of early computer graphics animation developed by students at the Electronic Visualization Lab using the Datamax UV-1 and Zgrass.

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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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Eleven Evocations (For Paper Rad)

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The following essay was first published in the catalog for the exhibition curated by Raphael Gygax "Deterioration, They Said" which is on view at the migros museum für gegenwartskunst in Zurich, Switzerland until November 8, 2009.

1. The popular dissemination of magical worlds has ultimately shifted from folk tales to children’s television. Paper Rad takes back this process from commercial channels, creating their own ever-shifting cosmos populated by robots, spaceships, monsters, talking animals, giants and wizards.

Like H. P. Lovecraft or J.R.R. Tolkein, Paper Rad created their own mythos, a set of characters that jointly share a fantasy world. Like Warner Brothers or Disney, Paper Rad circulate their creations across media—websites, comics, animated videos, sculptures, screen prints—thereby establishing themselves as the creators of both an imaginary alternative universe and an audio-visual brand.

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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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From Left to Right (1989) - Ivan Maximov

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Logo (2009) - Oliver Jennings

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Serie Mondrian (1980) - Herbert W. Franke

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Stills, above, from Herbert W. Franke's Serie Mondrian, a software created for the Texas Instruments TI 99/4 home computer. Serie Mondrian produced Mondrian-style images according to user defined parameters. In honor of Franke's 80th birthday and in collaboration with an exhibit covering Franke's career at the Bremer Kunsthalle, in 2006 the Serie Mondrian software was adapted to work on Windows XP.

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Racing the Beam: The Atari VCS as Platform

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Considering the evolution of video game consoles (seven generations and counting), the cultural significance of the Atari VCS alone would justify another book-length appraisal. However, Nick Montfort and Ian Bogost's collaborative text Racing the Beam, published this past spring by MIT Press, was developed with a broader mandate in mind. The book is the first in a new series dedicated to a "platform-focused" approach to media scholarship. A cultural reading of the Atari VCS would address aesthetics or "reception" to the console and Bogost and Montfort argue that it is possible to drill down from that strata of analysis to interface, then form/function (narratology) through to code. The scholars acknowledge that while code has become a nexus within media scholarship in recent years, it is possible to dig deeper still to platform - "the basic hardware and software systems upon which programming takes place... the foundation for computational expression." The subsequent analysis of the Atari VCS is firmly grounded in the technical capabilities of the system. Under this scrutiny the figure of the console melts away. Racing the Beam surveys six seminal cartridges in relation to key components which include the MOS Technology 6502 microprocessor, the Peripheral Interface Adaptor chip (PIA), memory and the pivotal Television Interface Adaptor (TIA) - the operation of which inspired the moniker of the book. This sounds dry (and at times it is) but the duo do a remarkable job of providing a close, nuanced reading of the design decisions, play and game space of the titles in relation to the assemblage of electronics that underpins the system.

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All Star Video (1984) - Nam June Paik with Ryuichi Sakamoto

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