Permutations (1968, John Whitney)

Computer Films of the 1960s

March 25–November 27, 2016

The 1960s was a seminal period for the artistic use of the computer in the creation of moving images. From the manipulation of geometric line drawings, to the use of realistic 3-D vector graphics to highly processed psychedelic abstraction, these films were the result of pioneering collaborations between artists, computer programmers, and technicians that anticipate the full integration of cinema with computer imaging. This compilation features a selection of pioneering films by Edward E. Zajac, A. Michael Noll, Charles A. Csuri, James P. Shaffer, Stan VanDerBeek, Kenneth Knowlton, and John and James Whitney. As seen in the adjacent exhibition, To the Moon and Beyond: Graphic Films and the Inception of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the films of John and James Whitney had a strong influence on Stanley Kubrick.

Works on view:

Simulation of a Two-Gyro Gravity-Gradient Attitude Control System (excerpt)
1963, Edward E. Zajac

Hypercube (excerpt)
1965, A. Michael Noll

Hypersphere (excerpt)
1965, A. Michael Noll

Computer-Generated Ballet (excerpt)
1965, A. Michael Noll

Hummingbird (excerpt)
1967, Charles A. Csuri and James P. Shaffer

Poemfield No. 3
1967, Stan VanDerBeek and Kenneth Knowlton

1961, John Whitney

1966, James Whitney

1968, James Whitney

Total running time: 37 minutes

Organized by guest curators Leo Goldsmith and Gregory Zinman