Anabel Jankel and Ricky Morton

This book published in 1984 (available from Amazon) was one of the first computer art books I bought and offered a fascinating insight in digital visual culture, seen as quite separate from ‘traditional’ cultural expressions.

The blending of the ‘material’ and ‘immaterial’ had not quite taken shape and the idea of cyberspace was a space ‘out there’ or at least that was my perception of it then (and now). The readings in the next few weeks will bring an opportunity to take stock.

Anabel Jankel and Ricky Morton were also responsible for Max Headroom, a TV character that was made-belief entirely digital, but in effect was an actor. Computer imagery was not quite sophisticated enough to be able to visualise fully digitised realistic  animation.

This idea is in stark contrast to the character of Rick Deckard in Blade Runner, who (if one listens to Ridley Scott)  is not quite certain if he is a replica or not…both fictional characters appeared in 1984 and it seems that back then any visionary conceptions of what CGI might develop into was unlimited…

CGI articles in specialist journals seem to endlessly describe the wire-frame modelling and rendering of images,with ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ for a perfect realistic result. Hence the refreshing appearance of Pixar Jr which was actually telling us a story, in addition to some pretty good animation…

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This week’s activities (week 0)

The icebreaker is a great way of getting in the mood and swing of things.

What digital culture means is a kaleidscope of imagery… My mind always wanders… I started off with the ‘Dog image’, then there was Pixar, Mandelbrot, Blade Runner, Human League’s ‘Being Boiled’ and I had to stop myself.

1984 was a pretty crucial year for me: I decided then that computer graphics was totally fascinating. I thought it would be a great way to enhance film and TV images, music videos, even make some original electronic art… I met a few people, Edward Ihnatowics, Harold Cohen, John Landsdown all inspirational encounters, and then there was Ridley Scott’s film based on an old time favourite of mine (Philip K Dick‘s novel) and the music of the eighties, influenced by electronics, which I still listen to most days now…

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