1988 Computer digital art and music


John Lansdown becomes Professor and head of the Centre for Computer Aided Art & Design at Middlesex University.

Ernest Edmonds Logic And Time-Based Art Practice. In Leonardo, Electronic Art Issue Vol 1. Oxford Pergamon Press.

Ernest Edmonds – Null-Dimension exhibition. Galerie New Space, Fulda, Germany (1989, Gmunden, Austria)

Adrian Wilson (British artist based in New York) included in Art and Computers exhibition at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art.  He was one of the first English artists to use a Quantel Paintbox. He also wrote for Computer Images magazine and created digital art for clients.

Michael ShortRunning Man, Mac II, 8MB RAM, Daystar 33MHZ Accelerator.

Jeffrey Shaw – The Legible City – navigate 3D word-city, first shown as wire-frame graphics operated by a joystick at The Bonnefanten in Maastricht, Netherlands. Later implemented using a bicycle, with better quality visualisations. See 1989.

Jeremy Gardiner RCA – received a New York foundation for the Arts Foundation fellowship and in 1988 an honorary mention for his work from the Prize Ars Electronica. Since 1982 he incorporated digital media in his working process.

Adrian Wilson (British artist based in New York) included in Art and Computers exhibition at Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art. He also wrote for Computer Images magazine and created digital art for clients.

Psalter Lane Art College in Sheffield sets up a new Computer Graphics studio, alongside a new general computer suite. This had 12 Apollo Aegis (Unix) workstations. See below for 3M. Software included CGAL (Computer Graphics Animation Language) surface modeller from Peter Comninos at Bournemouth University, SDRC (Structural Dynamics Research Corporation) Ideas 3D solid modeller, an AutoCAD, which was 2.5 D. U-matic single fame video animation. The 12 workstation network had a 100 Mb tape backup system in a special room. This lab was run by Dr David Elliott and Geoff Davis (Micro Arts Group). The workstations were obsolete by 1992, and could not be given away when replaced by a suite of PCs.

The First International Symposium on Electronic Art (FISEA) – Centre for Art, Media and Technology, Utrecht Academy, Netherlands. Previously the Foundation for Creative Computer Applications (SCCA), along with the Utrecht Academy of Arts, proposed the ground-breaking 1988 symposium to an unexpectedly huge international response. A number of the selected papers appeared in a special issue of Leonardo, journal of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology. FISEA brought together experts (artists, scientists and engineers) in the field of electronic art. The enthusiastic international interest shows the importance of continued research and development even now, when the field has fractured (or expanded).

Clauser, H. R.Towards a Dynamic, Generative Computer Art – Leonardo (see above)  book attempting to define generative art with examples. Includes music and fine art. Now available as a pdf from Scribd.

Sony and Philips developed the technical standard that defined the format of the CD-ROM, in what was later called The Yellow Book. The CD-ROM could hold 553 megabytes of recorded data and was used to distribute data and software, and for video games.

‘3M’ Workstations – a high-end workstation had to have at least the three Ms. The ‘3M computer’ or just 3Ms had a Megabyte of memory, a Megapixel display (roughly 1000×1000), and a million instructions per second (1 MIPS). Note that the original 1981 IBM Personal Computer had only 16 kilobytes of memory, a text-only display, and floating-point performance around 1 kiloflops, a thousand times slower.

Other features in workstations not in contemporary desktop computers included networking, graphics accelerators, and high-speed data buses. In the early 1980s a typical desktop computer such as an early IBM Personal Computer might have 1/8 of a megabyte of memory (128K), 1/4 of a million pixels (640×400 monochrome display), and run at 1/3 million instructions per second (5 MHz 8088). These workstations cost $10,000 upwards.

NeXT Computer was introduced in 1988 as a 3M machine by Steve Jobs, even though it didn’t reach the spec.

James Faure Walker (RCA etc.) exhibited eight times at SIGGRAPH in the USA, and won the ‘Golden Plotter’ prize at Computerkunst, Gladbeck, Germany. Art included ‘Happy Circle’ in 1988, Xerox inkjet print, and prints in 1989, ‘Translucency study’, ‘Night Song’, ‘Forest Sounds’ and ‘Dawn.’

Birth Control via Your C64 – in the Australian Commodore Review. Early medical uses of the Commodore 64.

Joseph Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski – researching chaos theory and absorbing Mandelbrot‘s Beauty of Fractals, Ostoja began adding this to his laser and CGI pieces. The Australian magazine featured some of his large output in the area of computer graphics.

AR: The Dungeon – new alternate reality game from Philip Price and Datasoft.

Pixar’s computer-animated short film Tin Toy was released in August 1988, and shown at SIGGRAPH to a standing ovation. Tin Toy won an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the next Academy Awards, becoming the first computer-animated film to win an Oscar. Tin Toy legitimized computer animation as a film medium and led to Pixar’s 1995 feature film Toy Story.

The first International Symposium on Electronic Art (also known as ISEA 88) was held in Utrecht, Netherlands, on September 27 1988. The symposium was founded to support international electronic arts, to support an international network of individuals and organisations active in the field. It led to the 1990 foundation of ISEA International. It was formerly Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts.

Art and Computers exhibition, Cleveland Gallery, Middlesborough UK, toured over the following 12 months. Displayed early Quantel Paintbox work by artist and photographer Adrian Wilson.

College of Santa Fe – Moving Image Arts Department founded by Gene Youngblood, who lectured on media arts theory at more than four hundred higher-learning institutions.

Bruce Sterling – SF author – Islands in the Net. Multiple award-winning novel about future networked corporations and the global effects.

Nam June Paik’s installation ‘The More the Better’ was erected in Seoul, South Korea, to celebrate the 1988 Seoul Olympics. Nam June Paik’s largest video installation was made up of 1003 old television monitors, creating a 60-foot tower that weighed 16 tons.

The One Game – ITV (UK) drama serial, the first appearance of an Alternative Reality Game (referred to as a ‘reality game’) on television. See 1993.

The Manual (How to Have a Number One the Easy Way) – book by Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond of concept band The KLF. Step-by-step guide to having a ‘No.1 single’ (best selling vinyl record) with no money or musical skill, inspired by their Dr. Who-sampling hit ‘Doctorin’ the Tardis’. Even punks had to learn a few chords. Predicted (or just commented on) home studios, sampling, and the end of the music industry.  (Which came later than they expected, as the book was stated to be obsolete in 12 months. Napster started in 1999.)

Akai MPC – long-running series of music workstations made from 1988 onwards. The MPC combines sampling and sequencing and is very popular due to its fast workflow and excellent audio quality. Also compact and robust unlike other samplers of the time.

AdLib Music Synthesizer Card available, with Yamaha sound chip (see 1989 Sound Blaster).

Cheetah MD8 Digital Drum Machine – as usual with Cheetah, cheaper ‘home studio’ version of professional equipment.

Public Enemy – It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back album released to near-universal acclaim.

Golden Age of Hip Hop – the impact of samplers had a huge creative impact on rapping and scratching, resulting in as big a change in music as that in pop with ZTT and other digital producers.

The Haçienda’s pioneering Ibiza night, ‘Hot’, introducing techno and house (Manchester UK).

Stewart Home – ‘Festivals of Plagiarism’ organised by the writer in 1988 and 1989, plagiarising Neoist and Fluxus festivals.

Lockheed F-117A stealth attack aircraft revealed, maiden flight was 1981 (USA).