(edited by) Adam Lauder – Computational Arts in Canada 1967-1974


McIntosh Gallery, ISBN: 978-0771431425, English, 84 pages, 2020, Canada

Early computer art, especially that pre-personal computers, is often seen as a simple and primitive collection of experiments that primarily tested the technical possibilities of the time, following a certain aesthetic principle. On the contrary, the reconstruction of early computational art is important to discover the germs of what we have become accustomed to, but also to understand the essence of computational processes and cultural heritage in relation to contemporary work. This is the catalogue of the exhibition “Computational Arts in Canada 1967-1974” at the McIntosh Gallery in London (Ontario), curated by Adam Lauder and Mark Hayward. It frames the fertile ground Canada was standing on at the time, with artist residencies at computer science institutes, access to various “new media” from telex to videoconferencing, and of course McLuhan’s discussion of his ideas on national TV. The interweaving of these elements is evident in the appended essays, which outline the local and national context, and in the artworks by Art Machine, Greg Curnoe, “Kee” Dewdney, Suzanne Duquet, Vera Frenkel, Giles Gheerbrant, Leslie Mezei, N.E. Thing Co. and Roger Vilder. They show how computational literature, abstraction, animation, streaming and social media are concepts that have been in development for almost four decades.