Tag Archives: Early computing

Modern-Classic

2016, digital, based on and utilising A. Michael Noll’s Gaussian-Quadratic, 1963.

computerart

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Interests

Many of my interests stem back to childhood. I recall being asked to run an errand at primary school which involved taking something to a class full of atlases. So I promptly sat down in the book corner and read the atlases. Cue teacher who sent me coming up twenty minutes later and giving me the third degree. Still didn’t sway my love of beautiful maps.

Another interest of mine, old computers and in particular old computer graphics, comes from a little later. I’d only just started secondary school and in the library there were a number of books from the early 80s with illustrations of computer graphics in them. I believe it was my interest in games which attracted me to them. The earliest games I had seen at that point were Donkey Kong (1981), Digdug and Pole Position (both 1982), all with extremely blocky graphics that fascinated me. So I tried to visualise how computer graphics looked in the 1970s going by this slim evidence. I would later learn that, until Pong, raster graphics were rarely used in favour of the vectors used by the earliest games such as Spacewar (1962, PDP-1). Installing a full computer in an arcade would be ungainly and cost-ineffective, hence we got a PCB and a CRT.

Maybe I should write about more of my interests. It’s interesting (no pun intended) to go back and found out how I got into them.

 

Computer poetry

So I came across this video entitled Poemfield No. 2 from 1971. It uses the BEFLIX graphics system from 1964 and is entirely computer-generated save for the music and colourisation. Be aware that it is very seizure-inducing.

It got me thinking about the use of computer animation to present my works. Now of course that is a dime-a-dozen these days, but what if I was to simulate the BEFLIX system in some way? Retro is in at the moment and I much prefer ancient computer graphics to the streamlining of today. Not to mention it is quite dramatic-looking. I think it would leave more an impact on the viewer than any of today’s graphics suites.

 

A conversation with Eliza

Eliza was born in the 60s. At the time, many people thought her to be completely human, and her realism drove her creator Joe Weizenbaum into preaching the evils of artificial intelligence. However, she would pass no Turing tests today. Let’s take her for a spin:

E: Hello, I am Eliza.
S: Hi, I’m Sinead.
E: Do you believe it is normal to be Sinead?
S: Definitely not!
E: Tell me more…
S: I am not a normal person at all.
E: Do you believe it is normal to be not a normal person at all?
S: Very much so.
E: Tell me more…
S: It’s pretty hard to define normal, but I’m not normal in that my way of thinking differs from that of the control population.
E: Did you come to me because you are not normal in that your way of thinking differs from that of the control population?
S: No, I came to you for something for my blog. Hope you don’t mind 🙂
E: We were discussing you, not me.
S: Were we?
E: OK… “No, you came to me for something for your blog. Hope me don’t mind :)”. Tell me more.
S: Well, my blog is an experimental writing blog, and I have an interest in early computer programs which attempt to simulate human behaviour.
E: What do you think machines have to do with your problems?
S: Nothing.
E: OK… “Well, your blog is an experimental writing blog, and you have an interest in early computer programs which attempt to simulate human behaviour”. Tell me more.
S: Well, the quote marks aren’t necessary when you’re paraphrasing me.
E: Perhaps you would like to be paraphrasing you?
S: Maybe.
E: Can’t you be more positive?
S: I try.
E: OK… “Well, the quote marks aren’t necessary when I’m paraphrasing me”. Tell me more.
S: Oh, how I wish you’d learn.