[artinfo] Fwd: Catherine Mason : A Computer in the Art Room

Janos Sugar sj at c3.hu
Thu Jul 24 11:40:27 CEST 2008

>A Computer in the Art Room: the origins of British computer arts1950-80
>Norfolk: JJG Publishing, 2008
>ISBN 978-1-899163-89-2
>This book analyses the major routes into computer based arts in Britain
>from the post-World War II period, with artists informed by cybernetics,
>to 1980 with the advent of personal computing. It argues that new
>frameworks for collaboration between arts and sciences were established
>during this period evident particularly in academic institutions and
>artist-led initiatives. A re-organisation of the art educational system,
>an expanded notion of the art object encouraged by the artistic
>counter-culture of the 1960s and for a brief time, a sympathetic
>governmental framework enabled art with a techno-scientific basis to
>flourish particularly within schools of art and design. The field of
>early computer arts is a rare example of inter-disciplinary
>collaboration within modernism in Britain in the period. It is this
>diversity which has a major bearing on how the art was and continues to
>be perceived by the art world. Artist-led initiatives, again largely
>located outside the mainstream art world, were an integral part of the
>development of computer arts. Formal and informal networks organised by
>practitioners were able to address the challenge of exhibition and
>dissemination of work in a field that was not necessarily readily
>accepted or understood.
>A Computer in the Art Room uncovers and records the history of an
>artistic practice that is little known and in particular the crucial
>role played by a number of art schools in fostering cross-disciplinary
>collaborations which continue to contribute to Britain*s leading role
>in the education and production of contemporary art.  The complexity and
>rarity of computers during the period meant that any art form based
>around them was bound to be a specialised branch of art, highly
>dependent upon support and funding to exist.  Before the onset of
>user-friendly systems, proprietary software and personal computers,
>these artists built relationships with scientific institutions in order
>to gain the access required to further their artistic aims. This was a
>unique period in which art students could learn to program computers. In
>this book, for the first time, a direct link is traced from tutor to
>student through the British art school system which provided many with
>opportunities to do precisely this.  Early British computer arts with
>its emphasis on craft, materiality and interactivity, is not only one of
>the last aspects of modernism, but also provides a gateway to
>understanding postmodernism. The book contains over 140 illustrations,
>many never before published.
>The book is aimed primarily at an audience of practitioners, students
>and academics particularly but not limited to the fields of fine art and
>design, the new media arts, computer graphics, special effects, art
>history, humanities, curators, arts management, cultural theory and
>research, computing and the history of technology. 
> http://www.catherinemason.co.uk/

More information about the Artinfo mailing list