About

Micro Arts Group was founded in London by Geoff Davis, for young and diverse computer artists . It is now in the Computer Arts Archive (part of CAS) as the first independent computer art group. 

Micro Arts Group distributed digital computer art (algorithmic and generative), concept art, and story text generators, on data cassettes and later on national Prestel teletext (a pre-web on TV sets). 

2021 – we are making new art again, please see further down the page for 3D videos and NFTs – see below, and visit Micro Arts Group on Known Origin

MA1 ‘Abstract Originals’  – Geoff Davis 1984 (7 generative art pieces)

Micro Arts on Computer Arts Archive 2021

Above: Micro Arts work in Computer Arts Archive 2021, Geoff Davis and Martin Rootes software releases 1984-1985

Micro Arts Group was a arts publisher, forum and educational resource for new artists from UK, France and USA.  The computer art was made for public use on for home micros such as Sinclair Spectrum and BBC Micro. There was also a print magazine with many educational articles and art prints, and published the first instance of Quantel Paintbox used by an artist.

Money Work System 1984 SCUM Manifesto
Money Work System animation in MA2 1984 SCUM Manifesto
Micro Arts Group Story Generator 1985
MA4 Story Generator 1985

Quantel paintbox art 1984 from Michèle Gauthier Carr-Brown

Above: Quantel paintbox art 1984 from Michèle Gauthier Carr-Brown, featured in Micro Arts Magazine

Micro Arts Group Magazine
Micro Arts Group Magazine 1984
Data Cassettes - Micro Arts Group
Data Cassettes – Micro Arts Group 1984 -1985
Micro Arts Prestel teletext
Micro Arts Prestel teletext 1985

NEW video art from MA1 “Abstract Originals” 

A series of new video art releases, 8 in total, as NFTs on Known Origin. We were Featured Artist.

See MA1 Cube Collection and other art on Known Origin

MA1 Cube Collection 1-7 still
MA1 Cube Collection 1-7 NFT

All of Micro Arts Group artwork is going into the new digital formats. Please have a look at MA1 Cube: Data – 2 of 8 in the MA1 Cube series. Low price for all only 0.01 and you can collect with normal Card or Wallet.

Visit MA1 Cube: Data on Known Origin now

MA1 Cube: Data
MA1 Cube: Data

Micro Arts Group was top trending on Known Origin:

Top trending Micro Arts Group 2021
Top trending Micro Arts Group 2021

MA1 Cube Series – art / design by Geoff Davis from MA1 1984, videography / soundtrack by Patryk Jaworski Etalon Production.

Geoff Davis Patryk Jaworski

Patryk Jaworski (L) & Geoff Davis  – AV music and video event October 2021 – NFT see ‘Known Origin microartsgroup’

See the Blog for more 

Geoff Davis

Above: Geoff Davis / Micro Arts live generative art and these prints, at 8-bit exhibition Leicester 2021 LCB Depot

 

Geoff Davis is now an AI and text researcher at UAL CCI London. He has designed and produced creativity software with Story Software. He taught at several UK art colleges. He is a published author, see more about Geoff Davis books and writing. His Story Software Zooming image and notes app Notes Story Board app.

Micro Arts has been exhibited in 2021 and is in the Computer Art Archive, part of the Computer Arts Society CAS.

Micro Arts academic paper in EVA London conference 2021 – see details of Micro Arts paper here.

New work by Geoff Davis / Micro Arts is for exhibition at end 2021.

NEWS

8-bit exhibition, Micro Arts, Leicester

 

Above: Exhibition Leicester LCB Depot 2021

There is an exhibition of Micro Arts at LCB Depot Leicester June 1 to 26.

For more info and photos see the Blog 8-bit exhibition Leicester June 2021

Exhibition Leicester 6-26 June 2021 LCB Depot

Micro Arts book – second edition

This is due in July 2021. If you have the first edition please contact me and I’ll send you the new one. It has the 1980s Timeline (see the menu here) in it and some news about the 2021 developments.

November 2020 

Micro Arts in National Computer Arts Archive

Micro Arts is in the new Computer Arts Archive (British Computer Society)
Visit Computer Art Archive here.

Micro Arts MA1: Stripes is now the header image for the Computer Arts Society CAS Facebook page

CAS on Facebook Micro Arts MA1
CAS on Facebook displays Micro Arts MA1

SUMMARY

Micro Arts was founded, run and programmed by Geoff Davis, along with an diverse group of young artists and programmers. It released computer generated art, conceptual pieces and story generators on data cassettes and Prestel TV teletext, and provided a forum for computer artists and musicians. Micro computers were newly available at low cost and led to a radical change in the use and consumption of computer graphics and computer controlled systems.

BOOK – ALL FORMATS LINK  – to choose your ebook format – Kindle, Apple, B&N, Kobo and more:

Micro Arts History Geoff Davis ebook many formats

Sample or buy Micro Arts ebook

The range of publicly released computer art was very wide. 

  • generative visual art with user control – MA1 ‘Abstract Originals’ – 7 programs – see video section
  • conceptual and challenging programs – MA2 ‘Various Unusual Events‘ – 6 programs
  • feminist agitprop – MA2 ‘The Money Work System’ animation of the SCUM Manifesto Valerie Solanas (Andy Warhol connection). This also included a Universal Basic Income (UBI) concept used in later fiction
  • math/data art – ‘Carry On Computing’ (in MA2) – January 2020 reissued as print in the code::art magazine by Sy Brand (blog on soon)
  • story text generator – MA4 ‘Cow Boils Head‘ – endless fiction
  • slow art – ‘Minimal‘ – 23 months to draw one screen (in MA2)
  • art animations – MA3 – based on Duchamp, Mondrian and Muybridge – BBC Micro (2 MHz MOS Technology 6502/6512) – 4 programs (these by Martin Rootes, who also made animations for the Hacienda and Leadmill clubs)

Other aspects:

  • had a print magazine – ‘Language as a Virus’, ‘Electronic Beowulf’, ‘Micro Music’ and many other articles
  • innovative graphics for NetWork 21 pirate TV  in London (Geoff) and Manchester Hacienda, Sheffield Leadmill (Martin) 
  • inclusive, not exclusive, no membership, open source (before it was named) software, publicly available on national Prestel teletext and via mail order data cassettes
  • widely reviewed in the national computer press such as Computing and Computer Weekly, and niche magazines like Blitz, Sinclair User etc.

Quantel paintbox art 1984 from Michèle Gauthier Carr-Brown

Above: Quantel paintbox art 1984 from Michèle Gauthier Carr-Brown

In the early 1980s computers and computer (or ‘video’) graphics of all types were making it into public awareness. The new micro computers such as the Sinclair Spectrum, Amiga, BBC Micro and many others were mostly used for games, although 3D journeys of exploration were arriving in cloaks of pixilated mystery. Pong, Space Invaders, Manic Miner and The Dark Crystal arrived around this period.

Micro Arts was one of the first producers of computer art and ‘creativity apps’ in 1984, presenting a wide range of generative computer art for the microcomputer, including evolving computer art, animations and generated text stories. These were distributed in compilations, to entertain and educate. The Micro Arts generated abstract art could be used to make ambient visuals, with menus to control colours, speed etc. Micro Arts also produced text story generators, animations and more.

CBH-2-not sharpened 300.jpg
Cow Boils Head text generator Geoff Davis

The history of this period is summed up well by Paul Brown of the Computer Arts Society (CAS):

“My reading of this is: by the mid 1980’s the original objectives of the CAS  – ie. to promote the use of computers to creatives – had become obsolete thanks to cheap ‘personal’ computing and creative apps.  When CAS was relaunched 20 years later the main objective was to research, archive and maintain the history.” [1]

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MA1 Geoff Davis – ‘Abstract Originals’ – one of seven generated art pieces

MA2 Geoff Davis – Various Unusual Events – The Money Work System (SCUM Manifesto)
– one of six art pieces


MA1 Geoff Davis – ‘Abstract Originals’ – one of seven generated art pieces

MicroArts-tw2.jpg
Data cassette MA2 – a normal cassette with recorded data bits

MA1, MA2, MA4 were programmed by Geoff Davis using a Spectrum 48 – a Zilog Z80 A CPU running at 3.5 MHz, with 48k of RAM. Programming was in Sinclair BASIC with ‘peeking’ and ‘poking’ values directly into the memory. MA3 was programmed by Martin Rootes on the BBC Micro.

[1] Paul Brown of CAS, email to Geoff Davis June 2019.