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Beckmann's Studio Computers Specified for Early Computer Art
July-September 2008 (vol. 30 no. 3)
pp. 20-31
Horst Oberquelle, University of Hamburg, Germany
Oskar Beckmann, St. Pölten, Austria
When the pioneers of computer art started to produce their works by programming mainframes, using plotters for output, the Austrian sculptor Otto Beckmann took a different path. He used a special computer constructed by his son Oskar Beckmann. This article describes the technical context of early computer art, Beckmann

1. Figures 1–, 4, 6, 7, and 10–16 ©Archiv Otto Beckmann (AOB); http:/www.archiv-otto-beckmann.com/. WZV numbers are work index numbers of the AOB.
2. H.W. Franke, Computergraphik—Computerkunst (German version), Bruckmann, 1971, and Computer Graphics—Computer Art (English translation), Phaidon Press, 1971, p. 7.
3. M. Bense, Projekte generativer Ästhetik [Projects of Generative Aesthetics], rot 19, brochure, Stuttgart, 1965, pp. 11-13 (in German).
4. P. McCorduck, Aaron's Code. Meta-Art, Artificial Intelligence, and the Work of Harold Cohen, Freeman, 1991.
5. H.W. Franke, Computergraphik—Computerkunst (German version), Bruckmann, 1971, and Computer Graphics—Computer Art (English translation), Phaidon Press, 1971.
6. F. Nake, Ästhetik als Informationsverarbeitung [Aesthetics as Information Processing], Springer, 1974 (in German).
7. G. Pfeiffer, Kunst und Kommunikation, Grundlegung einer kybernetischen Ästhetik [Art and Communication. Foundations of a Cybernetic Aesthetics], DuMont, 1972 (in German).
8. H. Piehler, Die Anfänge der Computerkunst [The Beginnings of Computer Art], dot-Verlag, 2002 (in German).
9. H. Oberquelle, F. Nake, and S. Beckhaus, "Entgrenzung," Digitale Kunst zwischen Algorithmik und Interaktion, exhibition at Johannes-Kepler-Universität Linz, Austria, 4-7 Sept. 2005
10. Ex Machina—Frühe Computergrafik bis 1979/Early Computer Graphics up to 1979, Kunsthalle Bremen, 2007 (bilingual German/English).
11. P. Weibel and M. Rosen eds. Bit International,, [Nove] tendencije. Computer und visuelle Forschung [New Tendencies: Computer and Visual Research], Zagreb 1961–1973; exhibitions in Neue Galerie Graz, 2007, and ZKM, Karlsruhe, 2008
12. Oskar Beckmann, Über den gestalterischen Algorithmus von Otto Beckmann [On the Design Algorithm of Otto Beckmann], manuscript, unpublished, AOB, 2006 (in German).
13. G. Muche to Otto Beckmann, 9 Feb. 1966, letter, AOB, 1966
14. G. Kraus, Arbeiten auf dem Gebiet Stochastischer Prozesse ausgeführt in den Jahren 1959 bis 1969 am Institut für Niederfrequenztechnik der Technischen Hochschule in Wien [Work on Stochastic Processes ... ], report, 1969 (in German).
15. Ars Intermedia, Werkbeiträge zur Computerkunst [Work Contributions to Computer Art], Katalog der Ausstellung im Datenzentrum der Zentralsparkasse [Catalog of the Exhibition in the Data Center of the Central Savings Bank], vom 10, bis 26, Nov. 1971 (in German).
16. P. Goldscheider and H. Zemanek, Computer: Werkzeug der Information [Computer: Tool of Information], esp. Chapter 8: "Kunst aus der Maschine" [Art out of the Machine], Springer, 1971, pp. 115-143 (in German).
17. Ars Intermedia, Werkbeiträge zur Computerkunst [Work Contributions to Computer Art], 1969, p. 5.
18. Otto Beckmann, Über die Zielsetzung von ars intermedia [On the Aims of ars intermedia]; in Ref. 15, p. 6; (translated by H. Oberquelle)
19. Otto Beckmann, Der Computer und die Einheit der Künste [The Computer and the Unity of Arts], unpublished manuscript, AOB, about 1971 (in German); (translated by H. Oberquelle).
20. Oskar Beckmann, "Der Kunstcomputer a.i./70—ein Schaffensmodell (The Studio Computer—A Model of Creative Work) in Ref. 15," pp. 16-21.
21. G. Koepf, "Laser-Grafik; in Ref. 15," pp. 22-26.
22. Ars Electronica, Linz 2080 [Metropolis 2080], Ars Electronica, 1980. Documentation of a symposium at the festival; http://www.aec.at/en/archives/festival_archive/ festival_catalogsfestival_artikel.asp?iProjectID=9467
23. Otto Beckmann to Georg Muche, 7 Sept. 1971, letter, AOB; translated by H. Oberquelle

Index Terms:
history of computing, personal computing, human-centered computing, user/machine systems, interaction techniques, computer graphics applications, fine arts, markov processes, hybrid computers
Citation:
Horst Oberquelle, Oskar Beckmann, "Beckmann's Studio Computers Specified for Early Computer Art," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 30, no. 3, pp. 20-31, July-Sept. 2008, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2008.40
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