<< preface

this blog is nina wenhart's collection of resources on the various histories of new media art. it consists mainly of non or very little edited material i found flaneuring on the net, sometimes with my own annotations and comments, sometimes it's also textparts i retyped from books that are out of print.

it is also meant to be an additional resource of information and recommended reading for my students of the prehystories of new media class that i teach at the school of the art institute of chicago in fall 2008.

the focus is on the time period from the beginning of the 20th century up to today.

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>> Jasia Reichardt, The Computer in Art

Jasia Reichardt,
The Computer in Art

Studio Vista, 1971
ISBN: 0289795524

Excerpt from the introduction:

"Computer-aided art is one of the most important links between art and technology. During the last decade functional designs for industry as well as non-functional pictures for pleasure have been produced with the computer. Computer-produced drawings are the work of people from a wide variety of disciplines - a few of them are artists, but most of them are the engineers who have access to computers and their various graphics peripherals, as well as the know-how to use them. The computer has thus enabled people without the ability to draw so much as the simplest design to produce pictures that are both intricate and visually satisfying. Artists generally have to rely on collaboration with engineers to produce computer-aided pictures, though more and more are now learning computer programming, and special computer languages are being devised to meet the requirements of art departments of universities."

"Most art movements are remembered for the relatively few great works which are associated with them and the exceptional individuals who brought them about. [...] Since the early 50ies, however, there have been two international movements which in this context constitute an exception. An exception in the sense that there are no masterpieces to be associated with them, nevertheless these two movements have a unique significance both socially and artistically. The first of these is Concrete Poetry, and the second, Computer Art. The salient points are that both these movements are international, that they are motivated by the use of media, technique, and method, rather than an ideology, and that those participating in them come from a variety of professions, disciplines, and walks of life.
"... one can assume that there are no more than about 1000 people in the world working with computer graphics for purposes other than the practical ones of designing machine tools, car bodies, or the distribution of structural supports for buildings."
The role of the computer in the arts extends beyond its actual use, for there are many works based on the ethos of computer technology but which have not been made with the aid of the computer or its peripherals. Many interactive devices, sound and visual systems are ingenious cybernetic environments which operate on a feedback system owe their existence directly to those principles on which computer hardware and software are based. [...] Whereas this particular field appears to have a far greater potential than computer-generated art, which in the early 1970ies is largely limited to computer graphics, it is the computer graphics that forms the core and basis of computer art to date."

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... is a Media Art historian and independent researcher. She is currently writing on "speculative archiving && experimental preservation of Media Art" and graduated from Prof. Oliver Grau's Media Art Histories program at the Danube University in Krems, Austria with a Master Thesis on Descriptive Metadata for Media Arts. For many years, she has been working in the field of archiving/documenting Media Art, recently at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Media.Art.Research and before as the head of the Ars Electronica Futurelab's videostudio, where she created their archives and primarily worked with the archival material. She was teaching the Prehystories of New Media Class at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and in the Media Art Histories program at the Danube University Krems.