I am very saddened to hear of the death of Herbert Franke (1927-2022). He was always very kind an helpful to me whenever I had a question, particularly about the early years of computer art in Germany. He was a polymath – a pioneer and innovator of algorithmic and generative art creation, right up to the last. We worked together in 2013 on an article for ITNow, the magazine of the British Computer Society, published February that year. Above is an image from that time, which he sent me in advance of its publication.
Thrilled to be participating in the Liquid Crystal Concrete Summer Research Seminar Series at the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art. My session will be focusing on the history of British Cybernetics and how this led to the creation of computer and digital art. Secondly, I will be in conversation with pioneering computer & computational artist Ernest Edmonds, to discuss how cybernetics has influenced the development of his work.
25 May, 6-7.30pm : Join me on Zoom (or in person – London!) get a free ticket from Eventbrite
My latest research on artist Robert Mallary (1917-1997) has just been published, part of the Review of Machine Art Special Issue of Arts. Read “An Element of Perfection: The Transductive Art of Robert Mallary”. Before the realm of techno-art became a recognizable construct, Mallary was interested in a system of relationships, seeking in his words, ‘an element of perfection’ in combinations of materials and technologies to make ‘a beautiful whole’. I argue there is an art historical trajectory of a 3D immersive type of art that takes place in a specific defined environment – a concept that I link from Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siquerios through Kurt Schwitters via Mallary and the bourgeoning field of “art & technology” in the middle decades of the 20th century.
It’s been 13 years since A Computer in the Art Room was published. My original intention was to provide a highly-illustrated, accessible introduction to a subject that was, in 2008, little explored and to give voice to the very many pioneering artists and practitioners who made work in the 1960s and 70s in Britain. For many, this was the first time they had told their stories. Sadly, a number of these individuals are no longer with us, which now makes me grateful that I was able to record their contributions in the way that I did, placing their work within a wider art historical context. Today an increasing number of scholars are working in this field and there have been many more contributions to this history; this book still contains valuable information about the early days. It’s now available as an ebook for an affordable price – see SHOP tab above. Also available on Apple Bookstore – search the title. OR CLICK HERE
If, like me, you missed the ’60s, but always wished you’d been there, be sure and read David Curtis’ new book about an aspect of London’s alternative, experimental art scene – the Arts Labs and the artists who made it possible. Read my review of the book published today in Studio International.
What if we could adjust to new creative ways of doing things, to make and experience art to keep it relevant during times of Lockdown? Use of digital technologies facilitates an art made for networks and is a way for people to have a connection through art across the globe when museums and galleries are unable to open to the public. Read my article published today in Studio International.
See also Colour Computation, an article I wrote in 2013, about artist Ernest Edmonds, featured here:
Congratulations to Mathieu Copeland on his eagerly-anticipated book which brings together all published writings of conceptual artist Gustav Metzger. Totalling nearly 700 pages and including some 350 texts this important book gives a great advantage to historians to have everything in one place, as well as a wonderful introduction to a new audience who have yet to discover this artist. Metzger invented Auto-Destructive Art and was a pioneer of computer art; he was among the first artists in Britain to consider the possible creative use of computing technologies at the same time as warning of its potential dangers. The Need for Art to Change the World – An International Symposium on Gustav Metzger, convened by Copeland took place at Zurich University of the Arts this month. I was honoured to attend, see my lecture Shouldering the Tasks of the Century.
See also my article for Studio International published last month.
Very pleased to be visiting the
Westerham Fine Arts Society to give a lecture about early 20th Century art in America on Wednesday 6 November at 8pm. Visitors welcome @ £5.
An exhibition of historical and contemporary digital art and a programme of events will be at the RCA from 12-17 July, travelling to Leicester from 22 July. I will be presenting a paper at the symposium on the evening of Tuesday 16 July at the RCA, do come along and hear about the origins of the Computer Arts Society and the continuing legacy of the EVENT ONE show which featured artists such as Gustav Metzger, Alan Sutcliffe and many others.
Very soon, artificial intelligence (AI) will probably be present in all aspects of our lives. The Barbican’s new exhibition (till 26 August) attempts to address the question where do we end and where does it begin? Read my review just published in Studio International.