Getting samples of computer art

computer art, computer graphics history, phdilemmas

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I have been working at Aldo Giorgini’s studio for the last couple of weeks. I can’t describe the thrill of having access to such valuable materials. Kelly (Mass’ wife) has been allowing me into the house to work in this project.  Tomorrow will be the fourth time I go and my feelings are very complex in regard to this experience. First of all it has been entertaining to try to find a meaning of the amount of information in the place. There is a lot of stuff (clothes, flyers, old magazines, records, tapes, manuscripts, teaching materials, personal objects, newsclippings, and a lot of dirt…) to be sorted and I am on my way of doing this. I am just touching the tip of the iceberg… Lots of materials are Civil Engineering research and class materials. His work with the software? HEC-2 for hydraulics simulation seems to come up a lot in documents from 1985-1989. This research allowed him to review books in the subject of HEC-2 and computer aided fluid simulation. During this period, Giorgini carefully created the illustrations using the computer and embellish them using letraset (adhesive) black and white patterns to create fills and variety of surfaces. One that brought my attention was the ones mounted on bigger panels that simulate a turbulence. In one corner of the printed plots, that at this point they are still calComp prints, there is a variable “T” for “time” suggesting image sequences. Was Giorgini’s interest on creating animated movies of this graphics? In prior conversations with Mass, he mentioned the existance of some photographed “frames” of a bridge simulation project. His bridge simulation images from a 1979 paper entitled “Bridges as Sculptures”, written by Giorgini and presented at a CE conference in Atlanta,later became the Landscape series and furthermore in 1998, the cover of the Screaching Weasel album.

Other things are salient, such as his CE conference in Morrocco, in 1988. I think this trip meant a lot to Giorgini… I just have an instict that he had a connection to Arab Africa because of his early life in the Eritrea…One of the manuscripts was in arab. Did he also visit Eritrea? I noticed in his tickest that he stopped for about 20 days in Rome. I guess I gotta keep focused in the computer art and not get caught up on other mysteries… so many of them. What matters? What is meaningful? – Everything and nothing.

In regard to computer art, the findings are rich and less abundant. Evrey now and then I find correspondance with galleries and brochures of exhibits in which he participated. Also found some brochures of the “Computer art day” at Purdue. Now I can be for sure which computer artists visited Purdue in 1975. In addition to Chuck Csuri, Robert Mallary, Kenneth Knowlton, Colette and Jeff Bangert, I recently discovered the participation of John Whitney and Lilian Schwartz. This is exciting if you are into computer art history… They are all pioneers!

Last but not least are my findings of a folder with the manuscripts for “Palette” a computer software developed by Giorgini to produce pixel-based graphics. I think this development was for tektronix… In the picture above you can see his numerical approach to color and pattern. Please be reminded that this is circa 1979 when the pixel-based computing is early, underdeveloped, expensive and incipient. In short, pixel-based monitors are another different technology that became ubiquitous in the “Personal Computer” revolution, which marks the end of “computer art” and the beggining of “digital art.”

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