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Visualing Poetry With 1960s Computer Graphics - AT&T Archives

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Published on Aug 13, 2012

See more from the AT&T Archives at http://techchannel.att.com/archives

From 1964 through around 1969, artist Stan VanDerBeek worked with computer scientist Ken Knowlton on a series of films:

PoemField No. 1 (1965)
PoemField No. 2 (1966) (this one, with a free jazz soundtrack by Paul Motian)
PoemField No. 3 (1967)
PoemField No. 4 (no date)
PoemField No. 5 (1967)
PoemField No. 6 (no date)
PoemField No. 7 (1971)
PoemField No. 8 (no date)
Collido-Oscope (1966) (VanDerBeek, Knowlton and Bosche)
Man and His World, 1967 (shown at Expo '67)

Each film was constructed using Knowlton's BEFLIX computer language, which was based on FORTRAN. The films were programmed on a IBM 7094 computer. The films were created in black and white, with color added later by Brown and Olvey. This particular version is taken from a film with some color decay.

VanDerBeek passed away in 1984. He is also part of the film Incredible Machine, made in 1968. VanDerBeek was part of a unique program at Bell Labs that allowed artists to work with computer scientists in order to explore and advance the technology in the fields of computer graphics and music. The program was given tacit approval by department head John Robinson Pierce, yet was not a formal arrangement within the Labs.

Footage Courtesy of AT&T Archives and History Center, Warren, NJ

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