Computer Art Histories:

Perhaps every artist has their own "art history" -here are a few academic versions:



Irony and Utopia: History of Computer Art

Quick Links

Course Description

Each week we’ll read about and examine documentation of a selection of artworks which in some way engage computers or ideas about computing. The selection of works will highlight the philosophical, cultural, and ideological differences separating technological optimists, or utopians, and technological pessimists, skeptics, or ironists. Class will consist entirely of open discussion about the work; occasionally we’ll have a guest with some special expertise in the topic at hand, in which case we’ll adopt a seminar or lecture format. The final two classes will be devoted to project presentations.


We will:

Meeting Place/Time

We'll meet on Tuesdays from 7-9pm at Bruce High Quality Foundation University. Exception: the first class will be on Wednesday, June 23, 2010. All subsequent classes will be on Tuesdays, 7-9pm.

Contact Info


Web: Website, works. Twitter.

Class Schedule & Materials

The following list contains a tenative list of classes with links to readings and other media. It will get filled in gradually as the course procedes. All of the materials for a given topic will be ready at least one week in advance.

  1. 1965 - 1975: Procedures and Randomness

    There's a lot of material here. Don't worry about memorizing dates or anything, but try to pick a few pieces which you think are particularly interesting and have something to say about them in class. Make sure you read at least the Dietrich article as well as There Should Be No Computer Art. The issues of PAGE are short; you can skip over all of the announcements of conferences and so on, there's about one proper article per issue.



  2. Cybernetic Serendipity and E.A.T.



  3. Early Computer Music



  4. Video

    Lots of stuff in this unit. Feel free to focus on whatever is most interesting to you.



  5. The Chrome Age: commercial and scientific computer graphics



  6. Virtual Reality

    Again, tons of material here. Don't feel compelled to watch everything if you're short on time, but definitely be sure to check out Davies and Benayoun.






  8. Computer and Video Games



  9. Visualizers, Eco-Utopians, Eco-Skeptics



  10. Amateur and sub-amateur, weak gestures, defaults, and crowds



  11. Presentations, discussions, critiques.
  12. Presentations, discussions, critiques.



Author: Johan den Biggelaar Wim van der Plas Ton Hokken



ADRIANO) ABBADO: Perceptual Correspondences of Abstract Animation and Synthetic Sound 3
ROY AscOTT: Art and Education in the Telematic Culture 7
JURGEN CLAUS: The Electronic Bauhaus: Gestalt Technologies and the Electronic Challenge 13
to Visual Art
ERNEST EDMONDS: Logic and Time-Based Practice 19
A. ELIENS: Computational Art 21
BRIAN EVANS: Establishing a Tonic Space with Digital Color 27
HENRYS. FLURRY: The Creation Station: An Approach to a Multimedia Workstation 31
MATHIAS FUCHS: Computer Music Languages . . . and the Real World 39
ROBIN G. KING: Computer Graphics and Animation as Agents of Personal Evolution in the Arts 43
JOAN L. KIRSCH and RUSSELL. A. KIRSCH: Storing Art Images in Intelligent Computers 47
N. MAGNENAT-THALMANN: The Making of a Film with Synthetic Actors 55
PHILIPPE MENARD: Towards a Universal and Intelligent MIDI-Based Stage System: 63
A Composer/Performer's Testimony
MICHEI. NARANJO and ASSUH KOFFI: Geometric Image Modelling of the Musical Object 69
JOHN PEARSON: The Computer: Liberator or Jailer of the Creative Spirit 73
PATRIC D. PRINCE: The Aesthetics of Exhibition: A Discussion of Recent American Computer Art Shows 81
LILLIAN F. SCHWARTZ: The Staging of Leonardo's Last Supper: A Computer-Based Exploration of Its 89
SETH SHOSTAK: State-of-the-Art Art 97
JOAN TRUCKENBROD: A New Language for Artistic Expression: The Electronic Arts Landscape 99
RICHARD WRIGHT: Some Issues in the Development of Computer Art as a Mathematical Art Form 103
EDWARD ZAJEC: Orphics: Computer Graphics and the Shaping of Time with Color 111
Front cover: Lillian F. Schwartz, Mona Leo, computer-generated image, 1987. Side-by-side juxtapositioned halves of the
Mona Lisa and reversed Self-Portrait by Leonardo da Vinci. The striking unity of these two 'different' subjects led Lillian
Schwartz to identify Leonardo as the primary model for the Mona Lisa, thereby bringing the 500-year-old riddle of the
identity of the celebrated surface Mona Lisa to a remarkable conclusion.
Mona Leo � 1987 Lilyan Productions, Inc. All rights reserved.


The First International Symposium on Electronic Art (FISEA)

Computers are more and more becoming creative tools in music
as well as visual arts and design. In the last few years, it has become clear that digital
technology provides a platform for multimedia productions as well as a medium
for new art forms. Computer Music and Computer Graphics & Animation
have their own international forums. The need was felt, however, to bring together
in one international event the diverse disciplines within art and technology.
The initial announcement of the First International Symposium on Electronic
Art (FISEA) by the Foundation for Creative Computer Applications (SCCA) in
1986 attracted great interest and support for the idea. A joint Call for Proposals
and Participation was distributed by the SCCA and the new Centre for Art, Media
and Technology of the Utrecht Academy of Arts in 1987. This resulted in several
hundreds of papers, contributions to the competitions, proposals for the exhibition,
music performances and so on. Unfortunately, only a relatively small number
of the papers and other proposals could be accepted for inclusion in the symposium
program due to limitations in time and space.
The selection, done by the International Program Committee and the Organizing
Committee, was not an easy job because of the high quality of most of the contributions.
A number of the selected papers appear in this special issue of
Leonardo, journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology.
FISEA was meant to bring together experts (artists, scientists and engineers) in
the field of electronic art. The enormous international interest in this event shows
the importance of continued research and development in this interdisciplinary
field. The availability of the new headquarters of the Centre for Art, Media and
Technology will further stimulate the international interest in applications of new
technology in music, visual arts and design. The centre offers students as well as artists
and faculty the opportunity to work and study in an international environment.

Director, Research and Development, Utrecht Academy of Arts
Conference Chairman, Member of the Board, SCCA
Coordinator, Centre for Art, Media and Technology, Utrecht Academy of Arts
Conference Chairman
Director, SCCA, Advisor, FISEA



ISEA2010 RUHR Conference
P30 History of Computer Art

Thur 26 August 2010
Volkshochschule Dortmund, L 103

Moderated by Jürgen Claus (de)

On the occasion of the exhibition "Computerkunst/Computer Art 2010" at the Innovation Center Wiesenbusch in Gladbeck, this panel invites you to take a look at over two decades of computer art, exploring the roles of pioneers and protagonists as well as important concepts and institutions in the field.

  1. 10:00h | Wolfgang Schneider (de): In Favour of Computer Art
  2. 10:30h | James Faure Walker (gb): Twenty Years of ISEA. A Painter's Response
  3. 11:00h | Jürgen Claus (de): Footnotes to the Electronic Bauhaus 2010
ISEA2010 Conference Proceedings | P30 History of Computer Art (PDF, 457.6 KB)

Wolfgang Schneider (de)

In Favour of Computer Art

The museum in Gladbeck is looking back on a series of contests and expositions in computer art being awarded with the Gladbeck Golden Plotter Award. A period of these activities of 25 years seems to be reason enough to present a portfolio of graphic sheets collecting works of pioneers and outstanding participants of our activities in electronic arts. This portfolio will be presented at ISEA2010RUHR and the exposition Computerkunst/Computer Art 2.010 at the Innovation Center Wiesenbusch in Gladbeck (August 29th to September 26th 2010).

ISEA2010 Conference Proceedings | In Favour of Computer Art (PDF)

Dr. Wolfgang Schneider, born 1945, is a natural scientist. He studied Geology, History, History of the Arts (Universities of Cologne and Bochum). Director of the Museum der Stadt Gladbeck (1977 -2010), Cofounder of the Gesellschaft für Elektronische Kunst, international, biannual competition and exhibition for the Golden Plotter Award, Gladbeck (1986 - 2010), editor of catalogues in history and cultural history.


James Faure Walker (gb)

Twenty Years of ISEA. A Painter's Response

Reflecting on how the territory described by digital art has shifted around in the twenty years of ISEA: from the idea of the robotic computer-generated to the idea of the social activist using iPhones. Persisting as a 2D artist (a painter using digital tools) I have witnessed a fascinating evolution. Some questions remain unanswered, and the future is as unpredictable as ever. Recalling past ISEA's, the exhibitions, the debates, alongside my own development negotiating a path amidst both the mainstream and the digital art worlds, this paper tries to tie up a few loose ends.

ISEA2010 Conference Proceedings | Twenty Years of ISEA. A Painter's Response (PDF)

Born in London 1948. Golden Plotter, Computerkunst, Gladbeck, 1998. Exhibited, ISEA from 1990; DAM Gallery, Berlin; Siggraph 1995 - 2007. 11 works in Victoria and Albert Museum. Editor, Artscribe 1976. Book, Painting the Digital River, Prentice Hall 2006. Commissioned artist, FIFA 2010 World Cup.


Jürgen Claus (de)

Footnotes to the Electronic Bauhaus 2010

The Electronic Bauhaus which I coined in 1987 inspired institutions and publications till today. Re-viewing my book, teaching and various artistic activities I am still convinced that computer art opens fundamental understanding towards the basic environmental, architectural, social, climatic changes of our time. If the change towards a Solar Age has to stabilize our societies, it must be a cultural one. My proposition regarding the social and artistic responsibilities of an Electronic Bauhaus is to start with a preamble, formulating the goals and the vision that might lead us towards a Solar Age.

ISEA2010 Conference Proceedings | Footnotes to the Electronic Bauhaus 2010 (PDF)

Jürgen Claus was Fellow and Research Affiliate at the CAVS at MIT, Cambridge, MA and professor at the Academy of Media Art Cologne. He exhibited at Electra, Paris 1983/84, ars electronica 1986, Light art from artificial light, Karlsruhe 2005/6. His work include underwater, solar art sculptures and 15 books.




< History>

The Charles A. Csuri Project (Art History):

Early Period (1963 - 1974)

When I began working with the computer, I had to look closely at how it could be used within an artistic context. - Charles A. Csuri

When Csuri began working with computers to create art, he quickly discovered that his creative circles included mostly scientists, who happened to be interested in what an artist had to say about representing the phenomenal world. His primary environment was no longer an artist's studio or a scenic view. Instead, he now worked in a cleanroom, working with a mainframe computer, pressing keys, creating punch cards and relying on drum plotters to produce hard copy versions of his works. This shift in physical surroundings and professional circles, while artistically isolating, led to him become the first artist to receive funding from the National Science Foundations (NSF). NSF was so impressed with his work, that they supported his creative research for twenty years. As Margit Rosen points out, this artist amongst scientists, however, remained an artist in thought and practice. Even in his NSF proposals and reports, he never refers to the user, but to the artist.

Csuri's early works, from 1963 - 1974, are a window into the artist's way of thinking about computer art. His creative process, his intentions, and the choices he made during this period continue to influences his work to the present day. The early period also establishes a foundation for many of the themes that recur in Csuri's art and shape his creative process. These include such things as object transformation, randomness, collaboration, and hierarchical levels of control. As Csuri views and explores the aesthetic object through the lens of transformation, randomness and change, we see the underpinnings of what later will become his "creative partnership" with the computer.

During the Early Period, Csuri's art invokes drawings and sketches that he made for the purpose of transforming them with analogue and digital technologies. A balance of still and moving images result from Csuri's creative endeavors at this time, and include transformations on drawings, fragmentation animations that incorporate the idea of morphing, and real-time art objects that were interactive and foreshadow much of the gaming that is so popular today.

Csuri's work during the early period shows his artistic versatility, his skill as a researcher within the realm of art, and his exceptional ability to serve as a leader within the the sphere of interdisciplinary collaboration. In many ways, Csuri's early art and processes predict new research and development structures, as well as the collaborative underpinnings of the animation industry.

Middle Period (1989 - 1995)

Art takes place outside of the machine. - Charles A. Csuri

Csuri's artistic development from 1989 to 1995 occurred on the heels of significant life transitions. In 1985, Csuri resigned from Cranston/Csuri Productions, Inc. In 1990, he retired from OSU as an administrator, grants writer and teacher. At the urging of his wife Lee, he returned to his passion for making art. Two issues broadly characterize Csuri?s work from the middle period: 1) the merging of traditional and new media and 2) the creation of a customized, core set of artistic tools.

Merging of traditional and new media

For Csuri, traditional art and computer art are not mutually exclusive. This is particularly evident in works made by the artist from 1989 to 1992. During this time, Csuri brought his oil paintings and drawings into three-dimensional computer space with texture and bump mapping. This blending of techniques, combined with meaningful subject matter, resulted in powerful and provocative works. The traditional media gave color, texture and warmth to the more mechanical computer forms. The technology, on the other hand, offered a unique sense of dimension and atmosphere to the thick, impasto application of paint and free-flowing calligraphic sketches. Many of the works during this period embrace Expressionism through a new lens. The incorporation of his paintings and drawings, wrapped around three-dimensional geometries, extend not only Csuri's two-dimensional works, but also the best qualities of Expressionism, beyond the picture plane and into new spaces of possibilities. These works, even today, may be more accessible to the traditional art communities, since they demonstrate significant painting and drawing expertise. However, they cannot be assessed solely within a traditional context, since they pressed the aesthetic boundaries of both traditional and computer art at the time they were made. Moreover, they continue to stand as viable aesthetic objects, today.

Establishment of core artistic tools

During this time, Csuri collaborated with various programmers to create a customized set of algorithms, which the artist refers to as "tools." By 1995, his core set of programming tools included, but were not limited to, the fragmentation tools, the colormix tool, and the ribbon tool. The fragmentation tool gives Csuri the ability to experiment with the relationship between form and abstraction. It gives the artist the freedom to vary the location, degree, and intensity to which an object can be dematerialized. The colormix tool serves several functions, including the ability to create color spaces through which Csuri can place or move his objects. The ribbon tool allows Csuri to draw in three-dimensional space with calligraphic lines that reflect light and cast shadows. Csuri uses this tool to the present, creating some of his most creative and engaging works.

Several works from this period received awards and other recognition.

Later Period (1996 - 2001)

I learned many years ago, it takes time and experience before one becomes accustomed to a medium and tools. This is necessary before there can be any kind of flow or tempo to creative expression. - Charles A. Csuri

By 1996, Csuri had been working with computers to create art for more than thirty years. The next seven years are marked by a deepening awareness and familiarity with his core artistic tools, which he collaborated to create in the early 1990s. Csuri's intimate knowledge of his media comes from years of study and disciplined practice. But, as the artist is often keen to point out, his creativity emerges largely within the realm of play and humor.

Csuri's art during the Later Period no longer incorporates traditional media. By 1996, the artist works exclusively with the computer. Nevertheless, his knowledge of the history of art, his respect for the great masters, and his interest in visual structure continue to be a central part of his creative dialogue.

Csuri's art from 1996 is largely inspired by elements in his domestic life: children?s laughter, gardens, masks, mythic symbols, commitment and love. Yet, his work never feels homespun. Instead, it stands squarely in a history of art that begins with Paul C?zanne, flows through the Pop Art movement, and emerges through the unique trajectory of computer art.

This trajectory led to the elegant Virtual Glass series, which was created between 1999 and 2000 and incorporates both still and moving images. The Virtual Glass series, like the Scribble Series of his recent works, is pure Csuri. The artist explores the reflective properties of glass, creating what seems a haute couture of the art world. Csuri's tools are carefully selected and customized to his needs. The results are elegant and captivating.

By 2001, Csuri turned his attention to his previous interests in randomness and chance, this time, in the form of generative art. 19th Century Space Station is one of his first works in the Infinity Series, and it foreshadows much of his work from 2002-2006.

Recent Period (2002 - 2006)

The creative process works when I am able to live in a space of psychological uncertainty. - Charles A. Csuri

Csuri's work from 2002 - 2006 focuses largely on a form of Generative Art, which he refers to as the Infinity Series. This creative process, in which he shares artistic control with the computer in a hierarchical way, began with works like Random War (1967) and Feeding Time (1967). The artist also engages the notion of change and changing space within his Generative Movement works. Several of Csuri's Generative Movement pieces are on view for the first time in this exhibition.

Csuri often mentions the importance of having a "sense of the ridiculous" and "play" in his work. This may puzzle some viewers, since nothing ridiculous, cynical, or sarcastic is apparent in the final aesthetic object. Csuri's sense of the ridiculous and play are seated squarely within his personal creative process. In addition to not taking himself too seriously on a practical level, the artist also plays with the logics that serve as the underpinning for his algorithms. Through this creative exploration, he may insert numbers and combine algorithms in ways that ridiculously subvert the mathematical logics. Within this realm of shouldn't and couldn't, the artist occasionally finds surprising and intriguing results. But, trust must be garnered, since Csuri's creative process and choice of tools do not allow for real time viewing of his explorations.

Csuri has always considered the computer to be a creative partner. By 2002, their dance is increasingly effortless. There are slow waltzes and passionate tangos. There is humor and play, randomness and surprise. There is Generative Art and Generative Movement. There is Glorious Grass, Origami Flowers, and Emily's Scribbles. And, perhaps most notably, there is elegance and beauty.

As Csuri continues to explore creativity in his three-dimensional space of possibilities, he recently expressed having an increased sense of freedom. This freedom, along with the mastery of his core artistic tools, has resulted in aesthetic objects that are energetic and vibrant, yet appealing to even the staunchest of colorists. While it's difficult to pin a signature style on Csuri, there is no mistaking "a Csuri" when one sees it. Referred to as the "master of the digital renaissance" for his skillful blending of fine arts and science by Karla Loring, his years of study and training as a painter, his customized tool set, and his unique ability to see and interpret beauty, make it safe to say that there will never be another Csuri.

-by Janice M. Glowski



Daryl Homier

Application Developer/VBA Programmer - Freelancer - Programmer / Developer Costa Rica UTC-06


I would like to use my creative computer application development skills in the production of high-quality, easy-to-use programs.  I have done computer application development for over 15 years using a number of programming languages and application development platforms.  During that time I have developed a reputation as someone who can automate just about any manual process that involves the use of a computer.  I have shown an ability to grasp with relative ease the technical needs of a program … more

English: Fluent in both written and verbal skills (self-assigned)



SIS Student Lounge:

Creative Computer Application


At Creative Computer Application you learn about and how to use different software, such as Photoshop, Flash, etc. The work is mostly independantly, since everyone is at different levels. Tutorials on youtube are used to learn new techniques, and Mr Wakeford may also help. 

We asked Max, one of the members, what he thought about this CAS.

1. What do you do? We mostly use software to make different creative media
2. What kind of software do you use? We use photoshop, dreamweaver etc.
3. Did you know anything about the things you do here before you joined? Yes
4. How interested are you in computers? Not at all
5. What is the thing you've done in this CAS that you are the most pleased with? Do you have any examples that you could show us?  A wallpaper im not sure if i still have






So how did the revolutionary "Universal Simulation Machine" end up simulating so many existing processes?

What happened to computation as a form of Divination
 -as a medium to explore the unknown and the not yet imagined?

Trevor Batten
Baclayon, PH
February 2012

The Paintbox, the Programme and the Creative Process
Creative Computers?
Society, Art and Technology
Revolutionary to Reactionary

<trevor at tebatt dot net>
home person visual textual