A history of technology and art. Part 1

The 1960’s was an important decade for the history of digital technologies.

Digital art didn’t develop in a vacuum, it has strong connections to previous art movements, including Dada and conceptual art. The influence of these art movements on digital art lies in their approach of formal instructions, concepts, event and audience participation, as opposed to unified material objects.

Dadaist poets created poems from random variations of words and lines within certain rules, this is something a computer can do very easily.

Marcel Duchamp explored the notions of interaction and ‘virtuality’ in art , in relation to objects and their optical effects.


Duchamp’s ‘Rotary Glass Plates’, (above), created in 1920 with Man Ray, is an optical machine. The machine invited users to turn it on and stand at a distance to see the effect unfold.

Duchamp’s work has been extremely influential on digital art, his use of concepts in his work rather than objects. His use of found objects is like the use of many copied or sampled images in digital art.


Lá szló Moholy-Nagy’s ‘Kinetic sculpture moving’ c. 1933, (above), is a sculpture which creates shapes with the movement of light, the quick moving lights gives the illusion of a object moving, a virtual object. This idea has been used in different digital installations.



~ by deodesign on August 18, 2007.

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