For the first GSAPP Incubator Open Sessions on expanded modes of practice we invited Sean Anderson to share the research on his latest exhibition at MoMA: Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959-89.
Drawn primarily from MoMA’s collection, Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959–1989 brings artworks produced using computers and computational thinking together with notable examples of computer and component design. The exhibition reveals how artists, architects, and designers operating at the vanguard of art and technology deployed computing as a means to reconsider artistic production. The artists featured in Thinking Machines exploited the potential of emerging technologies by inventing systems wholesale or by partnering with institutions and corporations that provided access to cutting-edge machines. They channeled the promise of computing into kinetic sculpture, plotter drawing, computer animation, and video installation. Photographers and architects likewise recognized these technologies’ capacity to reconfigure human communities and the built environment.
Thinking Machines includes works by John Cage and Lejaren Hiller, Waldemar Cordeiro, Charles Csuri, Richard Hamilton, Alison Knowles, Beryl Korot, Vera Molnár, Cedric Price, and Stan VanDerBeek, alongside computers designed by Tamiko Thiel and others at Thinking Machines Corporation, IBM, Olivetti, and Apple Computer. The exhibition combines artworks, design objects, and architectural proposals to trace how computers transformed aesthetics and hierarchies, revealing how these thinking machines reshaped art making, working life, and social connections.
Moderated by Cecil Barnes ‘15 MArch and Wade Cotton '15 MArch, former Incubator members and part of : [pronounced colon] collective.
If you are not a member of the GSAPP Incubator or NEW INC community and would like to attend this event, please RSVP.
Sean Anderson is Associate Curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at The Museum of Modern Art. A Fellow of the American Academy in Rome and the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa, he has degrees in architectural design and architectural history from Cornell University, an M. Arch from Princeton University and a Ph.D in art history from the University of California, Los Angeles. He has practiced as an architect and taught in Afghanistan, Australia, India, Italy, Morocco, Sri Lanka and the U.A.E. His book, Modern Architecture and its Representation in Colonial Eritrea, was published in 2015 and was nominated for the AIFC Bridge Book Award for Non-Fiction. At MoMA, he has organized the exhibition Insecurities: Tracing Displacement and Shelter (2016) and currently, Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959-89.
: [pronounced colon] is a collective workshop on architectural practices and ideas based in New York City. : is a publication and a platform that aims to carve out a space for critical reflection within architecture by interrogating the vocabulary, rhetoric, and boundaries that constitute it. : materializes this discourse into printed records and staged interventions. Recent work includes “11,000 sq ft. of Air” at the DiMenna Center and “Specimens from an Incubator” at BASE Milan.
Image: Installation view of Thinking Machines: Art and Design in the Computer Age, 1959-1989. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, November 13, 2017–April 8, 2018.