The Computer from Hell

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LECTURE FRIEDER NAKE
MUSÉE D’ART CONTEMPORAIN DE BORDEAUX

ON ALGORITHMICS & AESTHETICS
REGARDING THE BEGINNING OF COMPUTER ART

MARDI 26 MARS / 26 MARCH 2013

– PART 1
PART 2
PARTS 3/4/5 HERE.
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FRIEDER NAKE. PART 1
THE COMPUTER FROM HELL

Frieder Nake studied mathematics and created his first computer graphics in 1963. Considered as one of the founding fathers of ‘computer art’, his early works were groundbreaking and his role undeniably important. However, little efforts have been made to document his perspective on a crucial part in art, design and computer history.

We had the immense pleasure of inviting Frieder Nake to give a lecture at the Contemporary Art Museum in Bordeaux last week. This was his first lecture ever in France, fifty years on. It seems only correct to give it rightful and full attention hoping that it will spark further interest from the communities at large. This rare lecture was recorded and we are pleased to share Frieder’s energetic and insightful thinking. Due to the rather long length of the lecture (followed by further discussion), we have decided to split the lecture in to five distinctive chapters.

In this first part, Frieder Nake introduces his beginnings in ‘computer art’ as a student at the Hochschule in Stuttgart explaining how, in a fleeting decisive moment, he was given the opportunity to create his first artwork. He goes on to tell a wonderful story of the exhibition, Generative Computer-Grafik, which took place at Max Bense’s gallery, 5th February 1965 presenting work by Georg Nees. Bense knew many fine artists and had invited them to the opening. What was to unfold marked the beginnings of a bone of contention between the scientific and artistic communities, one that still barks on today in some conservative corners.

The Computer from Hell.

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The recording begins with a short presentation in French by Julien Gachadoat, organiser of Processing Bordeaux. It then continues in English.

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FRIEDER NAKE. PART 2
GENERATIVE AESTHETICS

In this second part, Frieder Nake talks about the first publication on Computer Art, entitled ROT 19 which includes a text by the German philosopher, Max Bense, “Projects of Generative Aesthetics.” A text that was to have a major influence in terms of giving both a term and a context to a new creative field. Two months later on 9th April, an exhibition at the Howard Wise Gallery in New York opens, showcasing two computer scientists from Bell Labs: A.Michael Noll and Bela Julesz. Frieder goes on to explain a third exhibition which took place 5th November in 1965 setting straight a crucial historic fact in remark to a newspaper article which appeared in the New York Times claiming ‘The World Premiere of Computer Art.

Generative Aesthetics (PART 2).

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ROT 19 Cover.

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ROT 19 / Max Bense’s Essay.

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ROT 19 / Georg Nees.

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“Generative Aesthetics 1″. 1968

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A.M.Noll & Mondrian

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Image from Howard Wise Gallery. 9th April 1965

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Computer from 1960’s.

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In part three, we get to hear about four particular artists who got a rare chance to make a name for themselves.