MA2 – Geoff Davis: Various Unusual Events – see below for image & video gallery
ZX Spectrum 48k – 1984
MA2 was a compilation of conceptual computer art, with only one art piece (Piano Bar), and even that suggested a link to a real object (a piano player), although it was inspired by Anni Albers woven art, which relates to the Jacquard loom. The tape inner card said:
“A self-explanatory menu controls the following UNUSUAL EVENTS:
THE STUDIO (Random Walking): let your TV go walkabout while you pace your cell. Colour controllable.
MINIMAL: the longest shortest program. Takes nearly 2 years to run.
DADA: generates neologisms, which can be strung together as phonetic poetry (an old Dada trick, used by the group Talking Heads on ‘I Zimbra’) used as cues for words, etc.
THE MONEY-WORK SYSTEM: from ‘SCUM Manifesto’ by Valerie Solanas, the woman who shot Andy Warhol. Animated entertainment.
CARRY ON COMPUTING: this time it’s the computer that has the spasms. One word stops the cycle. With occasional music.
THE PIANO BAR: a mobile graphic ‘score’ for keyboard music, or any other type of activity. Colour controllable.”
All material (program and image) 1984 Geoff Davis (2020). Prints and so on will be available in 2021, from this site at the Computer Arts Archive.
MA2 was reviewed in Sinclair User 1984 thus:
The alternative society is still throbbing at Micro Arts, the magazine Gremlin discovered in January. The high priests of pretension have now released Micro Arts 2, Various Unusual Events, a selection of programs on cassette. The events include the dire Minimal, which fills up the screen with dots very, very slowly, and Dada, which makes up words at random.
Pride of place goes to The Money Work System based on The Scum Manifesto by Valerie Solanas. Gremlin regards this as essential viewing for all neo-patriarchal non-feeling fascists, i.e. men, especially ones who cannot win at Hampstead. Buy the program, and learn why only “very young or very sick women” will endure male company without being “coerced or bribed”.
The only visual work similar to the MA1 “abstracts” was Piano Bar, see below.
VARIOUS UNUSUAL EVENTS
Slow Art – 2 years to finish. An early example of environmental or slow (long term) art. Also a joke about fast paced computer graphics.
Above: one pixel to bottom left.
Studio (Random Walking)
By adding walking feet to the generation of the screen art, the whole concept of generative art piece is transformed. It looks ‘as if’ the shoe shapes are creating the art.
Dada # 0
In June 1916 Hugo Ball, founder of Dada, performed a set of sound poems on stage at the Cabaret Voltaire club in Zurich. This program created random works from letter, to be recited as sound art.
The Money-Work System (SCUM Manifesto)
Animation of SCUM Manifesto by Valerie Solanas (1967). She was a (later) diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic who shot Andy Warhol, critic Mario Amaya and tried to shoot manager Fred Hughes. The previous year Solanas submitted a manuscript to Warhol, but he suspected police entrapment as the script was so extreme. He mentioned this in an interview, and then lost the manuscript, triggering Solanas’s homicidal rage. This is covered best in POPism by Andy Warhol and Pat Hackett.
Solanas agitated for a money-free women-only system to solve the world’s ills. A universal benefit system with electronic money was explored in one of my fictions, a novella ‘Death in the Bubble World’ (1997). This invented an electronic currency, please visit the site ‘Easy Money Units’.
The MA2 version was an animation, a sort of primitive graphic novel, with a sad faced male as anti-hero.
The original was an adult version. The frames have been edited.
Carry On Computing
Math art? Code as art? This was a program that displayed chunks of code on the screen, for no educational reason. Just computer code art, after Stan Brakhage.
The Piano Bar
A scrolling colour generator. This has visual parallels with Anni Albers (Bauhaus) woven creations, and the loom inspired origin of computer technology (Jacquard’s Loom). Both used repetitions with small variations.
MA2 Various Unusual Events – Piano Bar
Above: Piano Bar scrolling art – see below for more information
Loop of 2 and 6
The two visual pieces could be run in a loop for ambient visuals.
Above: Inner cassette Micro Arts MA2 – Geoff Davis: Various Unusual Events