Ken Perlin talks Pixels

Over on his blog, Ken Perlin has described some of the early days of digital animation. Back before Pixar, Perlin and a team of smart cookies conducted a graphics test for Where the Wild Things Are. The result was fluid, entertaining, and completely innovative. Unfortunately, Disney didn’t bite and the project was eventually brought to Pixar, who ran with the idea of creating cartoons with digital animation (obvvvviiiiiiously). The great thing about this series of blog articles is that Perlin was actually on the scene, and his witty, relatable writing easily conveys a sense of what it’s like to be on the forefront of invention.


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New Media Reader Timeline

Chapter 34–36

1984–Sherry Turkle publishes Video Games and Computer Holding Power

Turkle comments on the way in which people project themselves into the electronic stories they play. Video games have become a widespread force by this point.

1984–A printer provider at the MIT Artificial Intelligence lab closes the source code to one of its driver software updates.

1985–Donna Haraway publishes A Cyborg Manifesto

Though controversial at the time, Haraway’s text has become a foundational text, as it provides a way to view the mythos of the human experience in light of technological advancement. The text forms the basis of a class at Gallatin that I’m also taking, titled Rethinking the Biological Sciences.

1985–Richard Stallman publishes The GNU Manifesto.

The manifesto was a response to the closing of source code at the AI lab in 1984. Stallman’s contributions eventually helped GNU/Linux or Linux become the powerhouse open-source system it is today.

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New Media Reader Timeline

Chapter 28-33

1980–Seymour Papert publishes Mindstorm: Children, Computers, and Powerful Ideas

Papert, a student of Piaget’s, developed ‘constructionism’ as a theory informing a methodology for teaching children how to engage in self-motivated learning behavior. Generally this behavior is enforced with the use of software and programming skills.

1980–Richard A. Bolt publishes Put-That-There: Voice and Gesture at the Graphics Interface

-Bolt pioneered a way of interacting with computers that privileged speech and gesturing over writing or typing.

1981–Theodore H. Nelson publishes Proposal for a Universal Electronic Publishing System and Archive

Nelson explains his concept of a hypermedia network. To some extent the current Web embodies his ideas, though it lacks a specific structure.

1982–Bill Viola publishes Will There Be Condominiums in Data Space?

-Viola, a prominent video artist, examines how video art can affect the way we see ourselves, and the way we see new media.

1983–Ben Bagdikian publishes The Endless Chain.

-The first edition of Bagdikian’s book was seen as alarmist, however its prediction of new media conglomeration has come true.

1983–Ben Shneiderman publishes Direct Manipulation: A Step Beyond Programming Languages

-Graphical representation and the direct control of those graphics becomes a more widely implementable reality.

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New Media Reader Timeline

Chapter 24-27

1970–Software exhibition

1976–Joseph Weizenbaum publishes Computer Power and Human Reason

Weizenbaum reexamines the Eliza chatterbox system. Questions of humanity and cognitive integrity are raised. Janet Murray also reevaluates the Eliza system as a new avenue for creative expression

1977–Myron Krueger publishes Responsive Environments

-He also writes about artificial reality. RE and AR are part of the cannon of technology called Virtual Reality. His work challenged the boundary between technology and art.

1977–Alan Kay and Adele Goldberg publish Personal Dynamic Media

The paper outlines the ideas developed at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center on the uses of notebook computing. Notebook computers were meant to be used by all people. However, the desktop revolution of the late 80s would have to come first.

1980–Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari publish A Thousand Plateaus

The text is a call to arms for writers and users of new media to actually write multiplicative or hypertexts as opposed to only defining them or talking about them. Deleuze and Guattari are influential critical theorists.

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New Media Reader Timeline

Chapter 18-23

1970–Hans Magnus Erzenberger publishes Constituents of a Theory of Media

He argues for a non-capitalistic new foundational organization of     media

1972–Baudrillard publishes Requiem for the Media

-Baudrillard contributes to the emerging conversation on interactivity and sharing within media. He questions how media functions socially.

1972–Raymond Williams publishes Television: Technology and Cultural Form

He articulates the concept of flow, which is the fluid combination of segments, commercials, etc. that make up the experience of watching TV. Likewise, the concept of social histories of media begin to come into play.

1974–Augusto Boal publishes The Theater of the Oppressed

-Incorporates a type of Anti-Aristollian poetics, or movement for social justice. He examines an embodied understanding of new media.

1975–Nicholas Negroponte publishes Soft Architecture Machines

The idea is that users should be empowered by computers rather than intimidated.

1976–Negorponte founds the  “Architecture Machine Group” at MIT

1985–Negroponte expands the group to form the MIT Media Lab, which conducts research into future applications of technology.

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This gallery is located in the Chelsea art district but features more technology than most galleries in the area. While I was visiting, there were a few artists in residence who created a competitive YouTube arena, in which players battled using selected videos to garner audience votes. Sorta like an outsourced Magic game. Overall I found this gallery to pretty enjoyable, though I have seen a few lackluster shows there.

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bitforms Gallery

This gallery sits on the second floor of a building in the Chelsea 20th area and is dedicated to the curation of new media art. I thought some of their current pieces were a bit passe, though this may have been due to my lack of familiarity with their historic precedence.

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