The Aesthetic of Anticipation
September 12, 2008 11:55 PM   Subscribe

What does the artist do to a machine? There's a hammer lying here. Suppose we consider the computer a tool very much like the hammer, only we don't know what to make with it or what to do with it.

Artist, animator and underground filmmaker Stan Vanderbeek (1927-1984) started learning animation while working on the show Winky Dink and You in the '50s. Inspired by Buckminster Fuller, he created his Movie Drome to create an environment wherein one would be fully immersed in floating imagery.
He started working in cut-out stop motion animation and ended up working at MIT to become one of the first computer animators.

Twelve of his films have been made available by his estate _via Ubuweb.
posted by louche mustachio (2 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Beautiful. Not many things I see these days have such depth of insight.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 10:23 AM on September 13, 2008

Am shocked never to have heard of this brilliant thinker, artist, poet, innovator. Wish I'd met him. Wonderful though to learn about him now. Does he remind you in his face a bit of Jon Voigt? Wonder what his kids are like? In that video he seemed to have a sense of what the future of computers would be for 15 year olds. Looked up his obituary, he died of cancer, only 57. What a pity.

Had to look up his kids. Maximus is a high school music teacher, Sara is an artist, Johannes an artist, August is an innovative psychologist

Science Friction. ha. what a good name. Dang, that is so Monty Python! Wonder if they got their collage ides from his work? Tons of his great vids on YouTube. Boy, he would have loved the internet as it is now, so vast and creative. In my heart I send him a retro-active enjoyment of this incredible invention.

At the end of the first video in your first link, at 8:10 Vanderbeek says, "We must reach out, somehow, communicate, balance our senses and live a good life". What an inspiring statement.

Amazing to see the confidence he had in the future of computers, how accurately he foretold it. wow. Born in 1927. ah, he was at Black Mountain College. What a think tank that place was.

He made his film, Computer Generation in 1973.

His utopian yearning in 1966 led him to work with Ken Knowlton at Bell Telephone Laboratories, creating a dozen computer animation films, and experiments with holograms, always hoping to come closer to the working of the human nervous system through more complex technology.

I remember hearing about his Movie Drome in the late 60's, the multimedia experience thing. He'd actually created it in socially backwards 1963, which was still a very repressive time. It was a big deal in NYC in '69 and '70 both at museums and at discotheque sorts of places where people could go and have a sort of multi-sensory 'experience'. Pity that a few journalists trashed the concept, which was, basically, a type of playful, pleasurable virtual reality. Maybe they were threatened by being in touch with their senses?

Thanks for your excellent post louche mustachio and for the motivation to google a little more about this amazing artist/thinker/creator.
posted by nickyskye at 10:43 AM on September 13, 2008

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