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Styles & Periods
Computer Art

Computer Art is any art that was conceived or produced by a computer. Even more important than these factors is the distinction that in computer art the technological role of the computer(s) is essential, or at least emphasized over other mechanized or manual methods. Computer art can be traced all the way back to the early 1950s, and the "Oscillons" created by Ben F. Laposky. The artist used electronic circuits to create electrical vibrations which were then displayed on the screen of an oscilloscope and finally captured using still photography. In the early 1960s, machine generated art began to pick up steam, initially produced, not by artists, but by the engineers and scientists that had access to early, expensive, computer technology. The presence of computer art was legitimized in 1968, when the Computer Arts Society was founded in Britain. The society brought together people from around the world that had begun to explore the ways that technology could impact art. In comparison to today’s products, the art of the computer was crude, as the artist had very limited means by which to input data. This clumsy, static approach was put to rest when, in the 1970s, the light pen was first introduced. This innovation introduced a hands-on element into the work for the first time. “Painting” directly on the screen was an understandable approach for many artists, including David Hockney and Richard Hamilton, notable computer artists. As computers and other electronics have become more powerful, sophisticated, and affordable, they have had a tremendous impact on the world of art, and allowed artists to achieve compositions that were once unimaginable.

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