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Libby Heaney

Scientists, artists and designers joined the V&A computer art curators for discussions around their collection of amazing early computer art works to start the research project making art work with early stage quantum technologies.

V&A senior curator Douglas Dodds and curator Melanie Lenz spoke about items from the collection including Manfred Mohr, Friedrich Nake, Vera Molnar and other early computer artists and focused on the themes of politics, collaboration between scientists and artists, randomness/algorithms, language and experimentation.  The visit acted as provocations for the collaborations and the participants were asked to think how the afore-mentioned areas (and others) translated into today’s contexts around the new quantum computational technologies.

For instance, we spoke about the politics surrounding the work at the time, namely that it was made by the same machines that had been responsible for the devastation during the war.  In fact Friedrich Nake at one point gave up making computer art entirely due to the situation around Vietnam.  Other artists felt that so-called rational art, which was increasingly devoid of emotion, was less political believing that emotions and not logic were actually to blame for world war two.

So what are the political issues (both with a big and small p) surrounding this project?  What does it mean to be making work with these new technologies in collaboration with scientists?

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img_3811 Photos: Libby Heaney