The History of Computer Graphics and Digital Art Project
Describe your field. Why are you interested in Computer Art/ Computer Graphics and what (event, need, idea, hope, obstacle) caused your involvement? Summarize your line of development (the essence of your input to the field) in relation to concurrent technology.
I am both an educator and artist. I was drawn to the digital field because of its egalitarian nature. I have come to believe that all art is a matter of transferring the ideas and feelings residing in one mind to that of other human beings. Digital communication modes have the potential to facilitate a worldwide sharing of ideas without the traditional reliance on media power hierarchies or physical media. I have been working with electronic media since 1982.
On the education side of the equation I have been a key figure in the development of an Electronic Imaging program at the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth.
Does the computer allow you to think visually about some topic or process in new ways? How has this influenced your work? Describe your ultimate accomplishment.
There are many veiled passages that have been revealed to me while working and waltzing with the computer. In each circumstance an emphasis of idea over physical matter seems to regulate the process. As I get older and my material self seems to fade, I find the computer a facilitator and catalyst in extending my creative life. The Inside Light series with the creation and exploration of 3D virtual worlds is a unique example. In a very practical manner the computer allows me to work through endless variations of a theme without the physical limitations of traditional media. The “homage to fibinacci” and mathematics series could not have been realized without the use of computers. This world of ideas has led me to address relationships between the “head” and “hand”.
Has the field of computer art and graphics progressed in the ways that you expected? What has surprised you? What do you like about its progress and what do you wish had happened differently? What do you think the future holds for visual computing in science/art? Please make some predictions or wish lists for the near- and long-term future.
One of humankind’s natural inclinations is to move towards a type of collective consciousness. I am both attracted and repulsed by this idea. Are our bodies and minds analogous to simple cells moving towards some type of higher level of organization? Books, libraries and the vast databases of information on the net are manifestations of this human inclination. I believe that technology is an evolutionary component of mankind and that the integration of the two has been with us since the beginning of life.
Describe your dream environment for enhancing your project ideas. What are your preferred tools for creating and how do they work? What tools (hardware/software) you have used initially had the strongest impact on your work?
Dream environment: a healthy body, a world/universe at piece, a feeling of both freedom and purpose. Preferred tools: imagination and a sense or wonder.
Describe how you think specific advancements in technology, such as wireframe, hidden line removal, scanner, laser, HTML, Java applets, or any other advancement determined the way the approaches to creating art/graphics evolved?
The digital artist and the creators of new imaging technology have both a symbiotic and collaborative relationship. I have great respect and veneration for the people who develop the software and hardware I utilize.
How would you characterize the milestones (every ten years) in the development of computer technology? Which ones were most influential in art/graphics?
The discovery of the atom and its influence on 20th century music and visual art is one of the most powerful illustrations of the relationship between technology and art. I am also most curious about the current research regarding how the mind stores both emotional and quantifiable information.
Which persons would you indicate as the pioneers in the particular areas/stages in which decade?
There are too many to name.