‘Ideas Before Their Time: Connecting the past and the present in Computer Art’ and ‘Post Computer Art — Ontological Undecidability and the Cat with Paint on its Paws’, London, 3 February 2010

The BCS Computer Arts Society SG is pleased to announce a special three-day event to launch our Spring 2010 programme. It begins on 3 February with a one-day symposium at the BCS including a free public talk that evening by keynote speaker Brian Reffin Smith and continues with a two-day conference at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Note that the Kinetica Art Fair will also be on in London from 4-7 February: http://www.kinetica-artfair.com/

3 February – Ideas Before Their Time – 9-6pm at BCS London HQ followed by a CAS talk by Brian Reffin Smith at 7:00

The symposium and conference both need to be booked in advance. The CAS evening talk is open to the public and free but an RSVP is necessary.

Wednesday 3 February 9:00 – 6:00

Ideas Before Their Time
Connecting the past and the present in Computer Art

BCS London HQ, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA

In conjunction with the Computer Arts Society, the CAT Project (Computer Art & Technocultures) is presenting a symposium at the British Computer Society in Covent Garden.

Many intriguing concepts have emerged in Computer Art over the past 50 years. Some have been brought to light in the archives examined by the CAT and CACHe Projects. Speakers from all areas of Computer Art, including practitioners, curators and historians, will discuss the past, present and future of this area.

Go to http://www.technocultures.org.uk/symposium.html to view the programme and book a place.

6:00 Drinks Reception

6:30 for 7:00 – Public Talk
BCS London HQ – as above
Free but RSVP necessary to

Speaker: Brian Reffin Smith

Title: Post Computer Art — Ontological Undecidability and the Cat with Paint on its Paws.

It is argued that an active re-visiting of computer based artworks from the last 60 or so years is essential to any progress of today’s work towards an activity that pushes at the frontiers of contemporary art.

We need to open up the history, works, techniques and discourses of computer based art to enable a revolution to occur – that of rendering the art problematic and ‘difficult’: then new solutions will emerge. It is suggested that whilst conceptual art was busy doing just this, computer based art was rushing madly in the opposite direction, trying in a reformist manner to make things easier, simpler.

Derrida, ‘Pataphysics, Schrödinger’s cat and the living dead may well be brought into play.

Brian Reffin Smith is a writer, artist, performer and teacher. He was a pioneer of computer-based conceptual art, with the aim of trying to resist technological determinism and ‘state of the art’ technology, which might merely produce ‘state of the technology’ art. He is a French civil servant, having been invited to work for their Ministry of Culture.

Smith, who won the first-ever Prix Ars Electronica, the Golden Nike, in Linz in 1987, is a Regent of the College of ‘Pataphysics, Paris, holding the Chair of Catachemistry and Speculative Metallurgy. He is Professeur, École Nationale Supérieure d’Art, Bourges, France.

Areas of work, research, teaching and performance include the idea of the philosophical Zombie in art and elsewhere, and the détournement or ‘hijacking’ of systems, mechanisms, programs etc. to make art.

He became a Zombie, after a short illness, in 1999.