I have often been asked what was it like to do computer art forty four years ago. We had only one computer on campus. Truly primitive by today’s standards. After processing a Fortran program you got back punch cards. The punch cards which contained the graphics information were used to drive a drum plotting device. The software for the device only understood pen down and pen up for the beginning and the end of line segments. No animation language, modeling tools, nothing. We had to invent everything. Computer graphics was in its beginning stages. Commercial graphics software began to arrive about 10 years later.
I was very naive not realizing the complexity of the task ahead. At the same time I was convinced the computer represented a doorway into a new world of ideas. It was this belief which motivated me in spite of many difficulties. I was a traditional painter who literally jumped into the computer world. The technical issues were overwhelming. A shift from expressionism to linear logic was a shock. Like trying to express your feelings through a strange and mysterious language. I could have no dialog with anybody in the arts. The arts refused to listen. It was a time of creative isolation.
The computer center was the meeting ground for anybody interested in computers. I became engaged in dialogs with colleagues from mathematics, physics,biology and computer science. Their interest in my quest of the computer as a medium for art gave me the encouragement to continue. They helped me to gain insights into new ideas about the representation and control of reality. It broadened my perspective on how to use the computer as a creative tool. This excitement generated by new knowledge continues to this day. I continue my journey knowing that it is the process of involvement which is the true meaning of it all.