Laurie Spiegel working at the DDP-224 computer console at Bell Telephone Labs in the mid-1970s.
Photograph by Emmanuel Ghent, digital rendering by Laurie Spiegel
The Early Computer Arts at Bell Labs
Societal attitudes toward computers have changed greatly since our early days of trying for the first time to use computers to make various kinds of art (images, music, etc) a mere couple of decades ago. Whereas back then we were most commonly accused of attempting to completely dehumanize the arts, at this point there has become such widespread acceptance of these machines in the arts that there is now a good bit of interest in how this came to be.
This subsite will be expanded as my time permits, hopefully with contributed information from others (right now I have mostly just my own to draw on). Meanwhile, here are a few files I've already uploaded for you to browse:
- A quick description of the GROOVE hybrid computer music system,
- pictures of Emmanuel Ghent and me (photographs taken by each other) wrestling with the hardware end of GROOVE's digital-analog hybrid architecture,
- some of the "computer art" I made at BTL during the 1970s.
- for a sense of the software interface I coded up to co-compose music and image or to make images that changed over time with the same kinds of structures that music has, my description of my VAMPIRE, my "Video And Music Program for Interactive Realtime Exploration",
- a simple explanation of how I sometimes used information theory in composing some of my music, this theory having been developed at the Labs,
- Ken Knowlton's remembrances of that period at the lab.
- and Max Mathews' own summary of his ground-breaking computer music work.
ASCI's Bell Labs page
Laurie Spiegel's writings page
Laurie Spiegel's home page