Review of Digital Pioneers at V&A Museum London, by Rob Myers

Digital Pioneers.

Rob Myers reviews the exhibition Digital Pioneers, at the V & A Museum. An overview of the first decades of the computer’s history in art and design. including some of the earliest computer-generated works in the V&A’s collections, many of which have never been exhibited in the UK before.

Digital Pioneers
Victoria And Albert Museum
7 December 2009 – 25 April 2010.

“The bulk of the art in the show was produced between the 1950s and the 1970s. This means that it was produced or recorded as photographs from cathode ray tubes or as print-outs from teletypes and pen plotters. Some of this work will be familiar to students of the history of art computing through reproductions but as with most art reproductions do not tell the whole story.

Seeing the actual work itself is as important for art made using the paraphernalia of early digital computing as it is for art made with linseed oil and cotton duck. What Digital Pioneers drives home is just how deeply and intentionally involved early computer artists were in manipulating the aesthetically limited but socially and ideologically key technology of computing machinery. This leaves both social art historians and code aesthetes with some explaining to do, or at least some catching up.”


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