From Mind to Machine: computer drawing in art history

The computer, like any tool or machine, extends human capabilities.  But it is unique in that it extends the power of the mind as well as the hand.   Robert Mallary, 1976

Read my essay From Mind to Machine, computer drawing in art history, just published in the catalogue to coincide with the Writing New Codes exhibition at the Mayor Gallery, Cork Street. 

Robert Mallary, QUAD III, laminated plywood, 1969 courtesy the Mayor Gallery

I was inspired by the above quote from American pioneer of computer arts, Robert Mallary (1917-1997), whose work will be on view in the show from 6 June, along with drawings by Vera Molnár and Waldemar Cordeiro.  The fully illustrated catalogue can be purchased from the Gallery. 

See also this review by Colin Gleadell in the Daily Telegraph.

 

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Computer Art Image of the Month articles for BCS archive now on-line

All my BCS Image of the Month articles are now archived on-line at the Computer Arts Society.  With thanks to Sean Clark for his sterling work on this.

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Remembering Cybernetic Serendipity

Fifty years on from Cybernetic Serendipity, the 1968 exhibition of computer art, Studio International remembers the impact and legacy of this seminal show.  Read my article which looks at the history of the exhibition and how it has shaped digital art in the years since.

AND Congratulations to Paul Brown for his show Process, Chance, and Serendipity: Art That Makes Itself at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington D.C. on now until 15 July 2018.  Read a review in the New Scientist.

 

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Roger Law show at the Sainsbury Centre, Norwich

Don’t miss the wonderful Roger Law exhibition at the Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts (running until 3 April).  A chance to see not only the famous Spitting Image puppets (and a new Trump puppet!), but also his ceramics – beautifully delineated with intricate imagery.

Roger Law Fish and Seahorses II Charger, 2016 hand-carved porcelain with celadon glaze, assisted by Mr Wu Son Ming

 

 

What an amazing draughtsman is Law, see his sketchbook drawings in pen, ink & watercolour, on public view for the first time here.

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Showcase on TRT World

Thrilled to be a part of Showcase, the arts program on TRT World television on 14 November, with thanks to Belle Lupton.  Watch me again here, speaking about the effects of technology on art. 

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Call to Artists – CONNECTION : OPEN 2018

CONNECTION : OPEN 2018  – Celebrating the best East Anglian art to launch Wells Maltings Art Space

The exciting launch exhibition at the new Wells Maltings art space, opening Spring 2018 will bring together the best artists with an affinity to the East Anglian Region within the landmark Maltings buildings on Staithe Street, Wells-next-the-Sea, Norfolk.  Open to all artists who have connections with East Anglia (2-dimensional work only please), submit your work here – deadline mid-March next year.  Show opens late April 2018 and will run throughout the summer.  Don’t miss being a part of this new venture.  With thanks to my fellow selectors – artist Tracey Ross, Veronica Sekules of the Groundwork Gallery Kings Lynn and Simon Daykin General Manager of the Maltings.

 

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Lecture – Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

Come to my forthcoming lecture in Dundee –

“A huge space of endless predetermined possibilities”: Computer art and the influence of D’Arcy Thompson

On 8 November 6pm, I’m thrilled to be going to the D’Arcy Thompson Zoology Museum to talk about how the writing of code has been used to draw since digital computing technology became accessible to artists from the mid-1960s.  This year is the 100th anniversary of D’Arcy W Thompson’s book On Growth and Form (1917) which had a formative influence on the pioneers of algorithmic art.

William Latham muta6, 2014 (detail)

 

In this talk we will learn how complex and visually arresting imagery often comes from surprisingly simple sets of instructions. We will discover that the use of the computer offers “a huge space of endless predetermined possibilities.” (William Latham, artist)

Co-organised with the Abertay Historical Society as part of NEoN Digital Arts Festival supported by Creative Scotland.  Book your ticket here

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Richard Long at Houghton Hall Norfolk

Wonderful, site-specific Richard Long work.  Made of local Carrstone, a natural sandstone seen in this part of Norfolk particularly in domestic architecture (often called ‘gingerbread’ in N W Norfolk).  A Line in Norfolk embodies the artist’s concepts of nature combined with physical action and gives a true feeling of place.

Richard Long, A Line in Norfolk, installed at Houghton Hall, 2017

Part of the large and impressive EARTH SKY exhibition running at Houghton Hall until end October.

 

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Remembering Tony Pritchett

Tony Prichett with camera, Somerset House 2008

I was saddened to hear of the death of Tony Pritchett in August this year.  For those who don’t know, Tony created The Flexipede in 1967, the first fully surviving work of computer animation created in Britain.  I first met Tony in 2002 and he was always supportive of my research into the history of computer arts in Britain, never losing patience with my often limited grasp at that time of the technical aspects of the subject.  I asked him how he came to create the Flexipede and why.  After giving a detailed explanation, I then asked him who he had told this story to and where it was published, thinking I would look up some more aspects later.  He replied that “no one has ever asked me before” !  This I found astonishing – the man who created the first British computer-generated animation should by rights be a household name nearly 30 years later.  I feel enormously privileged to be one of the first to finally publish his story, which you can read in chapter 9 of The Computer in the Art Room.

Tony Prichett, still from The Flexipede, 1967

Tony loved filmmaking, often making recordings and videos of Computer Arts Society events, lectures and parties.  I remember him filming me giving a speech at the book launch of The Computer in the Art Room at Somerset House in 2008.  He was an early member of the CAS and could always be counted on for support and enthusiasm.  It was typical of his kindness in supporting me at the Bits in Motion film screening I held at the NFT in 2006 (below).  In addition to his computer arts activities, he told me he was interested in homeopathy and edited Positive News at one time.   A very cultured and considerate gentleman, who will be greatly missed.

Malcolm LeGrice, Tony Pritchett & Nina Emmett, panel members at Bits in Motion, NFT 2006

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Wells Maltings Arts

I am thrilled to join the Wells Maltings Trust as Art Advisor.   The Wells Maltings is a historic Grade II listed building in Saithe Street, Wells next the Sea, Norfolk currently being redeveloped to create North Norfolk’s Premier Arts & Heritage Centre.  I am devising a programme of exhibitions and arts events for the new art space, under construction and due to open Spring 2018.

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