1989 Computer digital art and music


Roy AscottAspects of Gaia: Digital Pathways across the Whole Earth. This advanced work was an installation for the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Germany.

William LathamOrganic Art simulations. His computer art exhibitions ‘The Conquest of Form’ and ‘The Empire of Form’ toured the UK, Japan, Germany and Australia from 1989 for 3 years.

Stephen Bell in Art and Computers, touring group exhibition.

Joseph Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski – worked at the Bell Labs (1967) and used microcomputers in his sound and image art practice from the early 1980s onwards, starting with an 8-bit Acorn BBC Micro, as used for his 1989 BP Christmas Star commission, a large electronic star on BP House, Melbourne, (Australia). Later used a 32-bit Acorn Archimedes.

Electronic Print show at Arnolfini Museum in Bristol (UK)  curated by Martin Reiser.

Ernest Edmonds – Re-Views: Contemporary systematic and constructive arts. The Small Mansion Arts Centre, London UK. Work shown: Video Construct plus painting.

Ernest Edmonds – Constructivism versus Computer. Galerie FARO, World Trade Centre, Rotterdam, Netherlands. Work shown: First exhibition of colour Video Constructs.

Ernest Edmonds – see also 1988 Null-Dimension, shown in 1989 in Gmunden, Austria.

Frank Gehry awarded the Pritzker Architecture Prize (Hyatt Foundation).

Jean-Pierre Hebert – first participation at SIGGRAPH art gallery in Boston USA.

Jeffrey Shaw – The Legible City – navigate 3D word-city, now implemented using a bicycle with better quality visualisations, to international acclaim.  ACM SIGGRAPH. See 1988.

Sans Lever La Plume (Without Lifting The Pen) – Hebert exhibition of very closely drawn plotter images, which took days (up to 60 hours) to draw with a single plotted line, requiring continual monitoring by eye while being drawn. Vent Noir II is a famous work.

Charles Csuri awarded Distinction Prix Ars Electronica, International Compendium of the Computer Arts for Mask of Fear.

Joseph Stanislaus Ostoja-Kotkowski – started using microcomputers extensively to produce still images with a mathematical fractal generator and the custom paintbox program Photodesk.

World Wide Web protocol devised by English scientist  at CERN Tim Berners-Lee.

Nintendo Game Boy released, an 8-bit handheld game console, in Japan on April 21 1989. The Game Boy used removable cartridges.

Quantel Paintbox V-Series second generation introduced used cheaper general purpose computer hardware along with custom hardware elements, a method used in later DSP (digital signal processing) music systems such as Digidesign Sound Designer and Pro Tools (1989, 1990) and the German Creamware Audio GmbH (1992).

Kid Pix was first released on Macintosh. A bitmap drawing program for children. It was a simpler version of MacPaint, released in 1984 with the original Macintosh computer. It was created by Craig Hickman, who worked at Apple, after he saw how his 3-year-old son struggled with MacPaint.

Microsoft Word for Windows 1.0 released.

SuperCard released, more powerful HyperCard with more features, published by Silicon Beach Software.

Ignotus Game – for HyperCard and early MacOS. Algorithmic pattern-making game.

Sim City – creator game by Will Wright, released by Maxis. Wright originally coded Micropolis in 1985, but no publisher wanted it, as it had no normal game elements. Achieved huge success and influence.

Steinberg Cubase following the Pro-24 sequencer, but Cubase is the software that made its name. The first version introduced the concept of the ‘arrange page’ with its vertical list of tracks and horizontal timeline – a design that quickly became the standard interface for all commercially developed sequencers.

Zero Wing – arcade game which was later ported to Flash by Mega Drive/Genesis (1992 ), giving rise to the internet memeAll your base are belong to us‘.  It was subtitled and badly translated.

Sound Blaster 1.0 (code named ‘Killer Kard’ as much better than previous Creative sound cards) released. In addition to older Game Blaster features, it had an 11-voice FM synthesizer using the Yamaha YM3812 chip, also known as OPL2. It had perfect compatibility with the market leader AdLib sound card, which had become popular for gaming in 1988.

Digidesign Sound Tools – digital music workstations, using software and some custom hardware with Apple systems. Dubbed the “first tapeless studio”. Next version was Pro-Tools.

Kyma music system by Symbolic Sound founded. Used throughout professional film and audio environments as well as by artists. Still operating now. See 1986.

AIDS Trojan virus – December – thousands of floppy disks with the first ransomware mailed to subscribers of PC Business World magazine and a World Health Organisation AIDS conference mail list. Waited, then encrypted all filenames on the infected system, with a notice asking for $189 to be sent to a post office box in Panama to receive a decryption program.

The Other Story – seminal post-colonial exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in 1989. Curated by Pakistani artist/activist Rasheed Araeen. It also featured Anwar Jalal Shemza, Eddie Chambers, Sonia Boyce, Uzo Egonu, Avinash Chandra and Mona Hatoum. Shemza’s The Wall 1958 was the cover image for the catalogue. Father of contemporary artist who uses software and electronics Aphra Shemza.

De La Soul3 Feet High And Rising – classic hip hop album, using skits, pop samples, a big crossover hit.

Stewart Home – early novel Pure Mania (Polygon).

Nick Park CBE – animator and director (graduate of Sheffield’s Psalter Lane art college) has won six Academy Awards, including four with Creature Comforts (1989) which also won an Oscar. Wallace & Gromit: A Grand Day Out (1989) released, winning a BAFTA (UK). Computer controlled cameras.

Warp Records independent record label founded in Sheffield concentrating on electronic music, techno, etc, often using computer generated imagery for designs, eg, ‘Pioneers of the Hypnotic Groove'(1991) with cover by computer designer/artist Phil Wolstenholme.

Berlin Wall – 9 November 1989. After street demonstrations, all East German (GDR) citizens could visit West Germany and West Berlin, leading to the ‘fall’ of the Berlin Wall.