Computer Graphics: Effects of Origins






  • New forms of art and technology are frequently cast in the mode of old forms, just as other aspects of material and symbolic culture have been. Only when these new forms become available to the larger population can they affect cultural patterns of maintenance and change. The author traces the evolution from alphanumeric hard copy, static and dynamic screen images, through objects and events that are not screen-based, to dynamic, interactive, multi-sensory output. The effects of origins and prior practices in both technology and art on form, content, material, technique, meaning and purpose of computer graphics are explored. Speculation regarding possible and probable futures are raised.

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    4. The research reported in this paper reflects my work since 1973, when I began to collect images and essays on the computer in the arts and humanities. In 1976 I complied an educational slide set, a history of computer graphics (funded by the National Science Foundation and the Oregon Mathematics Education Council). At the 1978 Conference for Computer Assisted Learning I drew an analogy between early uses of electricity and computers and in 1978 at the Second West Coast Computer Faire suggested the potential widespread and multiple uses for microcomputers. B. J. Jones, “Computer Art and Art-Related Applications in Computer Graphics: A Historical Perspective and Projected Possibilities,” Proceedings of the Second West Coast Computer Faire, J. C. Warren, ed. (San Jose, CA: 1978).
    5. Among theorists who hold this view are Foucault, Rosler, Sekula and the author. Selected examples include M. Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (New York: Colophon, 1972); M. Rosley, “Video: Shedding the Utopian Moment,” Block 11 (1985/1986); A. Sekula, “The Traffic in Photographs,” Art Journal 41 (Spring 1981); B. Jones see [2,3].
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