Exhibiting Technical Images (A Focus Gallery Course, part II)


Spring 2012


5th Floor Classroom


This seminar is the second part of the Visual Cultures of Knowledge Focus Gallery course.  It is conceived as a tutorial that will be structured around questions of curating—the transformation of an idea and its objects into a coherent exhibition display.  Pictures and objects found in the office of recently deceased Cambridge-based scientist Benoît Mandelbrot, a mathematics professor at Yale, a noted researcher in various fields, and a former employee of IBM, will provide much of the material we’ll work with. Internationally renowned as a popularizer of chaos theory and fractals, Mandelbrot was one of the leading figures in the field of contemporary technical images. The exhibition will draw extensively from the archival resources of computer graphics, but also drawings, mixed media, polaroids, films, and small sculptures. The objects relate to manifold topics such as early digital aesthetics, science and pop culture, programmed simulations of nature (i.e. ’data landscapes’), their postmodern reception, variation and repetition, the question of authorship, computer graphics as material objects, the cross section of analogue and digital media, images without beholder, or ‘the waste of science,’ and the aesthetics of chance in relation to early computer art. We will also have the opportunity to discuss early digital image production with one of the programmers who worked with Mandelbrot in the 1970s. The course is open for new students. 3 credits.