NEWS: The Micro Arts Magazine 1984 first edition – online here now
Geoff Davis 2020
I had written for the student arts magazine and music fanzines, mainly Sheffield and London’s NMX by Martin Lacey (now publishing Safety Pin punk magazine). Friends supplied some of the articles, which covered art generation, music, etc. It was an alternative to the usual computer magazines which did not cover art, only graphic production, games etc. The Micro Arts operation was imagined to be commercial, which was ridiculous. But it did lead to some interesting work at Sheffield Psalter Lane art college, the London Institute etc.
Incidentally the second edition was planned and started but didn’t get any advertising, and so never came out. We had moved onto Prestel teletext by that time so paper seemed very old-fashioned (in 1985!). My response to all that was to make a concrete ‘tombstone’ edition of the second edition cover only, but that was later used as an actual paver in a garden path.
Get the new Micro Arts ebook – universal link
Editorial: this is a the Micro Arts Magazine editorial, by ‘Clive Sinclair’, a spoof piece based on a typical inspirational text:
Have you ever thought about computing and the people who are part of it as special? Here’s why, in a guest editorial…
“Few people have ever considered the therapeutic qualities of Computing and yet from all that I can see – and I have been looking for twenty years as you all know – there is definite evidence that something about Computing wipes out the general miseries of the humanity.
I have known, first and last at least two dozen Computer Scientists, at least fifty Computer Programmers and uncounted hundreds of Computer buffs.
If there is one thing that unites them, Computer Scientists, Programmers, buffs (and me) it is a quality of enthusiasm undimmed by age. They love to laugh, they love to be excited, they love to be interested. The world is not a dull place for them. It may be strange, it may be tantalising, it may be frustrating, but it is never dull.
How else can it possibly be for anyone who loves Computing? Is Computing a means of escape? Nuts! Is atomic warfare, space travel, robots, and – in general – man facing the scientific future escape? Of course not. It is the computer personality who dares to face life as it is with its dangers and risks. It is the Computer personality who dares to face change without feeling the sense of loss that goes with the departure from the womb – whatever may happen, the world is not a dull place for them.
This is healthy. There may have been a time in history when it was fine for the individual to be adjusted to his or her way of life; but this is no longer the time. This is a time when it is fine for an individual not to be adjusted to a way of life, because the way of life changes every year. He must be adjusted to change and it takes a healthy (in the modern sense) man or woman to so that.
Computer personalities, by their very interest in Computing, adjust themselves to change. And if someone feels the world to be frightening and harrowing because it doesn’t stay the same, I recommend a diet of Computers and the company of Computer Programmers.
It may take some getting used to at first; some acknowledgement of the fact that what seems a mild insanity at times can be and essential sanity, but in the end he’ll love it all; Computers and Computer People. As I do.”
This makes even more sense now than it did then. Computing is the focus of capitalism with frantic but essential upgrading, industry disruptions, social effects, perhaps caused by the silicon reality of Moore’s Law. Will it ever end?
Advert (below): this was an attempt to get advertisers for second issue (we didn’t actually print 5000 of these, but did have Arts Express distribution of sorts). The blurb mentions ‘artware’, which is now defined online as: merchandise (as knick-knacks) that is aesthetic as well as utilitarian.