The Arts & Humanities gallery in the New Computer Museum will host rotating exhibits that illustrate and celebrate the myriad of ways that computers can be used to support creativity in the arts and humanities. The exhibits will range from primarily historic and educational to contemporary and purely entertaining. This page contains a small sample of materials already in our collection and the exhibits that would be developed using them as a starting point.
The People Behind the Pixels
One of the first exhibits would be about the history of computer graphics. Many people believe that the history of computer graphics is tied to Silicon Valley, but some of the history as well as the people who document it are actually in the New England area. The exhibit would emphasize some early key developments that happened right here in New England (e.g. Ivan Sutherland’s Sketchpad). Terrence Masson has served as an adviser to Digital Den/New Computer Museum, and the web site he “Masterminded” while at Northeastern University entitled People Behind the Pixels: History of CG and his book CG101:A Computer Graphics Industry Reference, 2nd Edition would be serve as a starting point for this exhibit.
Here is an interview with Terrence Masson done while he was serving as Chair of SIGGRAPH.
Art by Computer
The poster below is just one in a series that advertised the Computer Pioneers Lecture series at The Computer Museum, and it is included in a New Computer Museum exhibit of the entire series of posters.
The poster in the virtual edition of the New Computer Museum links to this YouTube video of a lecture about Harold Cohen’s AARON Paint System. The exhibit would include more examples of Cohen’s work along with other examples of computer generated art.
Art by Computer: A Demo Narrated by Harold Cohen 1980
Harold Cohen, The Program and Art Behind the Museum’s Murals 1980
AARONS Home (Harold Cohen)
Harold Cohen and AARON: Ray Kurzweil interviews Harold Cohen about AARON (Computer History Museum)
Harold Cohen at the Computer Museum (Computer History Museum)
Can Computers Create? (Computer History Museum)
Computer Graphics, Music, and Art (Computer History Museum)
Mary Hopper obtained her BA in English Literature from Purdue University (where one of her claims to fame was organizing the materials that became OWL), and then she later studied and/or worked on digital literature projects at Brown and MIT. Her archive contains early versions of numerous early, well known digital humanities projects. If/when there is a physical location, she will approach the Directors of those projects to construct an exhibit about how the projects evolved over time and platforms to become what they are today. The exhibits will include functioning examples of rare, but historical interesting pre-web software platforms (e.g. Brown’s Intermedia, MIT’s AthenaMuse etc.). Here are just two examples of the projects she hopes to include in the exhibit.
Since 1992, The MIT Global Shakespeare Project has been constructing electronic environments and building tools for teaching and research based on digital copies of primary documents in all media, including texts, high resolution page images of early editions, digital collections of art, illustration and stage photographs, and film and performance videos. — MIT Global Shakespeare Project: Digital Environments for Shakespeare (Peter S. Donaldson, MIT)
The Victorian Web, which originated in hypermedia environments (Intermedia, Storyspace) that existed long before the World Wide Web, is one of the oldest academic and scholarly websites. It takes an approach that differs markedly from many Internet projects. Today the Internet offers many excellent resources — and we use them often! — such as Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, the Library of Congress, and British Listed Buildings. These sites take the form of archives that quite properly preserve their information in the form of separate images or entire books accessible via search tools. The Victorian Web, in contrast, presents its images and documents, including entire books, as nodes in a network of complex connections. In other words, it emphasizes the link rather than the search tool (though it has one) and presents information linked to other information rather than atomized and isolated. — The Victorian Web, 1987-2012 — Why is it unique? Interesting? (George P. Landow, Editor-in-chief and Webmaster)