<< 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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>> Georg Nees

Jasia Reichardt in "The Computer in Art", 1971:
"Georg Nees, one of the first exponents in the field, has made graphics based on random parameters, developing one or two themes with great ingenuity and using repetition as his subject."

to the work shown here:

Schotter by George Nees

This work by Nees is a portrait-format graphic assembled from twelve sets of twenty-two squares, each set having the same length along the sides. Read from left to right, as one would read a European language, it shows disorder that increases from top to bottom as one views the graphic. The visible defines the order, which is not the same as the order of the pictures, but an optimal state in which the squares lie along a horizontal line, forming a row in which each one is set precisely beside the next one, so that straight lines are formed by the upper and lower edges. This state is not seen in the picture as illustrated here. Row by row, the state of disorder successively increases down to the lower border of the picture. The program creates disorder through the rotation of each square at the point of intersection of its diagonal, and also through the increasing distortion in the graphic space.


"Image 38, Schotter, is produced by invoking the SERIE procedure [...]. The non-parametric procedure QUAD serves to generate the elementary figure which is reproduced multiple times in the composition process controlled by SERIE. QUAD is located in lines 4 through 15 of the generator. This procedure draws squares with sides of constant length but at random locations and different angles. From lines 9 and 10, it can be seen that the position of a single square is influenced by random generator J1, and the angle placement by J2. The successively increasing variation between the relative coordinates P and Q, and the angle position PSI of a given square, is controlled by the counter index I, which is invoked by each call from QUAD (see line 14)."

Schotter code

(from: http://www.chart.ac.uk/chart2004/papers/weiss.html)

"On the occasion of Georg Nees’s 80th birthday, the ZKM continues its series on early computer art, inaugurated by an exhibition of the works of Frieder Nake, with this co-operative exhibition organized in 2005 by the Bremen Kunsthalle. Along with Herbert Franke and Frieder Nake, Nees is looked upon as one of the pioneers of computer art. In 1959, he began to program digital computers. In 1965, he procured for his department at Siemens a table-sized, punched tape-operated drawing automaton constructed by Konrad Zuse, the »Zuse-Graphomat«, which could move a descendible drawing pencil in two right-angled axes over a page of drawing paper. Nees recalls: »There it was, the great temptation for me, for once not to represent something technical with this machine but rather something ‘useless’ – geometrical patterns«. Together with Nake, Nees organized in Stuttgart the first exhibition of computer drawings and described these expressly as »computer art«. At a time when the computer was used exclusively for military and scientific purposes, Nees succeeded in transferring algorithmic thought to art. His independent drawings are accordingly based on the programming language ALGOL and the Siemens computer system 2002 in combination with the »Zuse-Graphomat«.
In 1968, he was one of the first to submit to Max Bense, the Stuttgart aesthetic theorist of information, with a work on the aesthetic categories of computer graphics, entitled »Generative Computer Graphics«." (http://on1.zkm.de/zkm/stories/storyReader$5255)

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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.