Hosted by Stewart Cheifet, Computer Chronicles was the world’s most popular television program on personal technology during the height of the personal computer revolution. It was broadcast for twenty years from 1983 – 2002. The program was seen on more than 300 television stations in the United States and in over 100 countries worldwide, with translations into French, Spanish, Chinese, and Arabic. The series had a weekly television broadcast audience of over two million viewers.

The series has been recognized for its journalistic excellence, winning a variety of journalistic awards including more than a dozen from the prestigious Computer Press Association. The series covered high-tech subjects around the world, having shot programs in such various locations as Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Scotland, Spain, and Taiwan. Computer Chronicles was based in the Silicon Valley area of California.

Many of the series programs are distributed on video to corporations and educational institutions for use in computer training. Computer Chronicles program segments have also been bundled with various computer text books by major publishers.

In this episode, a review of computer art, graphics capabilities of computers and professional computer graphics systems.

Guests: Herb Lechner, SRI International; Don McKinney, Silicon Graphics; Michael Arent, Freelance Artist; Kevin Prince, MCI/Quantel; Ann Chase, Freelance Artist

Products/Demos: MCI Quantel PaintBox, Silicon Graphics 3D Animation, Apple IIe

The SCAN PROCESSOR STUDIES are a collection of works by Woody Vasulka & Brian O’Reilly.

The full work is of total approximate duration of 45 minutes, with sections of various lengths, textures, and dynamic qualities.

O’Reilly: “The project first started while Woody and I were working on different commissioned projects at the ZKM (Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe Germany). He and Steina on the exhibition MINDFRAMES and Garth Knox and myself on the DVD and performance SPECTRAL STRANDS: FOR VIOLA AND VISUALS. Woody, Steina, Garth and I spent many nights screening works for moving images, playing music, and cooking, enveloped in the huge ghost town mood the ZKM’s kitchen took on at night. During this time there were passionate discussions about video synthesizers (mainly my love for the Sandin Image Processor), and how Steina’s VIOLIN POWER had a huge influence on Garth’s and my new series of works.

The source materials were generated by Woody using a Rutt-Etra Scan Processor in the 1970’s and sat on a shelf for years, having been recently digitized. Woody came into my studio one day and asked me if I would be interested in using them to work on a collaboration, and the project began from there…

The works use sources excavated directly from the output of the Scan Processor, as well as further manipulations using Tom Demeyer’s ImX software, developed with input from Steina. Extensive editing and layering and additional augmentations were done using Phil Mortons IP. The Sound was generated (mostly) by custom software developed by Chandrasekhar Ramakrishnan and myself called NETHER GENERATOR, which sets up a number of complex real time feedback networks filtered and processed by various means.

SCAN PROCESSOR STUDIES was first exhibited as an installation in the ZKM’s MINDFRAMES exhibition.

The source materials from Woody’s original experiments with the Scan Processor have also been used in conjunction with further processing on my part to create the base materials for other works, including a three screen version of Woody’s piece GRAZING and the work LEVEL & DEGREE OF DARK.”


Ben F. Laposky is one of the very early computer art innovators. He had developed graphic images generated from an electronic (analogue) machine in 1950.
Between 1942 and 1944 he served in the US military at the post of a ‘Technical Sergeant’ working as a Map Draughtsman, till he was discharged beacuse of injuries, with a Purple Heart.
He started his career in the arts as a draftsman at a signage shop he owned and providing ‘Magic Number Squares’ problems to the ’Rippley’s Believe it or Not!’ newspaper feature.
His training in mathematics and an article from a 1947 edition of ‘Popular Science’ which proposed the use of television testing equipment, such as oscilloscopes, to generate simple decorative patterns, based on a formula similar to that which governs pendulum curves, sparked his interst in geometric abstraction, algebraic curves etc. and led to experiments with an oscilloscope.
In 1950 Laposky used a cathode ray oscilloscope with sine wave generators and various other electrical and electronic circuits to create abstract art, refferd by himself as, “electrical compositions”. By tinkering with the electronic beams displayed by the oscilloscope’s cathode-ray tube and photographing them with usind a high-speed camera with color filters, the resulting images which he called ‘Oscillons’ displayed various aesthetic combinations of basic electronic wave forms playing a sort of ‘visual music’.
Laposky cited and admired Naum Gabo, Joan Miro, Piet Mondrian, Victor Vasarely, Kazimir Malevich, Fernand Léger, Marcel Duchamp, Alexander Calder and some of the Synchromism and Futurism artists.
These results were exhibited as photographs, kinetic oscilloscope displays, light boxes and movies starting with an exhiition in 1953 at the Sanford Museum, Iowa. This exhibition entitled ‘Electronic Abstractions’, toured over 200 venues in USA and other places abroad by the Cultural Relations Section of the United States from 1953 to 1961.
“The relationship of the oscillons to computer art is that the basic waveforms are analogue curves, of the type used in analogue computer systems.” (Ben F. laposky)


Tony Longson is a visual artist who makes three-dimensional constructions which explore aspects of the way we see.
Born in England, he was one of just a handful of European artists in the early 70s to use computers, to organize the visual components of his work. Shortly after, he also used computer technology to build these constructions.
In 1980 Longson was awarded a UK/USA Bicentennial Arts Fellowships, and was Artist in Residence at the Jet PropulsionLaboratory’s computer graphics lab in Pasadena, California.
His work has been exhibited internationally, and is represented in several major collections, including the Arts Council of Great Britain, and the
Gemeente Museum, The Hague, Holland.
Longson developed the first ever educational programs to teach the creative use of computers to artists and designers, establishing the animation program at CalState, Los Angeles, in the early 1980s.


This silkscreen print is from a series of works entitled KAES, from ‘Kurven, AESthetische’ (Aesthetic Curves). These works were Herbert W. Franke’s first digitally produced graphics. In collaboration with the artist, Peter Henne wrote the computer program that generated and manipulated the curves. These algebraic curves formed the basic element of the image, and the computer program produced a series of slow, step-by-step superpositions and transformations. The curves could be enlarged, lengthened, or reduced, for example, producing sequences and patterns

Herbert W. Franke is a pioneering figure in the history of computer art. In 1971, he produced one of the first accounts of computer art entitled ‘Computer graphics – Computer art’. In 1979, he co-founded the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria, an annual event that combines art and technology. Franke is also well known as a successful author of science fiction novels.


Edward Zajec was among the pioneers in the 1960s, and more recently is professor of computer graphics at the School of Art and Design at Syracuse University. His focus has been real-time artworks originating in his paintings, which used repetition and redundancy, then developed with the use of computers from 1968. While his films have
some aspirations in common with those of John Whitney Sr., his point of departure is the use of the computer in real time, and a different algorithmic or rule-based approach. Zajec’s work has found its way into collections and symposia spanning many decades.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 101 other followers