Lillian F. Schwartz is a pioneer in computer art - born in 1927, she is still making art on a computer to this day. On her Vimeo channel (which features a vast collection of her works from the 1970’s onwards), there are currently four new pieces.
Lillian Schwartz is best known for her pioneering work in the use of computers for what has since become known as computer-generated art and computer-aided art analysis, including graphics, film, video, animation, special effects, Virtual Reality and Multimedia. Her work was recognized for its aesthetic success and was the first in this medium to be acquired by The Museum of Modern Art. Her contributions in starting a new field of endeavor in the arts, art analysis, and the field of virtual reality have been recently awarded Computer-World Smithsonian Awards.
Music by Albert Miller. Picture-processed photos from the artist-filmmaker’s family. Faces are abstracted in a divisionistic manner. “… one of the great motion pictures of our time. While embracing the full range of human activity from cradle to old age, the production illuminates with deep feeling the many elements of present-day technology in filmmaking and the expanded cinema. It is truly a work of genius.” – John W. L. Russell, International Media Coordinator, USIA. Awards – Golden Eagle-Cine 1976; Grenoble Film Festival Award 1976, International Women’s Film Festival 1976. Cannes Film Festival. (7 min.)
PK Note: What I found interesting (other than the obvious filter-like contemporary conversion of the images) is the many technologies this film has gone through to arrive here, on a webpage via YouTube, and that can still be considered part of the conceptual piece. Here we have computer-manipulated imagery that was transferred and edited onto film, which since has been transferred to digital media (as you will notice in the last 30 seconds, unintentionally becoming part of the experience of the work), then put online.
Filmed in 1976 for Bell Labs as an educational film. Portland Art describes her best:
As a consultant at Bell Laboratories in the 1970s, Schwartz developed computerized techniques for merging sound, art and video. Her innovative research makes her the grand dame of computer-generated art and computer-aided art analysis… including contemporary film, video, animation, graphics, multimedia, special effects and virtual reality.
“In the traditional of ‘visual music,’ her work from this period features animated computer-based shapes and fields— transformed through color gels and film stock— that synch, pulse, and grow to the equally distinct and complex computer and electronic soundtracks.”
Pixillation by Lillian Schwartz (1970) - early computer animated film (4 minutes)
"With computer-produced images and Moog-synthesized sound Pixillation is in a sense an introduction to the electronics lab. But its forms are always handsome, its colors bright and appealing, its rhythms complex and inventive." - Roger Greenspun, N. Y. Times. Golden Eagle-Cine 1971. Moog sound by Gershon Kingsley; Version III: pulls the viewer into a primal experience. Awards:Red Ribbon Award for Special Effects from The National Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences; The Smithsonian Institution and The United States Department of Commerce, Travel Services for Man & His World at the Montreal Expo, ‘71; collection The Museum of Modern Art. Commissioned by AT&T. (4 min.)