Computer Art pioneers: Joan Shogren

I’ve been studying early Computer Art quite a lot in the past ten years, but I just discovered a new artist I never came across before. Click here for the story of Joan Shogren, a secretary who, back in 1963 (so before Micheal A. Noll and Frieder Nake, but also before Sol Lewitt’s conceptual wall drawings based on instructions), “suggested that computers should be able to ‘design a picture’“.
Joan’s artworks were exhibited two years before the famous “Generative Computergrafik” exhibition at the Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart in 1965, which is generally considered to be the very first computer art public show.

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Marshall McLuhan in Conversation with Norman Mailer

This is the best McLuhan conversation I found so far:

Marshall McLuhan in Conversation with Norman Mailer, 1968

[Mailer]Look Marshall, we’re both agreed that man is accelerating at an extraordinary rate into a super-technological world, if you will. And that the modes and methods by which men instruct themselves and are instructed are shifting in extraordinary –
[McLuhan]We’ve gone into orbit.
[Mailer]Well, at the same time I would say there’s something profoundly autoerotic about this process, and it’s sinister for that reason.
[McLuhan]It’s psychedelic. When you step up the environment to those speeds, you create the psychedelic thrill. The whole world becomes kaleidoscopic, and you go inward, by the way. It’s an inner trip, not an outer trip.

The Birth of the Internet Archive

“25 years ago, the entire World Wide Web was only 2.5 terabytes in size. Most connections were dial-up, important records were stored on tape, and a young engineer named Brewster Kahle was working on a revolutionary project—a way to archive the growing Internet.

Filmed by Marc Weber for the Web History Project, this video showcases the Internet Archive’s very first web crawl in 1996. In 2001, the project was made accessible to the public through the Wayback Machine. Today, the Internet Archive is home to more than 588 billion web pages, as well as 28 million books and texts, 14 million audio items, and 580,000 software titles, making us one of the world’s largest digital libraries.”

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Stunning 3D Scans of the Bust of Nefertiti

Two years ago, a scandalous “art heist” at the Neues Museum in Berlin—involving illegally made 3D scans of the bust of Nefertiti—turned out to be a different kind of crime. The two Egyptian artists who released the scans claimed they had made the images with a hidden “hacked Kinect Sensor,” reports Annalee Newitz at Ars Technica. But digital artist and designer Cosmo Wenman discovered these were scans made by the Neues Museum itself, which had been stolen by the artists or perhaps a museum employee.

[read the full article here]

Murder on the dancefloor

“Lavinia Schulz and Walter Holdt were a wife and husband partnership briefly famous in Germany during the early 1920s for their wild, expressionist dance performances consisting of “creeping, stamping, squatting, crouching, kneeling, arching, striding, lunging, leaping in mostly diagonal-spiraling patterns” across the stage. Shulz believed “art should be…an expression of struggle” and used dance to express ‘the violent struggle of a female body to achieve central, dominant control of the performance space and its emptiness'”.

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The First Catastrophe of the 21st Century

Talking about road accidents and robots…

Nam June Paik, The First Catastrophe of the 21st Century, 1982
Location: 75th Street and Madison Avenue, Manhattan, outside of The Whitney Museum

“For this performance, the robot K-456 was removed from its pedestal at the Whitney Museum of American Art, which hosted Paik’s retrospective exhibition, and guided by the artist down the street to the intersection of 75th Street and Madison Avenue. When crossing the avenue, the robot was “accidentally” hit by an automobile driven by artist Bill Anastasi. With this performance Paik suggested the potential problems that arise when technologies collide out of human control. After the “collision”, K-456 was returned to its pedestal in the Museum.”

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Oh Dracula

burden

In 1974, at the Utah Museum of Art in Salt Lake City, Chris Burden climbed into a “chrysalis”-like sac and had himself installed in between some of the museum’s exceedingly random 18th century paintings, with candles placed at his head and feet. And there he hid all day.

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