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17 JANUARY 2011

Computer Art at the Victoria and Albert Museum

"The V&A has been collecting computer–generated art and design since the 1960s. More recently, the Museum acquired two significant collections of computer–generated art and design, and together these form the basis of the UK's emerging national collection of Computer Art.

The Museum's holdings range from early experiments with analogue computers and mechanical devices, to examples of contemporary software–based practices that produce digital prints and computer–generated drawings. The earliest work in the collection dates from 1952 and is a long exposure photograph of electronic beams on an analogue computer, by artist Ben Laposky.

More recently, the V&A has acquired a large digital inkjet print from 2008, which is nearly two metres long and was created using pixel mapping software designed by American artist Mark Wilson.

The collection consists predominately of two–dimensional works on paper, such as plotter drawings, screenprints, inkjet prints, laser prints and photographs, as well as artists' books, from around the world. Early practitioners of computer art were working in Britain, France, Germany, and Spain, as well as the United States, Japan and South America."

(Victoria and Albert Museum)

Fig.1 Herbert W. Franke 'Oscillogramm' (1956)

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
08 FEBRUARY 2010

Digital Pioneers: the first decades of the computer's history in art and design

"This display provides an overview of the first decades of the computer's history in art and design. It includes some of the earliest computer–generated works in the V&A's collections, many of which have never been exhibited in the UK before. From the 1960s until the early 1980s, digital pioneers worked directly with computer hardware and software to produce graphic images unlike anything that had gone before. Some artists went on to use increasingly sophisticated software packages, while others continued to work directly with the hardware itself.

The display includes plotter drawings, screenprints, digital inkjet prints, photographs and animations, as well as important documentary material from the time. It features pioneers working in science and industry during the 1950s and 60s, such as Frieder Nake, Georg Nees and Herbert W. Franke. Artists who worked with the computer in the 1970s and 80s include Paul Brown, Harold Cohen, Manfred Mohr and Vera Molnar. The show also encompasses more recent works by James Faure Walker, Jean Pierre–Hébert, Roman Verostko and Mark Wilson

Digital Pioneers offers a historical context for contemporary digital practice, and is scheduled to coincide with the V&A exhibition Decode: Digital Design Sensations."

(The Victoria and Albert Museum, UK)

Fig.1 Herbert W. Franke, Squares (Quadrate), screenprint, 1969/70. Given by the Computer Arts Society, supported by System Simulation Ltd, London. Museum no. E.113–2008

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CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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