MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS": DATA
ABOUT THE EXHIBITION
MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS" by Geoff Davis are part of the exhibition THE THINKING MACHINE. PRESENTING PIONEERS, 1953-2023 in collaboration with ELEMENTUM.ART.
The international group show was on view at EXPANDED.ART in Berlin from 6-27 June 2023 and presented pioneers from different generations, early 1950s until today, working in the field of generative art.
On view were, among others, plotter drawings, generative photography, sculptures, and NFTs from 30 international artists.
Geoff Davis‘ NFTs from MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS" are available on ELEMENTUM.ART, HERE.
MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS"
The generative art for MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS" was coded by Geoff Davis in 1983 and released on data cassette in 1984 by his Micro Arts Group. The series name, "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS," in quotes references the debate on whether algorithmic computer art is art and the role of human creativity, which still continues today. The title, "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS," was in quotes because they were not individually original but rather generated from original code and were not abstract in the sense of being abstracted from reality; they were code reality.
The series of seven longform generative artworks was distributed by post or directly. In 1985, most of the Micro Arts work was published on the UK's Prestel teletext (like Minitel).
The catalog at the time stated: "A colorful experience for you and your VDU [visual display unit]. These mobile graphics can be color-coded to fit your décor. The order, timing, and repetition can also be controlled, giving a responsive art display to enhance your next dinner or cocktail party, union meeting, or conference."
Davis programmed the seven artworks in MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS." It had menu controls for color, length, and looping. Davis’ other art releases included conceptual computer art, a SCUM Manifesto animation, slow art (a two-year-long graphic programme), and MA4 Story Generator, which was an "early precursor of ChatGPT" (Georg Bak, 2023).
ABOUT GEOFF DAVIS AND MICRO ARTS GROUP
Geoff Davis is a generative artist who founded the Micro Arts Group in 1984 with the goal of distributing his artworks, supporting other young artists, and making computer art accessible to the public. Davis was inspired by the experimental film and video art scene in London at the time and the communicative energy of the music scene. Independent of academia, Micro Arts Group reached new places with a community approach. In the 1980s, computer technology was changing from black and white to color, in the first modern digital decade.
With Micro Arts, Geoff Davis released a series of computer-generated conceptual art pieces and story text generators on data cassettes and Prestel TV Teletext. Davis also provided a forum for computer artists and musicians with a print magazine, articles, and downloadable software on the Micronet 800 on Prestel.
DATA, also known as SWITCHES, is another absorbing and meditative watch. Tiny shapes appear and flip, slowly building up patterns, mesmerizing the viewer.