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Abstract

Bell Labs & The Origins of the Multimedia Artist

an afternoon panel discussion

The Great Hall at The Cooper Union, New York City

November 8, 1998

Organized by: Cynthia Pannucci

Produced by: Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI)

Copyright © 1998 by Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI)

All rights reserved.

This transcript is courtesy of the IEEE History Center. This manuscript is being made available for research purposes only. All literary rights in the manuscript, including the right to publish, are reserved to Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. and the IEEE History Center. No part of the manuscript (other than small portions for academic fair use) may be quoted for publication without the written permission of the Director of IEEE History Center.

Request for permission to quote for publication should be addressed to the IEEE History Center Oral History Program, IEEE History Center at Stevens Institute of Technology, Samuel C. Williams Library, 3rd Floor, Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, NJ 07030-59991, USA. It should include identification of the specific passages to be quoted, anticipated use of the passages, and identification of the user.

It is recommended that this oral-history transcript be cited as follows:

“Bell Labs & The Origins of the Multimedia Artist,” a panel discussion produced by Art & Science Collaborations, Inc. (ASCI), The Great Hall at The Cooper Union, New York City, November 8, 1998 (transcript courtesy of the IEEE History Center, 2014).

Bell Labs & the Origins of the Multimedia Artist

(an afternoon panel discussion)

On Sunday afternoon, November 8, 1998, in the Great Hall of The Cooper Union in New York City, ASCI (Art & Science Collaborations, Inc.) celebrated a major aspect of the origins of the creative explosion which has resulted in multimedia, electronic music, and a new way of conceiving of art, when it organized the panel discussion on: "Bell Labs and the Origins of the Multimedia Artist." The second half of the 20th century offered a new set of tools for artists to work with — namely, digital computers. Bell Labs (Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc.) provided an environment for some of the early experiments in using these new technologies for both music and visual experimentation — both for artists and scientists.

Some of the people who were a part of that heady period at Bell Labs explored the projects and events that made that time so exciting. They included:

Emmanuel Ghent - composer/pioneer of algorithmic music

Billy Kluver - co-founder of E.A.T. (Experiments in Art & Technology)

Kenneth C. Knowlton - one of the early developers of computer motion pictures

Max V. Mathews - often referred to as the "father of computer music"

A. Michael Noll - one of the pioneers of digital art and virtual reality

Laurie Spiegel - composer/visual artist who did extensive creative work there

Jerry Spivack - brought interactive graphics into a museum setting

Doree Seligmann - on the current relationship of Bell Labs to multimedia

Carl Machover, consultant on computer graphics technologies, moderated the panel discussion. The event was organized by Cynthia Pannucci – executive director of ASCI.

For those interested in discovering the period that opened up the multimedia revolution, and for those who are helping to extend this revolution into the next century, this video recording of the panel discussion represents an unprecedented opportunity to enrich the digital art industries of the future by sharing its unique beginnings.

This event was a production of ASCI and was sponsored by: Lucent Technologies, The Filmmakers Collaborative Ltd, and Intelligistics, Inc.

ASCI is a nonprofit organization with an international membership dedicated to raising public awareness of the intersections of art and science as a holistic way of viewing, learning about, and responding to our world. http://www.asci.org

Copyright © 2014 ASCI

Timetable of Speakers

Time Topic Person
0:0:25 Welcome Cynthia Pannucci
0:1:56 Introductory Remarks Carl Machover
0:7:38 Introduction & Presentation Jerry Spivack
0:26:30 Introduction & Presentation Max Mathews
0:39:40 Introduction & Presentation Mannie Ghent
0:54:52 Introduction & Presentation Laurie Spiegel
1:11:30 Questions to Panelists
1:20:30 Introduction & Presentation Billy Kluver
1:44:50 Introduction & Presentation Mike Noll
1:58:57 Introduction & Presentation Ken Knowlton
2:12:20 Introduction & Presentation Doree Seligmann
2:31:06 Q&A and Panel Discussion

Transcript

Bell Labs & The Origins of the Multimedia Artist

DATE:

8 November 1998

PLACE:

New York City

Pannuci:

My name is Cynthia Pannucci, and I'm the Director of Art and Science Collaborations. And I'm very pleased to welcome all of you here today because the purpose of this event is to place in history the work of all of the people that are here, the people who invented the technologies and got them out to the public, the people who did the first, who are among the first to do computer animation, computer music, and computer graphics. I would also like to thank our sponsors, Lucent Technologies, George Logemann, whose company is Intelligistics, and also The Filmmakers Collaborative here in New York City. So let's give a round of applause to our sponsors.

[Applause]

And I would like to introduce Carl Machover, who is the president of the board of Art & Science Collaborations. He's also a computer graphics international consultant for the past 30 years. And Carl actually was involved in the EAT days back in the 60s. And I think that's what inspired him to get going in this field. But anyway, I'm sure he'll probably talk about that a little bit. So welcome, and I hope you enjoy the event.

Machover:

Thank you. Thank you.

[Applause]

We're, we're delighted to see you all. The idea of bringing together some of the real pioneers from Bell Labs that started the multimedia revolution was Jerry Spivack's idea. And I find it very exciting. In a sense, everyone sitting on the panel has a direct association having been employed by Bell Labs at one time or another. I'm an outsider from that standpoint. I've never worked for Bell Labs, but I've interacted with them in my role as a — involved with several computer graphics companies and as a consultant. So, I sort am here as a historic expediter in a sense and trying to explore the stories of marvelous people who are here at the panel.

My probably strongest association with Bell Labs is at one time I made a sales call at Holmdel, and that influenced me entirely to use touch-tone telephones, which was a marvelous addition. I don't know if these gentlemen had anything to do with there folks. But in any case, we're just awfully pleased to have them.

What we'll try to do, we've got eight very distinguished members of the panel. I'll as we go along ask each of them to make about a 10-minute presentation. We'll have a break after about four speakers. And then at the end of the eight presentations, we'll have an opportunity for the panelists to interact among themselves for about 30 minutes. And then after that we'll have an opportunity for our audience to interact with the panelists for another 30 minutes. That should bring us roughly to 4:30. And as you probably realize, there's been an enormous amount of visual and sound material that's become part of this environment. And while some of the speakers will put some of it in the context of their presentations, we'll also have essentially have very small film festival from about 4:30 to 5 showing you some of the historic works in this area. And then Cynthia, there will be a reception at 5, and we'll find out where. It's, it's here in the building. And so I, I really commend to you the marvelous expertise of the people who are here.

It would be very helpful for me to get a sense of who you are. How many of you have a background with Bell Labs, with them now or where, before? Isn't that interesting. I must say that when Jerry came up with the concept, our expectation was that we'd pull a large number of Bell Labs alumni and things of that type. And I'm delighted that we have people in [inaudible] effectively who are not here with Bell Labs.

Well, let me get started. What I'll do is very quickly introduce the panel to you. And so I mention — just raise your hand so they know who they are, and I'll give them more complete introductions in, in just a minute. Jerry Spivack is president of the Interact — of a company called Interaction. He works on new approaches for education. He's also past president of the New York Chapter for the World Future Society. And this panel was, was his concept. Max Mathews is an old friend who is currently a professor of music, research at Stanford University. Doctor Emmanuel Ghent has probably the most unusual background of anyone I'm reading here. Apart from his career as a composer, uh, he maintains a practice in psychoanalysis and is a clinical professor of psychology at the postdoctoral program in psychoanalysis at New York University. So if he says, "How are you?" it's a clinical question, rather than a friendly one.

Laurie Spiegel is a long-time practitioner in the field. I was asking her to sort of characterize what she's currently doing and she gave me a marvelous description. She says she's a classic New York artist living in a loft in Manhattan. And I can't think of a better way of having someone from that area. Many of you who go back either historically or go back to the times of EAT that Cynthia mentioned have to know Billy Kluver, who was the spark behind EAT, Experiments in Art and Technology. I don't know how many of you took up the invitation to have this cooperation between engineers and scientists, but — engineers and artists. I know at the time I saw the armory exhibit I joined EAT and I became — I worked in conjunction with a woman by the name of Nancy Burson, who is an artist and was looking for some technology. So have very long and warm feelings about that. The thing that I didn't know until I looked at the July issue of Spectrum Magazine — there's a copy of that up here — is that Billy comes by this with very great credentials. He's an IEEE member, an electrical engineer, and man after my own heart. Those are the kinds of backgrounds that I come from.

A number of folks on the panel I've known for a long time and certainly one of those is Mike Noll. He and I have been involved with a variety of things. He's currently a professor at the Annenberg School for Communications at USC. And I'll, I'll expand on the introductions as we move along. And then another man that I've worked with for many years and I'm sure many of you know is Ken Knowlton, an ex-Bell Labs person who currently is involved in artwork using mosaics and does some writing of software as well.

And then one of the — I think the only member of the panel who is currently with Bell Labs is Dr. Doree Seligmann, who is a distinguished member of the technical staff at Bell Labs and of Lucent Technologies. So, very, very strong people who have told me they'll be delighted to share with you what their experiences were and so why don't we get started instead of my doing anymore talking.

I'd like to introduce to you now more completely Jerry Spivack, who's been working on new approaches in education, entertainment, and technology, and social development. He's also an assembly network for the United Nations Civil Society project aiming to foster the greater voice for people in determining their future. As I said, he's the past president of New York Chapter of the World Future Society. And the thing that's really scary is that he's been a MENSA coordinator for gifted children resources. So we all need to be on our intellectual behavior. Jerry?

Spivack:

By, by the way, we, we define gifted children as any child. It's only the —

Machover:

Whoops.

Spivack:

We define gifted children as any child. It's only the institutions that get in the way of almost any child in our society. First of all — I guess I'll start this viewgraph machine.

Machover:

You want me to do those for you?

Spivack:

That, that would be great if you could. Appreciate that. Okay, as Carl mentioned, the the really, the whole concept began when we got together at Carl Machover's home for a picnic and began talking about what the labs had been like back in the 60s, and from that emerged the desire to be able to capture how that period fostered both creativity and freedom which was a hallmark of that time, and how we are, were effected by that time and place. And I felt that it would be incumbent upon me to just take a quick paragraph out of the Encyclopedia Britannica to make sure I didn't make any mistakes about the Laboratory itself.

The company incorporated in 1925 is Bell Telephone Laboratories. Its history can be traced to 1907. Engineering departments of AT&T and Western Electric were centralized. It was a research arm for the manufacturing, management part of AT&T. The — since it's founding, the organization produced thousands of scientific engineering innovations and, and here are some examples: 1926 issued the first synchronous sound motion picture system. In 1937 constructed the pioneer electrical relay digital computer. In the same year, one of the Bell researchers in physics — she had the Nobel Prize of Physics demonstrating the wave nature of matter. In 1947, one of the most important inventions that's transformed our society was the transistor for which John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, William Shockley were awarded the 56 Nobel Prize in Physics.

In '78, two of the more recent Bell researchers, Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson, shared the Nobel Prize for the discovery of cosmic microwave background radiation sometimes spoken of as the “big bang.” These and other achievements, together with the publication of technical and scientific papers by its staff, made Bell Labs one of the world's most prestigious research facilities. I'm just quoting the Britannica. Okay.

Now what I'm going to be talking about, which is up here — I think we may need a little focus — is the place. Bell Labs was a 20th century renaissance environment. The projects we'll talk about moving from science to multimedia arts and the people, how we were affected, as scientists, artists, humans in what we produce.

Now the people — these are some of the top people that I knew at the Laboratories, although there were many others that I also knew, we just couldn't fit any more at the table. And but each of us have our own view of what the Labs was about. And so we'll be coming out of our own personal experience. We were at the Bell Labs in an extraordinary and exciting time when it offered limitless possibilities. The second world war had ended. And from that period on with the money that was available, the country felt it was in a period of unending growth. And that was the sense that one had.

One also had a sense that one was living in a nation in which everyone was somehow integrated and people were living in, in one total society. I'm not saying that was true for everyone, but it was at least the ethos that people actually were willing to speak of.

The next move of course was the the hot war — the cold war that developed. And, but let, let me go back just for a moment to the to the hot war itself. The reason that the labs developed the type of culture it did was because they were attempting to get some of the best people out of the universities to come and work on radar. This is at least what I was told when I first came. And as a result, in order to get people to be willing to come out of those environments and feel comfortable in a new type of place, they had to make it as comfortable-free. The people were, didn't have to necessarily stay at the laboratories. They could go home at various hours. They could wander about. It was a coffee arena. It was a place where people would create. And as a result, some of the top inventions were able to come out of that. It was a very flowing, fluid-type of environment. The cold war and sputnik forced the need for communication and communications became what, what they considered central to our future.

AT&T at that time was a natural monopoly and considered a national treasure. And as a result, they were given more freedom than a lot of other places. So, in addition at that same moment, the race to the moon was beginning. A lot of systems thinking was going on. People were feeling that one could do anything and that the labs, the resources, were available to do almost anything. So there was a sense that one was moving into a rather bright, forward-looking future. If Bell Labs, the excitement there was palpable as I say, the activities were everywhere. You could walk from one room to another and find laser physicists, holography, electron microscopy, social psychologists. People were studying in one room, frog mating calls to find out how communication could be carried forth in new ways. Rooms which look like they came out of the Twilight Zone if one walked into the auditorium. There were anechoic or echoless chambers that one would wander into. And they just felt like boxes and cartons. You wandered in and you dropped down into springs and things. Very peculiar environments everywhere around the Laboratories.

Physically, if we could just for a moment shut this and go to the first slide… This is an actual picture of the physical dimension of the Laboratory itself. And the secret from, from my perspective of the laboratory was the following, that right over here, this was the —

I'm sorry. The main access of the Bell Laboratory. Over here you had an auditorium that was separate. Over here you had a library that was considered one of the best in the world. Over here you had a cafeteria. Over here you had a computer center and what it meant was that in order to go anywhere in a regular day, you passed every single office in the Laboratory just going to eat, going to the library, going to a computer center, and all around you were extraordinary laser experiences, extraordinary computer experiences. And, and among the people here, some of the most extraordinary artistic experiences were going on, which were partially developed and protected by this gentleman sitting next me, Max Mathews.

What we have also was the visitors' entrance, which was over here. And, there was a nice little quote. Everything around here was trees, beautiful nature environments that we were right in the middle of Watchung Reservation. And Graham Bell had his bus there with a quote about whenever you need to take some time to think, go off for a walk in nature. And many of us did. We just wandered out of the Laboratories and, and would speak together.

What about the culture of Bell Laboratories? We can go back to the viewgraph — thanks very much. The culture was — the first time that I walked into research and I asked about how much I could spend on a particular computer domain in order to carry out some particular understandings, what I was told was don't ever think about money; this is research. And that was the very last time that I ever looked at an actual cost figure during the whole time I was there. I think that to some degree that permeated one of the things that made it possible for the /labs to function. They were of a cost center to AT&T and all they did was — AT&T I think just tacked on a certain percentage above that for its profit. And what it meant was that all sorts of innovations could move out of there and that type of atmosphere may be the type of atmosphere that's needed in a number of things, and as we know, it's an extremely difficult one to have occur.

In what ways can Bell Labs suggest a model for the arts and artists of the future? How do we develop those type of resources, team works, richness of environment, blending of resource to accomplish ends? Those are questions I just open for the audience.

The projects that were going on included physicists at that time certainly discovering computers for the first time. They were probably the very first computer programmers. They needed it to be able to find out what was going on and they started to even introduce a little bit of graphics to try to see what was happening with electrons and things of that nature. The world was also becoming visual. Television was making its major entry into society and everyone was beginning to see things more in that modality. We were extending graphics, video, sound. And in addition, we were entering the real-slash-unreal world. The artist was coming to the lab. The scientist was going to the city. And, the scientist was greeting the artist. And the question I ask over here is which is which? And I think that's a very open question. I think a lot of the scientists were artists. A lot of the artists had within them all of the elements that the scientists had, especially those that were attracted to this type of environment.

The people. How were we affected as scientists, artists, humans, and what, what did we produce? I, I can only give a personal perspective as some of the people here may. My personal experience with the arts — as I call it pilgrim's progress, the journey from scientist to artist — my earliest experience was at the Ecole des Art. By that, I mean kindergarten in Brooklyn. And the also — the drabness of the general New York public education system.

In addition, I had travels to MoMA with my mother, the Museum of Modern Art. And one of the more interesting things for me was going to see the painting white on white. That's a large canvas, which has a white enormous canvas and then in the middle is a white canvas, and that's it. And my mother used to always take me there and say, does that mean anybody can get into this place? And that to me was an extremely significant question about what in fact does constitute art. So that moved me towards creating an interactive artwork.

The — my first experience was with Experiments in Art and Technology. I was briefly just in a very peripheral way involved with nine evenings of art, which I'm sure Billy will be talking about. But subsequent to that they were beginning to pair up scientists with artists and so on. And I got involved with someone. I think it was Cal Albert from Pratt Institute. I think that's the right name. And he was building plastic bags, to, to sort of sculpt. And then he would fill them up with polyurethane. And we were going to show that to — in other words, it would take the shape of the plastic bag as we poured the chemicals in. And we were adding colors. We were adding various other things. And what — we were about to exhibit that in Long Island. And what we discovered was that the fumes could kill the audience. So that particular exhibit was called off. And that's what I meant by working with artists in terms of knocking the audience dead. But that moved me towards a greater interest and maybe moving towards something more doable. And what happened was the Museum of Modern Art and Brooklyn Museum and EAT, ask for people to submit things. And at that point because of my experience with white on white that I had mentioned earlier, namely what is art, I decided I might as well give a shot at that. And I had been working on this — and at this point maybe I'll just jump up here. Working on Land color. What that meant was we were looking at color picturephone and in terms of the color picturephone… Are you able to hear me without this? In terms of the color picturephone —

Machover:

It's partly recording for the film.

Spivack:

I know. I'm trying to also draw. I don't know how —

Machover:

[Interposing] All right.

Spivack:

— do both. In terms of the color picturephone. What we're trying to do is break down, break back from three colors — red, green, blue—to two. Edwin Land of Polaroid had said it was possible. And so we had bought this rather expensive projector and we had the red, green, and blue possibility to look at whether that could be done. And what happened was that in addition — So that this was available to us because we were experimenting with whether how color could be formed. As a matter of fact, what Land discovered was with two colors and not too much light, you could get pretty much all colors. So what happened was that I began to think about putting in here three slides that had every possible color in them. And so all I did was randomly generate over here a thousand by a thousand grid, which had just randomly all sorts of gray scale possibilities.

As a matter of fact — whoops — I have it over here. And then I, then I threw one in each one of the three projectors with the red, green, and blue. So this is an example of — and it's hard to see — but it's an example of the a thousand by a thousand randomly generated squares. And there was another two of them totally different from these. And when you threw them together, then what we did was we took that one off, this one. [Inaudible] What we did with this was simply on, on the original piece here, we added three voltage regulators over here to each one of these. And the audience was able to just turn the voltage regulator. And so what they did was they came out with a collection of artworks of every shape of description, description every time that they just hit the button. I won't bother pulling out too many, but you'll get the general idea from these pictures.

So what happened was that as you just turned buttons, it was continuously transformational so that every single person who came to that exhibit was an individual artist on their own. I think I've got just two more slides. Yeah.

Anyway, so all I was — all I wanted to get to here was where art and science meet. All right. I'll go back to these. Just two. They're quick.

Machover:

Okay.

Spivack:

I'm, I'm claiming and then this is open to the audience to agree, disagree, dispute or anything, that a good definition of art is that art is the creative use of the tools and materials available to one to produce a new vision of ourselves and our world. And I claim that the same skills are available to an artist or a scientist to have that occur. Just as PCs and the internet are making everyone a publisher, multimedia eventually may lead to everyone becoming an artist.

A quote by one scientist who may be an artist is the following: “the most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion, which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed.”

And the last one — let's take this sheet of paper with me — is what I would call new directions in the 21st century, a personal view. I think what's needed is a new social direction for art. I think the world is getting a little bit too dangerous for us to simply be thinking about not doing things that are going to be enormously transformational for everyone. We have to return to a marriage of art and science and others. And now add that transformational direction, which means turning on youth, artists, and others to the excitement and potential of a new century. And our challenge, which I just leave for the audience, is how? Thank you.

[Applause]

Machover:

Thanks Jerry. Thank you much. We'll have a chance to ask some questions of you a little bit later. Our next speaker as I said is an old friend of mine, Dr. Max Mathews, who is — who’s directed the Acoustic and Behavior Research Center at Bell Laboratories from 1962 to 1985, currently involved as a professor of music and research at Stanford, and an interesting period in his life, and I think continues, was a relationship with IRCAM in Paris. And I don’t know if Max remember this, but some of you may know my son is a composer. And after he graduated from Julliard, I brought him over to Bell Labs, to kind of show him what was happening and he had an opportunity to meet Max Mathews, who was very, very gracious to him.

If you'll now fast forward about eight years into the future, Todd then went to IRCAM and we had a chance to visit him there. And he was performing one night and I saw Max Mathews up in the balcony. And, I went up to him. He said, "Hi Max." And he looks at me and said, "How do you know Todd?" So the relationships get very confused. Max, delighted to have you.

Mathews:

Thank you Carl. Well, this is a very appropriate place to hold this meeting because the first public computer music concert in about 1960 was given here. There is a difference. At that time, and there was a phalanx of New York policemen around the outside of the stage in case the audience rioted to protect the expensive equipment that was on the stage.

Male Voice:

It was that slide.

Mathews:

Carl, do you want to —

Machover:

[Interposing] I'd be delighted to.

Mathews:

Thanks. It won't be much to do.

Machover:

That's fine.

Mathews:

But any —

Machover:

[Inaudible]

Mathews:

Art needs a patron and this is a picture of John Pierce, who at that time was the Executive Director at Bell Labs. And I think all the art that has been done at Bell Labs was done in John Pierce’s domain. John has done many things, and he's receiving the National Medal of Science from Lyndon Johnson in this particular picture. He invented satellite communication. But he was not only a patron of arts and a supporter; he was also a painter, a composer, and a writer of science fiction. He is a colleague of mine at Stanford now, but his health does not allow him to come here. But, I would like to applaud for John. [Applause]

The other visionary at Bell Labs was Bill Baker, who was in charge of the research department at that time. And he saw that the kind of multimedia things that are important today, were started at that time. Now I'm going to play you the very first piece that was made on a computer, on an IBM 704 in 1957. It only lasts 17 seconds and it is musically terrible. But immediately thereafter without intermission break, I will play you a synthesis of the Queen of the Night’s aria, which was done in about 1975 at IRCAM, to show you that the computer could really make nice things.

[Music playing]

Now how — The reason for the first piece, the start of it all, was a concert that John Pierce and I attended of a pianist in New Jersey. Part of it was very good and part of it was very bad. And during the intermission, John and I looked at each other and John said, "The computer can do better than this, Max." And I had made a program to take the numbers in the computer and convert them to sound, a analog — a digital analog converter program to study speech and telephones. And he said, "Max, go and write a music program." So I wrote Music I, and that produced the first piece. At that point, you may ask, well, that — why didn't we just give up and quit? And, the answer is a scientific answer. Claude Shannon was also at the Laboratories. He made the sampling theorem. The sampling theorem said very clearly that any sound the human ear can hear can be made from the right samples coming out of the computer. And so we pursued this to find the right samples, and succeeded as you heard from the second example. The synthesis of the human voice though also started at the — of singing — also started at Bell Labs. And the first piece, "Bicycle Built for Two," was done by Carol Lochbaum and John Kelly in about 1960 using a very advanced synthesis technique, which has only recently become important, called physical modeling. So I'll play a little bit of "Bicycle Built for Two.”

[Music playing]

Pardon?

Machover:

What year was that?

Female Voice:

That was 1960.

Mathews:

That was 1960.

Machover:

1960.

Mathews:

So, that led, led to a series of music programs, Music I through Music V that have become sort of the core of what we call pure digital synthesis. But, these computers — and show the new viewgraph of me standing in the middle of a computer; they were big in those days — were not fast enough to do live performance. And so in the late 1960s we moved into an era at Bell Labs of live performance that involves many of the composers here. And so I want to show you a few pictures from that era. And, this was what is called the analog end of the GROOVE system. Now computers at that time were not fast enough to synthesize sound in real time, but you could put together a control computer which would send signals to voltage-controlled synthesizers, like Bob Moog has made, and which Mannie Ghent used. And, so you can have a hybrid system with many of the advantages. Anyhow, you could actually play music on it, hear what you were playing, and modify the sounds to make them expressive. So, this was the analog end of it, that we all worked in and built things. Mannie was sitting there was a soldering iron.

And, the next picture shows the the digital end in another room, with various controllers, a keyboard, and the next picture shows the patch field at the analog computer to interconnect all the modules. And, at that time, synthesizers had a lot of patch cords. And usually when another person came into the synthesizer, you had to tear out all the patch cords and put in his own set and, Laurie and Mannie and I and Dick Moore all had different set-ups. So, I found this removable patch field so that we didn't fight each other there. So that was a very nice thing.

The next picture shows a 3-dimensional controller that Mike Noll did his doctoral thesis on. So you could raise this knob and move it to the left and right and these signals, you could route to control any musical quantity that you wanted to control.

The next viewgraph shows a picture from that era of Laurie Spiegel and Mannie working out at the — in the Laboratories. And, this was infectious. So the the final picture I want to show you is Laurie in her own studio, with an Apple II computer where she took this technology back, where she could use it 24 hours a day.

Spiegel:

No sleep ever.

Mathews:

Now, at that time I was a, a director of the acoustic research and I could get people passes, artist passes to come into the Laboratories at night. And the computers were used during the day for speech research and used at night more or less all night for music research at least by Mannie. And, Mannie did this for about 10 years, after which he and his wife separated. And he remarried. And I gave him a wedding present. I gave away this computer so he no longer could come to the Labs all night. [Laughter] So, he's still married to Karen. So, with that I'm going to terminate my talk and let us go on to other –

[Applause]

Machover:

We'll, we'll have a chance to interact with Max just after our next break. One of the issues I think that is being addressed now that I would suggest you might want to get involved with is that so far we've essentially had two technologists describing the use of technology to produce art. And one of the issues [coughing] — excuse me — has always been whether you could make that technology available to artists to produce art. And I think in a sense Laurie Spiegel is one of the first — I'm sorry. I want —

Male Voice:

[Interposing] Mannie?

Machover:

Mannie Ghent is kind of one of the first musicians, without necessarily a strong technical background, who began to use this kind of technology. As I said, he's now maintains a practice in psychoanalysis and is a clinical professor of psychology in psychoanalysis at New York University. And he's well known for his multi-tempo and instrumental music involving at times wide spatial separation of performers. Mannie?

Ghent:

Can I, can I give you these, —

Machover:

[Interposing] Sure.

Ghent:

— to put up there please?

Machover:

Absolutely.

Ghent:

There. Okay. Can we switch this over to the DAT machine. All right. Well, is this mine? Can you hear me all right? Okay. I'm going to start a little farther, a little farther back, to what led me to come to Bell Labs in the first place. I had built a, a machine called a Coordinome, which was designed originally to coordinate performers and be able to, to play multi-tempo music. That is that I had composed multi-tempo music and to have them all stay together and also to coordinate it with, or synchronize, synchronize it with tape, electronic music or later on computer music. So I wanted to show the first picture —

Machover:

[Interposing] Is this the —

Ghent:

Which?

Machover:

That one?

Ghent:

That's fine.

Machover:

Okay.

Ghent:

That picture was taken by Bob Moog, up in his Trumansville studio. It was the — he took it. He said this is a historic event because what happened on that occasion was that using perforated paper tape that I had used for the control of one — originally used for gating purposes so that I could synchronize all the different performers. But here we used it with programmed — in digital way and used the — Bob put together a D-to-A converter in about a half an hour. And what we did was control what you — well, the older of you will recognize as the first generation of the Moog synthesizer. And we produced all kinds of sounds. This is the first event of actually controlling the synthesizer other than playing it on the keyboard. So it was the first automated use of control of analog equipment. Now it was that – perhaps you could put the next picture — it's another version of the thing. After that, I went out to — I heard that Max was thinking of developing some real-time equipment, programs out at Bell. And so I went out there to see if he would be interested in what I was doing. And it turns out that — we just hit it at the right moment because Max was putting together the GROOVE system at that time. GROOVE incidentally is an acronym for Generated Real-Time Output Operations on Voltage-Controlled Equipment.

And so that's what led to the very beginnings of composition on a GROOVE system. It was — I figured if, but we could do so much with paper tape, control of Moog's work, Moog Synthesizer, imagine what we could do with a computer controlling it. So, I promptly learned Fortran and started programming in such a way that I could use the system.

What I'll do is play one of the early pieces, please, called "Phosphones." I'll just play a little excerpt from it. And I should say that this is a piece that also used voltage control of theatrical dimming equipment so that the piece was actually made in collaboration with Mimi Garrard and Jim Seawright, and was a piece of both computer-generated sound, or music, and computer-generated lighting. And these were synchronized. At first it was a tricky business to synchronize them because the lighting was performed by a paper tape machine and the sound was recorded on a regular tape recorder. So, it was very tricky to get them synchronized. Now we've gone way beyond that.

But what I'll do is play a little excerpt from that piece and then later in the afternoon, I hope we'll be able to play the same — an excerpt, similar parts showing what the dance looked like and how the music was synchronized with the lighting. So let me play a little of that here now.

Machover:

Is that right for —

Ghent:

[Interposing] Yeah.

[Music playing]

Okay. All right. One thing I should add there, the sounds in that piece were practically all made by a little circuit, special circuits that Max made when he invented electronic violin — string instruments, electronic violin at first and then other instruments. And we used those sounds or those circuits, to make those bongo-like sounds. You could probably see them if we had Max's photograph up there of what the analog studio looked like. But after this, I started getting interested in using the computer as a kind of compositional associate, or compositional assistant. And began trying to teach the computer to compose in ways that I was — had been doing previously on paper and pencil, paper and music, music paper and pencil.

And the first set of algorithms that I developed were really very simple ones. And to see how it worked I weighted them very heavily in favor of pretty much tonal music with a favoring of B flat, which you will hear. The first piece that I did in this direction was called computer brass. And I'll play something of that. You'll hear one line that comes in that — in fact, you heard the beginnings of it before. What you might be able to notice is that these are — these lines, these musical germs you might say, were composed purely algorithmically. So I put in a few numbers to indicate what the rhythmic structure might be and, and added a good deal of randomicity or probabilistic opportunity. And similarly with pitch selection out of maybe 15 preselected pitches. So, the amazing thing is with this particular random number generator that I used, a software generator, it seemed to produce a whole welter of really quite fascinating musical lines. I say with that particular number generator advisedly because quite awhile later I tried another random number generator and it didn't work at all. So it was just a piece of good luck that we happened to pick the right random number generator, which probably wasn't so random. So in any case, let me play this. Could we put the next slide up please?

Machover:

Sure.

Ghent:

Joe Olive, who was out there at that time also developed a system of taking the sounds that we were producing on the computer and putting a — generated program that put the output into printable printed form so that I could then transcribe it on to paper. This is a very simple piece here. You can — what you will hear first is the bottom line. That's what was at that time, was called function number two. And then later on you'll hear function one come in and you'll hear both of them together. So let me play that.

[Music playing]

An incredible amount of variation that could be done with that, using the computer, using all the different knobs on the one that Max showed. So eventually that was developed into a piece called "Brazen," and I'll play some excerpts from that a little bit later. But there instead of using these two functions, I used any number of variants from that. As a matter of fact, let me play one example of that where the various lines were distributed among six different instruments, and you will hear the difference. I know just line two was distributed in that way.

[Music playing]

Now that was the very beginnings of algorithmic composition. Later on there were all kinds of different forms, much more complex forms, and the ones that didn't localize themselves in as diatonic or, or tonal way. So, if I have time, I'll play the next stage or a short portion of it and give you an idea of what happened after that. You can take that down —

Machover:

[Interposing] All right.

Ghent:

Thank you.

[Music playing]

Okay, enough of that. I just want you to know that that was done completely algorithmically. I didn't have a — invent one particular note. It was all done by choosing a group of predetermined rhythmic structures. The pitch relations were selected in this way. The computer was told to select the next pitch, like select a given starting pitch; then choose among — between an up or down minor second and the next one between an up or down major second and the next one between an up or down minor third all the way up to an augmented fourth and then go back again. And with that extremely simple algorithm, that's what came out of it; it is a kind of jazzy quartet that was made purely on that basis. So I just play this as an indication of the kind of thing. This never became a piece in itself but I thought that you would have some — it'd be interesting to see what you could do algorithmically. I think we'll leave the rest of all, all the other examples. And I would like to play a tape later on, a videotape, of a portion of Phosphones so that you could get a sense of the synchronization of the theatrical lighting with the sound, with the music. Okay.

Machover:

Great. Thank you —

Break (Tape Change)

Machover:

— many of you may have encountered. There's a software program called Music Mouse. She's directing computer and electronic music studios and taught composition at NYU and Cooper Union. So it's extraordinarily broad background. Delighted to introduce to you, Laurie Spiegel.

Spiegel:

Hi.

[Applause]

Renaissance person. Yeah, all right. Yeah. It’s really difficult to figure out where to start because so many — everything that I previously organized in my mind went out the window listening to all enthused free association generating memories. I was working with — 1971 I think — had been working with a Buchla synthesizer, which was what was left of Mort Subotnick’s old Intermedia studio at NYU, and I was really beginning to reach the limit of tolerance. I was also studying composition at Julliard and doing soundtracks for a small educational film company for a living and Rhys Chatham asked me if I would help him get started a new series of concerts at this video center called The Kitchen, which was the kitchen of the Mercer Arts Center. And if I could like get it together to do like two concerts out of four concerts — and of the other concerts in between was Max and Mannie playing and showing music that they had done at Bell Labs. And I was knocked over. It was exactly what I needed, which was memory and control that the analog synthesis stuff didn't have because you couldn't ever get something back. You couldn't work with it, edit it, and there was a very great limit to the logic.

So, skipping a long story, I did end up working out there with them and it was absolutely a wonderful and tremendous learning experience. The atmosphere — this should be said because I don't think anybody has, but the atmosphere is unlike any that I've ever really encountered in the arts in that what you had there was really a lot of scientists and engineers who loved music or loved art and didn't have any vested ego interest in it. They just loved it. So you had a very uncompetitive, mutually supportive, collaboration-friendly atmosphere where people really were proud of what each other did, rather than feeling threatened by it. And it was just a wonderful place to be able to work. And Max used to have every week in the department conference room people would come in and just with their instruments and read string quartets and chamber music one afternoon a week and stuff like that. And it just was — it was a place where there were a lot of people who really loved the arts.

And, of course the arts were not proper business for a regulated monopoly, so it was kind of kept very hush-hush unless it had specifically the research to do with communications. So I also ended a long-term relationship doing too many all-nighters with the computer while living with someone who really genuinely could not believe that I was spending all of those nights with a computer. [Laughter] We used to keep a sleeping bag in Max's analog lab and be able to nap in the anechoic chamber, and boy was that quiet if you didn't leave the door open. [Laughter] You'd wake up and you'd open the door and be like hurricane level from the low-level ventilating system. But, yeah.

Okay. I did, okay, I got fascinated with the idea of algorithmic composition, which Mannie has talked about a bit. The fact that we used a hybrid system which was computer-controlled analog modules allowed us to do things in real time where we could hear the output for the first time while interacting through analog input devices to a computer with the sound so that the feedback loop was tight the way it is with a traditional instrument where when you played the sound you hear it and you can modify your behavior instantaneously. This had not been possible before.

And the hybrid system prior — and — to digital synthesis becoming fast and efficient in real-time. Anyway, it, it was amazing and the concept that I think probably I mostly got into in music really was the the idea. And, Max, you, you can help me figure this out. But I think this was originally your phrase, "intelligent instrument." That was a phrase I think you came up with about ‘73.

Mathews:

[Unintelligible]

Spiegel:

Yeah. Basically an instrument in which you embody a certain amount of logical intelligence, such that the response you get is other than a 1:1 correspondence between your physical interaction with it and the sonic response. And it can be arbitrarily complex. Music Mouse is an example, which many of you probably know the program I wrote for the Mac in '85. It's still incidentally available from my website if anybody wants to download it. And I still have Atari and Amiga versions of it as well. But I did a lot of different, different kinds of interaction with music that were just really mind-blowing because it was — it was the first time all of these kinds of things had happened.

Now I had no background with computers when I got there. I got — I think the name of the author was McCracken — book on Fortran IV and worked through all the examples and leaned how to program. And just, you know, worked. I already knew analog stuff somewhat since my father wanted a son and gave me a soldering iron for my 9th birthday. And I built, you know, crystal radio and did all of those. I never was big on dolls when I was a girl, you know. There were more interesting things to do.

Anyway. The music system was divided into a digital lab which had this room-sized 32K computer of which 8K of core was about the size of a modern refrigerator/freezer combination. And maybe 300 feet down the hall was Max's analog lab. And there were trunk cables going back and forth. And you would — let's say to tune the thing run a little Fortran program at one end that would like cycle through the octaves. You could go down. You would like take the output of these D-to-A converters into oscillators and tweak the knobs and calibrate them so that the octaves were actually an octave apart and everybody had to do that all the time over and over because even though we had removal of patch panels for our wiring, everybody tuned their, their system differently in terms of how they used the voltages, which came out through the digital analog converters. There was a real bottleneck. There are only 14 control lines, which, you know, got used up fast if you had say four pitch lines, four amplitude lines, four voltage-controlled filter lines. You know, that was kind of like a limit on those. So it sounded raunchy, but it was a fascinating interaction.

Anyway, on the way back and forth from one end to the other, digital analog which you did a million times, there was this window that had — you could see it was a glass window — and there were these amazing images in there that would be slowly changing. And eventually I worked up the guts to like meet Ken, whose lab that was. And he was writing algorithms that generated evolving visual images that were just knockouts and I was overwhelmed. And so Ken and I collaborated on a number of different things. And in the 4:30 slot probably to save time simultaneous with Mike Noll's films, I will play some of the things, including an algorithm for perpetual acceleration, which was Ken's idea, which I did a realization of some pitches on and maybe a little excerpt from my realization of the Kepler Harmony of the Planets, which is now up there in Voyager spaceship record and whatever.

But — I started — I wanted to be able to do a visual musical instrument that was comparable to a sonic one. And I really began to conceptualize music as the abstract structure of change in time, and that music could be either visual or auditory. And the computer was a wonderful Rosetta Stone for translating between the different sensory modalities. GROOVE because it generated — was really a system for composing functions of time in the abstract. It could handle computing, this little 32K room-sized computer, you know, up to 200 functions of — 200 time functions, curves against time and simultaneously. And so I wanted to be able to pipe those out into both auditory and visual parameters. So, I started on that. Ken was meanwhile working primarily with Lillian Schwartz at the time and they were doing still-frame animation. They had a camera set up where the computer would compute a frame, put it on a screen, open the shutter of the camera for a certain amount of time, close it, and advance the film, and then compute the next frame. And they would leave this thing running like all weekend and it would compute how many frames? Not too many.

Knowlton:

A couple of minutes.

Spiegel:

Yeah. And when on the weekends when they weren't running it all weekend and the nights that they weren't, I began basically porting the GROOVE computer music system to Ken's lab to this other computer where it could output functions of time to a frame buffer. And what you saw when you were walking in, at least some of that was, in fact, sounds and images that were — at this point they seemed pretty — You know, they're no great shakes in terms of what can — I mean we're all spoiled rotten by modern computers at this point, but they were computing images and sounds of the same software and could be played in real-time, and my gestures using a RAND tablet and that big 3-D red box, the bicycle chains for the joystick. That stuff could be stored and edited and replayed and overdubbed and all of that kind of stuff. And then the functions of time could be output to any parameters of image or sound. Even though I couldn't do them at the same time, I had to take it down to, back to the GROOVE audio room to compute the audio and then I had to, you know mat — it was like — there was a lot of running around. We were in good shape. A lot of exercise.

I also at one point — I was really interested in this and Steve Rutt is in the audience here some place got his partner in the Rutt/Etra Video Synthesizer, which dated from about 1970 I think to — We schlepped out a video synthesizer, an analog video synthesizer, and wired it up. It basically is an analog computer that computed video signal transformations. And I wrote a Fortran program that would output time functions to the analog audio modules and to the video synthesizer so that we had synchronous cogeneration of both from a single Fortran parameter. This is something I've made a number of attempts that over the years and I really believe — I mean I, I guess I'm a little synesthetic. I've always kind of seen patterns when I hear sounds in my imagination. And anyway, it was a wonderful adventure. People, even everybody here, kind of thought, "Well, this computer isn't powerful enough to do real-time video," but with simple video it was, it actually was possible. So anyway, that's stuff that I did.

Please wind up in two minutes. Okay, that's easy.

Male Voice:

That's analog.

Spiegel:

I don't know. Sampling rate on this is, my oscillator may be off. Yeah, I forgot to look at my watch to see when I started. I was going to possibly run a bunch of slides just to show some of the images that I did — still images — to give you a feel for what kinds of visuals I was into, and maybe I will just do that right now. But basically the thing about the logic part is to — I was intent on — I use the computer as a method of becoming more aware of my own creative decision-making processes by trying to basically embody in software logic my own decision-making processes as an artist and to automate whatever I could automate so that I could focus on whatever couldn't be automated in the creative process. So anyway, I will quickly run through a bunch of slides just to give you a feel if I can —

Male Voice:

[Interposing] Or we can show it to them.

Spiegel:

— come up with a remote for this and then I will be quiet forevermore.

Male Voice:

Let's see if you can —

[Crosstalk]

Spiegel:

Anyway, forward. Yeah, okay. These are just things that I did. Now these were, these were images where I was playing with them. I was running probability controls. I was drawing. I was moving things. But these are just kinds of textures that I was playing with. And I'm running it very fast. But also because a lot of the early computer graphics of that era — we're talking early mid 70s — were more monochrome stick figure things. And it was just awesome to be able to control the tube that generates colored light in real time. My mother is a hand weaver and I was always very into textures and entered a lot of weaving patterns into the computer as source banks. I don't know. Is that it? That's pretty much it. Fast, but yeah. I did a lot of stuff and very little evidence. Oh, yeah. We had to define our own fonts and — there was nothing. It was all new. Everything was something we were doing for the first time. I don't know. Some of these seem to be redundant, so I'll stop.

That's me at the computer. Now the backroom behind that glass window was always kept very cold and it was often — we often worked in our parkas because these computers had a hard time above 56 degrees if I recall. And somebody would come around every hour and take their temperature. Those light bulbs were actually working push buttons and you would push them down and they would light up and you would enter in octal the codes for, you know, booting the computer and stuff. We use punch card standard patterns. But we were mostly typing by that point for, for the source code. And, oh, that's my fuse box, which is responsible for all the work that I didn't do at Bell Labs. But anyway, that's it. So –

[Applause]

Machover:

Delighted. What I'd like to do now is take a break. Max has to catch an airplane, so I'd like to have us to have an opportunity to interact with the first four panelists. Primarily are there — any of the panelists have questions they'd like to ask? We'll use about 10 minutes now. Or any other questions from the audience.

Spivack:

I have a question for Max.

Machover:

Okay.

Spivack:

Now that you're working and I know that we were at the 100th anniversary of Stanford University where you played with a magic wand among other things and conducted absolutely, extraordinary capabilities, I'm wondering how you see the transformation that's taken place in utilizing the computer in music from the time that we were all at the Laboratories to the current time.

Mathews:

Oh, well, nowadays the computers that you could stand in, in the old days, you could carry in your pocket today and so the computer technology is incredibly more powerful. In the old days everyone except computer programmers were afraid of computers. The public was terrified of it. Nowadays at least the generation of the people in the audience and my grandchildren deal with computers routinely. And in school, you don't have to learn to multiply and divide anymore. You use a pocket calculator. So computers are universal now and they will become more universal and our society will depend on them more and more. I consider now that the computer's replaced the dog as man's best friend and a much more intelligent best friend. Does that answer your question a little bit, Jerry?

Spivack:

Sure, and what you see happening in relation to the arts and computers as well now that in both university setting and out in IRCAM and in the world.

Mathews:

Well, certainly computers are everywhere in popular music. Almost every popular piece you hear — rock piece has a synthesizer involved in it. Computers are almost nowhere in the traditional classic orchestral music but that's perfectly appropriate. It wasn't composed for computers. But of course digital things, CDs, are the medium in which most music is distributed and heard. And all this has happened in a very short 50 years.

Machover:

Can I ask you a question? We are extraordinarily fortunate to have had the — excuse me — background of Bell Labs, an organization which is willing to turn artists loose and let them do things that apparently didn't contribute to the bottom line. Are those environments still here?

Mathews:

The world has changed a great deal. The Bell System no longer exists as a regulated monopoly. Industry is very competitive. Now this means that Bell Labs Research — and Bell Labs Research still exists — has to focus more on products that they can make money on. It also means though in the computer music world that computers have now gone out into commerce and industry and big laboratories like Stanford and IRCAM in Paris and so forth no longer lead the computer technology. It's companies with very smart people programming and making hardware and making — there're just many more people and more distributed making applications that you buy in your computer stores and making game port joysticks that you use to control these applications. And so it's different. I think it's good.

Spivack:

Let me just add that in the second part of the panel, what — Doree Seligmann is part of the current Bell Laboratories, the one that's gone over to Lucent Technologies. And so, she having been deeply involved with the multimedia organization there that's part of what she'll be able to also address in the second part of the panel what's happening with industry today. Thanks.

Machover:

Any other questions? Yes?

Female Voice:

Thanks, all of you. They were all very interesting presentations. I actually just have two questions.

Mathews:

I am finished.

Machover:

She'll have questions for you later.

Female Voice:

But, and actually, even if, if you haven't [inaudible] and you have comments —

Machover:

Sure.

Female Voice:

But I was curious about it first of all to what degree the artistic and aesthetic creativity that was going on was understood and to contribute to the communication research to Bell Labs was involved with. And that is also just curious that comment about the freedoms they had in funding's really interesting, if you had any sense about maybe what sort of a, a monetary figure Bell Labs was coming into supporting these sort of aesthetic creativity.

Mathews:

I guess I should address that question. There were a few people at Bell Labs like John Pierce and Bill Baker who looked into the future and saw what was coming and realized that this kind of basic research would become economically important later. But for the most part, this was a byproduct of the communication research and the artists worked at night when the scientists mostly were home sleeping. And we did not pay with very few exceptions the artists. They had access to the facilities.

Spivack:

I want to also pick up a piece of that question. I spoke to two of the people who was heavily involved. One of them Bill Baker and of course he was echoing exactly what Max was saying that the purpose was at that time maybe to begin to think about how to extend the capabilities of technology and if whenever wants to extend the capabilities of technology, just bring in an artist. But the other person that I spoke to is Billy Kluver. And he immediately as soon as I told him one viewpoint like myself would be able to see the other one. And so he saw that it was necessary to go outside the laboratory because of the limitations and I'm sure he'll be able to speak more directly to that. But there were two dimensions to what was going on. One was the true connection to the artist outside the laboratory and that may have been on some level almost as significant as the connection into the laboratory because what happened was that the major names of the art world were being connected through Experiments in Art and Technology into an ethos of thinking about what technology meant in relation to the arts and what it would mean to have a meaningful collaboration between an artist and a technologist. So you had John Cage connecting into the Saint Louis Zoo, I think it was, and waiting for the various parrots to chirp as part of his musical pieces. Also to various sanitation areas. He had mics dangling out of people's homes. This was, was during Nine Evenings so that garbage and sanitation trucks would be picked up at the appropriate time. The the whole concept of moving so that we were sharing the possibilities with people —

[Crosstalk]

— in and out of this place was absolutely crucial and so I would leave it to Billy to maybe extend upon that whole domain.

Machover:

Yeah, I think that as a matter of fact, since Billy is our next speaker, why don't I introduce him and we'll pick up more questions at the end of the sessions. I don't know how many of you have had a chance to read the July 1998 issue of Spectrum Magazine. It may not be in a lot of your libraries, but they did a marvelous job on talking about EAT and some of the early technology. We got a couple of reprints over here. And just let me just read the introduction to it because I think it provides a marvelous introduction to Billy's position. It says Billy has a lot in common with the more accomplished electrical engineers of his generation. He has a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He's a veteran of Bell Laboratories, has been an IEEE member since 1943 and holds several patents. Unique to Kluver, however, is an almost surreal story of a quiet scientist thrust from serenity of the laboratory into the burgeoning art field of the New York City in 1960s. It goes on to talk about the Nine Evenings, which resulted in a collaboration between 10 artists and more than 30 engineers and scientists who integrated a fascinating new technologies into the world of art. They had an audience of over 10,000. And then it goes on to say because of the enthusiasm generated by Nine Evenings, Kluver, fellow Bell engineer Fred Waldhauer, and artist Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman, went on to form Experiments in Art and Technology, EAT, the first organization dedicated to uniting artists eager to use technology with engineers equipped to provide it. Billy, it's yours. Let me put your slides. Here you go.

Kluver:

Yes, if you, you gave me my talk already. I mean, for Christ's sake. I need the mic. Well, I, I'm going to read very fast. Anyway, I will cover some of the stuff that's already been said. So I will read this. I worked on it so I could read it. And one of the questions that Carl Machover made: what made Bell Labs a factor, a possible factor in bringing arts and sciences together in the 60s? And I was not quite sure whether the question was assuming too much. Were there any positive factors there in the 60s of bringing the art and sciences together? But anyway, I will try it.

First, Bell Labs was in the 60s the world's best laboratory for research in physics and sciences. It got this way by giving scientists and engineers complete freedom. Yesterday I was asked what this complete freedom meant. I thought it was obvious, but I realized what it was — what it really meant that scientist works on their own ideas. And what they themselves they could make, what kind contributions they could make in science. Bell Labs gave them elbowroom. In Sweden, before I came here, I was interested in electromotion in crossed electric and magnetic fields, and I wrote a thesis on backward wave magnetron amplifiers. When I got to Bell Labs, I continued working on crossed field electron tubes and all these measurements and power conversions and so on. And I cumulated the regular number of patents and published scientific papers — always were taken care of by the patent lawyers and the publication department.

My supervisor joked that most of the inventions were made at 10 o'clock at night or by chance meetings in the corridors. Essentially, in the research group you came and went and left at this — without anybody noticing. I remember having to chase my supervisor in order to report a new discovery that I made or to get, to get some information. I only got into trouble once. I made what I thought was a revolutionary discovery. It had to do with noise reduction in electron beams. News of this discovery spread like wildfire through the lab, including John Pierce, who wrote a memorandum about it. But early next morning when I woke up, I understood I was wrong. It took me several days to convince my supervisor that I was right and they were now wrong. But as usual, you find something else to do with the same idea.

Now, can I have the first slide?

Machover:

Sure. If you'll press your button —

Female Voice:

— forward.

Machover:

Here.

Kluver:

Ah. In 1960, Jean Tinguely showed up and he wanted to build a large sculpture that destroyed itself in half an hour in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art. We worked on the machine for several weeks in the Bucky Fuller Dome in the eastern end of the garden. From the New Jersey garbage dumps, we collected bicycle wheels, kitchen appliances, and so on, and threw them over the wall at 54th Street. My assistant at Bell, Harold Hardriss [phonetic], had designed a switching service, which closed its circuits and so after 27 minutes, during the 27 minutes, a piano started burning and radio was turned on. The radio was sawed in half. The piano started — the fire department showed up of course. And it activated one of Tinguely’s metamatic drawing machines and it also triggered a chemical reaction, a skunk smell. And it produced smoke. It smelled in the garden for weeks afterwards.

The next morning after all this was all over the newspapers, John Pierce showed up and rushed into my laboratory, which is what he normally would do. And he said, "Oh, there is only one thing wrong.” I thought this was my time. I was gone. “Why wasn't I invited?" So I continued to get involved with the arts, working with contemporary artists in New York, which everybody knows at the time was erupting with new ideas. And many pop art or whatever you called it.

I was not alone of course. One day Fred Waldauer showed up in my laboratory. Did someone had called him, told him to look up, me up. He, he was involved in jazz and a friend of Charlie Parker. And he and I later worked closely together on many projects with artists all over here and next slide please.

Machover:

Yes, we have a slide set. Hold just a second.

Female Voice:

Did you hit the back? It's a little bit [foreground noise].

Kluver:

It's a picture of Fred with a proportion of control system that he built, which we had used some many times. In Nine Evenings of theater engineer — notice we called that thing, we called it theater and engineer. Not happenings and engineering or happenings and engineering or whatever. There was a lot of discussion about it. We wanted reality.

Machover:

They have the slide. It's jammed.

Kluver:

So and this was a group of collaborative performances that took place in 1966 in October 13, on October 13 through the 23rd. Is Fred up there yet?

[Crosstalk]

Female Voice:

We have to unjam it. It's just an aleatory phenomenon.

Kluver:

Well, I'll continue.

Machover:

All right.

Kluver:

You'll see Fred.

Machover:

You never have trouble —

Speigel:

[Interposing] It'll catch up with you.

Kluver:

Huh? So Bob Rauschenberg and I invited artist friends to participate, friends like Steve Paxton, Robert Whitman, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, David Tudor, David Halstrom, John Cage, Yvonne Rainer, Lucinda Childs. And I recruited of course engineers from the Labs to participate in the project. At the first meeting between engineers and artists in January '66, I just told the artist to ask for anything that they wanted. And the engineers, they responded with suggestion on how to accomplish their ideas. We collected more than 70 artists' requests.

I would like to show you some of the ones.

Machover:

[Off mic]. I'm having trouble with the tray.

Spiegel:

It's all this technology.

Kluver:

Anyway, there is a slide of some of the requests. The of course, engineers went right away to work and each artist had one engineer to work with to finish his or her project. This has become almost mythical event at the armory. We now making 10 films about it, one for each artist. Talk about computers, we have a complete Avid system to do this with. And the two that are completed are Oyvind Fahlstrom, the Swedish artist and Robert Rauschenberg. And the next one would be John Cage. His piece, Variation 7, lasts for 65 minutes. And so it will be a 65-minute, minute piece where he had hooked up mics all over the city and telephones. And so into the armory was fed the sounds from all over the city, from the garbage dumps or mercy studio and an aviary and whatever else it was. And so that film should be ready in a couple of weeks.

Anyway, after I moved in, we, of course, we had to install electrical systems and as they tried and had the electrical union come in and all that. Plus laying miles of cables for the 12 speakers surrounding the — in the balcony surrounding the audience. Now I would like the slide.

Machover:

How's that? Okay?

Kluver:

Yeah, that's, yeah, that's good.

Machover:

[Inaudible] There.

Female Voice:

That's Fred.

Kluver:

That's Fred.

Machover:

Okay.

Kluver:

Ah. I don't know if you can read any of this. You probably can't. Well, I'm sorry. Next. There. At least you can see for Bob's piece, for Rauschenberg’s piece, open score [phonetic]. Bill Cominsky [phonetic] at the Labs designed a tiny crystal control FM transmitter that could fit into the handle of the racket. You can see the transmitter. It's lying next to the racket there. And the contact microphone was placed on the racket and then the antenna was wired around the rim of the racket. It's now in Bilboa. The racket is now in Bilboa to be shown with Bob's retrospective. Next slide please.

Female Voice:

Yeah.

Kluver:

Oh, that's a tennis game. It's Frank Stella and Mimi Connor, who was a professional player, so that each time the ball hit strings there was an enormous bong, boom, which vibrated. There was a 5-second echo in the arming. And then one of the 48 kilo, 1 kilowatt lights that illuminated. The floor went out. Of course, that didn't work at the last moment, so we had to pull the plugs.

Then after, next slide. No, back. Oops.

Female Voice:

I don't, I didn't, I don't —

Kluver:

[Interposing] Oh, you didn't have that. Well, 500 people comes on stage when it is completely dark. And then infrared cameras are being taking up what, what the people are doing on the stage so that projected on three large screens in front of the audience so that you can both feel the 500 people and see them as projected. They did things like moving around or whatever they had coded signals to look at. Then comes Lucinda I guess. Yeah, there's Lucinda. Peter Hirsch. He designed a Doppler sonar system. There were five 70 kilohertz ultrasonic transmitters, which were mounted together with microphones in the stands, you slide. And then Lucinda was pushing the buckets up there in front of the ultrasonic beams. And when they were reflected, you picked up the reflected signal and could hear this. It sounded like being in a forest when the wind blows.

And, anyway, next comes the computer new. There it is. I got a call from Ken and Max. I don't know who called me, but one of you did. And they wanted a model to process in the computer at Bell. They would have to explain that what happened. In other words, the gray scale was replaced by electrical symbols out — or transistor or whatever. I asked Debbie if she wanted to pose and she said — to make 10 bucks — and she said yes. So that's her. I think you took the picture, Max. Oh, he left?

Mathews:

He had Harmon took the picture.

Kluver:

Huh?

Male Voice:

Leon Harmon he said.

Kluver:

Oh, Leon Harmon took the picture. Anyway, we made some 4 or 7 feet and I brought some of them here, 4 or 7 feet long so you could see them out there on the table presumably. Oh, later on in '67 we had a press conference in — and afterwards I came out. I was sitting at Mickey's at Max's Kansas City with Bob and we were all anxious to see what they were going to show and then your Times of course. So we came out and there was Ken Knowlton and Leon Harmon’s nude on the first, on the front — first page of the second section — very prominent-looking. Is that, I think — there it is. So, I met, several years later I met the picture editor of The New York Times and I said how could you possibly have printed this in The New York Times? And his answer was, "Of course I knew what it was, but I wanted to see if I could get away with it." Well, we, the ones that we printed are silk screens of this, of the nude. And about Brooklyn. We did an art and technology exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum and then by the same process for the catalog — I think it was Manfred Schroeder took the words for the exhibition and made a copy image of the Brooklyn Museum. And I think you referred to that exhibition, previously.

Okay, now the biggest project after that was the Pepsi Cola pavilion. Next slide. Oh, yes. It contained inside it — you can — next slide. Inside there was a 210-degree spherical mirror, which has the effect of producing real images. Not virtual images, but real, so that the third person can walk around and so on. And we had about 3 million visitors during Expo 70. It was — they cooked a lunch on the floor there, the Japanese and all that. They loved it. But you can see the upside-down floor if you turn the slide upside-down. So the the whole floor is reflected as a real image in the spherical image — in the spherical mirror. Okay. I think that was it. I interviewed John Pierce — oh it was six months ago — something like that — for the film we're making. And I asked him, "Why did you let me get away with all this?" His answer was quite logic. There was too much positive enthusiasm. You realize what it would have done to Bell Labs if he had cut it off. But of course Bill Baker and all the other people, which have been mentioned earlier, are also responsible for this feeling at Bell. I am finished.

[Applause]

Machover:

Michael? Come back and join us. Thank you so much, Billy. We'll have a chance to talk to all the panelists at the end of these presentations. Mike Noll is another old friend of mine. He's — it crosses over from technology to art. Currently he's a professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at USC, spent nearly 15 years performing basic research at Bell Labs in Murray Hill New Jersey. His research included work in such areas, the effects of media on interpersonal communications, three-dimensional computer graphics, human machine tactile communication signal processing, aesthetics, raster displays. But the thing that I find most fascinating in his background was that in a period in the early '70s he was on the staff of the President’s science advisor in the White House. Very much involved in the centers of power. Michael?

Noll:

Carl, thank you. So I think I'd like to thank the audience for coming too. I was sitting in the back and, and listening to my friends talking about the Labs and the great environment was, and then realizing there's actually people who care enough to come on a Sunday afternoon and listen to this I think makes me feel very good and very pleased and glad we did this event.

I'd like to talk a little bit about the environment and also some of the work that I was involved with when I was at the Labs.

Male Voice:

[Inaudible]

Noll:

So I just want to mention again — I feel this need to mention what that environment was like. It was an extremely creative environment. A number of people were working in the area of art and technology. Ken and Stan VanDerBeek were doing animation work. Max, John Pierce doing computer music. Bela Julesz doing graphics. Frank Sinden, Ed Zajac doing animation. So it was, it was a — there's a lot of people here to feed on each other and also some of the best minds in the world available to you to suggest ideas to you, and help you when you sometimes bumped into inevitable wall where things wouldn't work. And I also think that the management of the Labs, many of whom already have been mentioned — Bill Baker certainly was vice president of research; John Pierce, executive director; Max was another manager who encouraged this work; Manfred Schroeder; Peter Denes. These were some of the people who had the vision to realize that this could be the beginning of something big, and they were quite right.

Well, we made another little chart here that attempts to look at the internal people who were doing this work. These were the scientists and engineers at Bell Labs who were doing it. Then I also just in terms of the music world — most of the names you've already heard; a few who haven't you heard — Dick Moore, Joe Olive, Joan Miller. These were some other people working in the computer music — who were doing other scientific research during the day and then, you know, were also involved in the arts side too at the same time. And then there were various musicians who were coming and spending a fair amount of time working on this technology at night.

In the visual art world we had the art and animation side. You know Ken, myself, Bela Julesz, Leon Harmon's just been mentioned in terms of the nude — one he did there. And also Ed Zajac, Frank Sinden. I think Ken will mention them a little bit later too in terms of the animation work that they did. Then there were these various collaborations with outsiders that Billy was involved with and also Jerry. In addition to that, there was a whole host of people who would wander through the labs in the music world. I certainly remember Hermann Scherchen, the great Swiss conductor, coming by for a day or two. I remember another wonderful day where we had Leopold Stokowski over to take a look at computers and see what was happening. And I remember Roy Disney himself coming by at one time looking at some of the animation work that we were doing. So in terms of how did this spread, I think it was because the Labs openly made the results available to all. There was no sense in trying to hold this inside to commercialize it. We're all encouraged to tell by what we were doing. I think that was key.

In terms of my own work, I sort of made a little list here of some of the things I was involved with. Now there's always a danger here in saying the first, because somebody will always find something a little bit earlier. Or saying the best because someone will find something always a little bit better or saying the worse because something will always be worse than what you thought it was. But anyway, so I apologize for trying to use the “st” words. The first piece of computer art I did was 1962. I'll show it to you shortly. It was called “Gaussian Quadratic.” It was motivated by a computer bug that somebody else had and the famed microfilm plotter, had produced this random pattern, went every which way. And then I decide to do it deliberately. So I got involved in this as a result of someone else's programming error, and then I myself personally start doing it deliberately, combining random and geometric elements together. I'll show you “Gaussian Quadratic” in a minute or two.

“Gaussian Quadratic” is the first officially registered, copyrighted piece of digital computer art, as far as I know. It has currently been printed and has been donated to Los Angeles County Museum of Art and is now in their permanent collection. “Computer Composition With Lines” I'll mention a little bit later. That came in 1964. It was the first comparison of a computer work with that done by a painting by Piet Mondrian.

I then got involved in doing stereoscopic animation, left images and right images, and making 3D movies. And I'll show you — if you hang around at the end, I will run a 15-minute video later on when, you know, after we've done the official program for those who are interested in looking at that. And I think one or two of the computer musicians will run some of their music I hope on top of it so you're not bored in dead silence.

In 1965 Bela Julesz and I had an exhibit of our computer work at the Howard Wise Gallery on West 57th. I don't know if anyone's old enough here to remember Howard and the various things that went on at his gallery, op art, Jerry Oster. I don't think Howard ever made a dime from anything, which probably is true of all art galleries. But he certainly was educational in terms of the various people he had there. This was probably the first exhibit of digital computer art in the United States, 1965 Howard Wise Gallery.

That was then followed by some rotating four-dimensional hyper-object work that I did, which led into a technique, which if you stay later was used for doing title sequencing for movies and television shows. Perhaps some of the earliest use of computer animation to do titling. The “Incredible Machine” done in '68. “The Unexplained” was a television special done in 1970. Some of you are taking notes. I have a handout which I will leave at the table at the end and there's almost enough for everybody, which will, which talks about all this work and when it was done.

Computer holography. Perhaps the first computer-generated hologram was invented by Mike King and it showed one of my three-dimensional computer-generated sculptures. And then I moved on to interactive stereo and also got involved in scan conversion, the use of a television-like display hooked to a computer. This almost was patented but because of some software issues was abandoned at the Supreme Court by the Bell Labs. This is the basics of all technology currently used in all computer displays. So we innovated that at Bell Labs and in essence gave it to the world for free.

That was then followed — the last project I worked with was the forced feedback, three-dimensional input device. And I'll mention that in another minute or two. This is “Gaussian Quadratic.” For me, the first serious piece of computer art that I played with. I always liked it. And the reason was because it inadvertently had reminded me of a Picasso painting called “Ma Jolie,” which stayed here at MoMA. There's a Picasso exhibit going on. It was going on in L.A. a few months ago and I noticed MoMA was — kept all the good stuff here in New York and sent the second-rate stuff to L.A.

I also did some take-offs on op art, which was very popular back then. This is a take-off on Bridgette Riley's piece. I call it “Ninety Parallel Sinusoids With Linearly Increasing Period.” Turn it the other way. Good. Wait, you were shaking a little bit so it scintillates and makes colors and makes everybody eyes goes crazy. Wake up the audience a little bit type of thing. You okay, Carl? Yeah, all right. Anyway.

There's another one for you. This one is interesting. You can — we do a little quick experiment here. How many people like the pattern on your left? How many like the pattern on the right? How many of you think the pattern on the left was done by the computer? How many think the pattern on the left was done by —

Break (Tape Change)

Noll:

I know that this has now arrived, because a few months ago, somebody is selling a screensaver that actually shows the four-dimensional hypercube prospectively projected down. And this was done in the '60s also. And the frames on the right are from a computer-generated ballet, the very, very first use of computers in choreography. Those were stick figures running around the stage. As a quick example, after I produced that movie, I remember showing it to Lucy Venabel at the Dance Notation Bureau in New York, Rebecca Harkness, José Limón, Mercy Cunningham, a number of choreographers and various people all saw this piece. And I was suggesting that this could be — the computer could be a new tool for the choreographer in terms of creating ballet works, and then, you know, making notated scores to give to dancers. The last crazy project I worked with at the labs was the force feedback device. This was a three-dimensional input device also controlled by motors, it would allow you to feel shapes and objects and forms that existed in the computer's memory. This was constructed in the late '60s. And also, is covered by a United States patent, which was applied for in 1971. And if anyone is interested, this is the patent itself. And if you look at the drawing underneath, what it covers is a 3D display with three-dimensional input to a computer and force feedback coming back, that is patented 71, and that is called today virtual reality. So Bell Labs, without a doubt, pioneered all of virtual reality.

In terms of the wild environment at the Labs, a last little thing to mention to you quickly here was this. I never knew what was going to happen next there, it's a wild place. And Stanley Kubrick, one of his people came by, they were working on a movie, and they were looking for how the future would be. John Pierce had asked me to consult with these people, and I produced this drawing and wrote a little scenario for, in essence — if anybody's seen the movie 2001, this is the picturephone booth sequence in it that came from Bell Labs also and was some of the wild things that we were doing back then, too. So there's how that came. We're all going to be killed with that movie in another two years, right, because we're going to see it again, again, and again.

In a minute or two here, I'd like to read you a few quotes and some of the vision that we had back then. These are some of the ideas that I talked about. The great technical powers and the creative potentials of the computer result in a totally new kind of creative medium. This is an active medium with which the artist can interact on a new level, freed from the physical limitations of all other previous media. The artistic potentials of such a creative medium as collaborated with an artist are truly exciting and challenges — challenging. I wrote about the beginnings of a new creative partnership in collaboration between the artist and the computer. I talked about in the computer, we had created not just an inanimate tool, but an intellectual and active creative partner that when fully exploited, could be used to produce wholly new art forms and possibly new aesthetic experiences. We had the vision then to realize that the computer may be potentially as valuable a tool to the arts, as it has already proven itself to be in the sciences.

The art applications I was doing were stimulating my interests in computer technology. The two were truly going back and forth in a synergistic way. I talked about the ideas of the following, that most programmers, scientists, and technologists were not artists and lacked artistic sensitivity and judgment, and if you look at some of my animation, you realize I knew nothing about timing. Hence they're ill-equipped to discover new and imaginative uses for computers and the arts. I said the solution is simple. Artists should be using and programming computers for artistic purposes. What we really need is a new breed of artist and computer scientist. I personally, with my career, am pleased I was able to work on this and help show the way in which those new breeds now are clearly here. Carl, thank you.

Machover:

Michael, thank you very much.

[Applause]

And now it is a delight for me to present Ken Knowlton. Ken is, again, another crossover technologist artist. He has a doctorate which he received at MIT, worked for 20 years at Bell Labs, he joined them in 1962, worked on a wide number of techniques, involving — he authored a program many of you know called Biflex [BEFLIX], which is one of the early computer programs for generating movies. Ken.

Knowlton:

Thank you. People who are about to die are supposed to be able to review their lives in about two or three seconds. I'm going to try to think of that and — so I can get through mine in 10 minutes. I was at Bell Labs from '62 to '82, and believe me, those were the Golden Years of Bell Labs as far as I'm concerned. I want to pay tribute to — I want to pay tribute to a couple people who are not here, who have already been mentioned. Frank Sinden did this wonderful film on Newton's Law of Motion, or what it would have been, the same law of action or reaction, but with different powers of gravity other than the inverse square law.

We had in those days a marvelous new machine called the microfilm printer, a Stromberg-Carlson 4020. It put letters on the screen and vectors, lines from X1-Y1 to X2-Y2. Another person that used it in this way was Ed Zajac, who made a film showing what a long body would look like, how it would orbit about the earth, oriented by the gravity gradient force, or torque. And so in this environment, I tried my own things. As far as I know — but this may not be valid or true — I'm the first person that tried to make a language for raster graphics.

That was a wonderful time in my life. I wrote this two-and-a-half page memo to my then department head, and I said, you know, it might be possible to make a more general language, not for one particular movie, but for a variety of movies. And, and he said, this sounds like a very ambitious project, but why don't you see what you can do. So I went ahead and I saw what I could do. I in fact used it in describing the next language that I devised, which was a — list processing language, and made a film showing animated bugs going about a list structure. I did a bunch of other things, which are defensible in terms of science and image processing and transmission. This is — these are shots of progressive transmission of pictures. By adding detail, in which case, you get a fine resolution picture not paying any price for the fact that you give coarse resolution first.

I also worked up a operator's console or a general purpose console where you push physical buttons, but it looks like you are pushing buttons that are generated by computer, because you are looking through a half-silvered mirror, and your hands look transparent and the buttons beneath your fingers are changing form and legend. This is what it looks like as you're operating this kind of a device. I worked with chemists and physicists showing crystal structures, and we simulated the growth of crystals in various ways. This was quite an interesting thing to crystallographers to see in action the motion of atoms and clusters of atoms obeying various of their hypothetical laws. This, a more advanced system developed by me and Lorinda Cherry, was then passed on to Steve Levine and Nelson Max at Lawrence Livermore Labs. Nelson Max added shading and highlights, and made a much better method — a system for making pictures of, in this case, the DNA molecule, which as you know is a double helix. But then that helix itself spirals around in three dimensions to make a super helix, and he made absolutely fantastic movies based originally from my — an outgrowth of the thing that we had developed at Bell Labs.

Then, of course, the famous Harmon-Knowlton “Nude.” It's already been mentioned. I'll tell you two additional things about this that made it interesting to me. One was that — this we entered into various collaborations – various shows demonstrating what an artist and a programmer can do together. It was done by Leon and I – by Leon and me, who were both engineers at Bell Labs, but one of us had to be the artist, so, and I didn't realize at the time that it was such a prestigious thing to be an artist. So he said, I want to be the artist. I said, okay, you're the artist. So he was the artist, and I was the programmer. The second thing about it was that Bell Labs, you know, free as they were, the PR department said, yes you can publicize this, but please just be — sort of soft pedal it under that it was made at Bell Labs. Do not mention that it was made at Bell Labs, you did it as individuals somewhere. Then, as Billy Kluver mentioned, it appeared on the first page of the second section of The New York Times, and that made it art, with a capital A. And bless them, the people in the PR department said yes, you can go on and publish this, but henceforth, please be sure that people know that it was made at Bell Labs. [Laughter]

On through a number of collaborations now, these are with artists with Stan VanDerBeek, since Stan and I made several films, about 10 films we called Poemfields. This is a shot from one of them. With Lillian Schwartz, a number of films in color. This is made now — shot from an animation camera looking at a color television set. I was basically responsible for making pictures in both of these cases, and the artists cobbled them together and added sound tracks and made real movies with them.

Then, onto, well — that's about when my name became “and Ken Knowlton,” because that's how it always used to appear time after time. I have, I have backed out of this with great struggle over the years, and then I've expunged the “and,” pretty much. But that's — this is history, and this was what we've come to talk about. Laurie Spiegel — well, let me say a thing about the early collaborators, the artists, they disappointed me in that they didn't learn nearly as much about programming as I wanted them to. I wanted them to take these languages and methods that I'd developed and really, you know, go on from there and elaborate more, and use all of the possibilities that I was sort of — I thought I was beginning to point out. And they just took the results by and large. Then along came Laurie Spiegel, and she disappointed me on the other side. She just took it and did her own independent thing, and she did what I had wanted everybody to do. And with Mannie Ghent we spent one or two nights, one of us trying to stay awake in order to go back and kick the rack when the computer's stopped. And we made a film. I added basically the images, and he did the music, and bless us, we could not find a single copy of this film. We're still looking, and I hope we do find a copy of it. I played on my own with a computer making alphabets of various kinds, and designs of various kinds, and there were patterns that would these days be called, you know, screensaver patterns.

I developed a series of fonts, which I then used to make pictures. You know, I combined letters and photographs and this, for example, is a picture of a Vietnamese girl, and the U — the text is the UN Declaration of Human Rights, and this was done in 1972, and I thought it was a very political statement. The same kind of thing, simpler, same game that Leon Harmon and I started way back in 1966, namely, make a large picture out of smaller things, where the small things are — you know, represents something and the large picture is something else. And what I tried to do is make the largest difference between what one sees from up close and what one sees far away, in other words, very coarse.

So my life has gone backwards really. I've gone from color to black and white, from movies to stills, from high resolution to low resolution. Back to spheres, I couldn't get away from spheres. I used spheres for a picture of what you might call safe sex here, or what happens if it isn't safe sex. And odd things — these are cute little things that I did using Mike Noll's three-dimensional joystick. I was absolutely obsessed with spheres. This SIGGRAPH printed upside down, and I thought it should be a tree growing upward, and they somehow they didn't see it that way. That’s why the caption is upside down on the top. Even when I went to California to Via Video — spheres again, this is 90,000 spheres, believe it or not. Just lately to show you what’s happened to me, these are Braille patterns, and using all of the 64 Braille cells, each one's 16 times, I produced this picture of Helen Keller. Using a mish-mash of characters, same font, very simply an 80 by 80 array, which looks like an encrypted message, I hope, because the intent is to pay tribute to Phil Zimmerman, who is the creator of PGP, Pretty Good Privacy Encryption System. That's an old game, but then in a careful way. And then finally, here's one of – for SIGGRAPH’s 25th anniversary, as many of you may know, the teapot was something that was used by computer graphicists to demonstrate shading and highlights and textures and whatnot, and so I took a teapot and smashed it into 493 pieces, and created what I called a retrieved icon, a picture of a teapot.

The last medium that I've been working on for several years is seashells. The first of these was a picture commissioned by the Exploratorium in San Francisco, a picture of Jacques Cousteau, made in seashells, and then perhaps without such a seashell connection, nevertheless common icons, as you recognize the source, I’m sure, these are all seashells in their natural shapes and sizes and colors. And actually, there is a seashell connection here. This is the Mona Lisa. Do you want to defocus that so that people can see the overall picture? Well, once again, the same tricks of trying to make something that looks one way from far away, and like an interesting collection of patterned seashells from up close. The connection with seashells in this case, actually, is that, you know, one of the things that Leonardo said musing to himself, or maybe to other people is, why are there seashells on mountaintops, in other words, fossils of seashells? So there is actually a seashell thing about Leonardo. I think that's my story up to date, and that’s where I came from.

[Applause]

Machover:

Ken, thank you very much. We've had absolutely fascinating discussions of where Bell Labs has been and the people who have been there. I'm delighted to be able to have Dr. Doree Seligmann talk with us about where Bell Labs is today, what kind of things are going on there. She's a distinguished member of the technical staff at Bell Labs, Lucent Technologies. She has an unusual background, has an AB in anthropology at Harvard, spent several years directing and designing theatrical production in Paris, and then returned in New York to complete a Ph.D. in computer science at Columbia. At Bell Labs, she's developed systems for multimedia conferencing, collaboration, and more recently, archways, which is a system that automatically generates 3D virtual environments. I want to make a point, I've not been able to read the complete files of everyone on the panel, they have done a — you know, they are marvelous people. I would commend your attention, the ASCI website, which is http, colon, dash, dash, it's www, dot ASCI dot org. And you'll find a page for these panels and the biographies of all of our panelists on the page. Doree?

Seligmann:

Thank you. I'm going to play it a little bit by ear because, I don't know, when I went to Columbia University to get my Ph. D., everyone told me, wow, you just came at the end of the great times, and sure enough, when I got my job at Bell Labs, all I've been hearing about is the Golden Age, and yet again I missed my opportunity. I seem to always be at the wrong place at the wrong time. But of course, being at the wrong place at the wrong time was always a great opportunity to try to find and forge new paths, or recreate and bring back some of the splendor that once was, and maybe find new meanings and new, new pathways. And I, usually, with a venue like this, is a great opportunity for me to show what I've been doing, but I thought I'd bring some of the work that's being done at our labs, but let me just give you a little background about the relationship of artists in, in my area, which is multimedia, multimedia communication. It seems like an obvious thing that's when multimedia became a subject, it's not quite an academic category, I don't think there is a professor of multimedia anywhere in any academic institution, but why not is one question. It was certainly a new place maybe for multidisciplinary work, and multidisciplinary work, of course, doesn't mean that everyone has to be in engineering, and everyone doesn't have to be from the humanities, but everyone can be from all sectors and working together, and that's what I'd hope, that multimedia would be in academia, and certainly in a laboratory. And there are times when it is, and there are times when it's not. When I got to Bell Labs, I – there’s one thing that's certainly true that still seems to ring true that, although maybe people don't say you can do whatever you want, there are certainly not many people that will tell you not to do what they're doing. And that's almost the same thing, except when it comes to asking for certain money, but I've been pretty lucky in being able to create new projects and get funding for them. I worked — I found a person to work for there, who now is the head of multimedia communication, the director. So he wields a lot of power. His name is Sid Ahuja, and he sort of let me just go for the last five years and try to forge these new relationships with arts and finding — could I show to the company, which, of course, the answer will always be no — but could I show that there's some value in having these collaborations, and if so, what kind of collaborations should they be. So first of all, Bell Labs still does have its artists in residence program, although I only know of one artist in residence, who is the artist in residence, who is still Lillian Schwartz. But there are now plans to start a new one, and I don't know any more than that there are plans. The second way to bring in artists is, particularly into multimedia, of course, is to actually physically drag them into the Labs, maybe not at midnight anymore, because, I don't know, maybe the rules have changed. We're never allowed to let people use the computers without, you know, exact supervision. But we could bring them during the day, and we could actually pay them and see if we can create at least projects that aren't exactly free for all projects, but projects that have some modicum of relevance to at least in this case multimedia communications. And for that, I had the great fortune of meeting some artists that did, did come and spend substantial amounts of time with us. There is Vibeka Jensen and Norman Douglas who came to work on our video board. There's Katie LaPorte who spent a long time working on lots of interactive systems. A standard photographer whose feature I'll tell you about this website that we did, Alvaro Munoz who did some photographs. And there's some hidden artists in the labs, as we know, all engineers are not all artists, you don't have to pick one or the other, and I’ll show you some of the work done by a colleague, John Edmark and where, it's not necessary art, you're seeing, you're seeing an artist who's an engineer who's doing something that you can very quickly see what the artistic uses would be.

So that would — that's bringing — now there's a problem, of course, bringing artists into a research lab, and I had the same misgiving as Ken just mentioned, is that after a certain amount of time, you would wish that there would be a little more respect and, and mutual understanding of each other's disciplines. And I was always disappointed that the artist in the end, and I felt that they were shortchanged by this, did not learn as much about the technologies as we learned about what they were doing. And I wonder if artists always want to be last in the loop in that they have to use the tools that are built for them, why not build the tools themselves as they used to? And as we see in computer technology, this is more and more possible as the years go on, because there is this great, thanks to the Internet for the most part I would think, there's this great interest in making things accessible to all, and we don't all have to protect our jobs, so we can let everyone learn how to create. And that doesn't mean, of course, that everyone can become an artist, that everyone can become, as you said, a publisher, but it certainly means that the artist can have a little more say in the kinds of tools and the technologies, and even drive the way the technologies are being developed in a way that's beneficial to all.

Another way that artists participate is when we do collaborations with other groups that are using technology. And for that, I found a group, I see Kathy Cruz here, as a consortium called Thundegulch, of multimedia technologies in Lower Manhattan, directed by Kathy Cruz, and this is a collection of different, multimedia non-profit organizations in New York who, I guess, in a way, the idea was that they had to get to talk to each other, because they can't just be experts in audio, just experts in video, because now there's a great interest to build multimedia systems and for which they can use the resources and expertise of each other. And for that we had — Sid Ahuja also let me bring in people. In fact, we have, someone who came from the Gertrude Stein Repertory Theater, who's now a permanent employee, I saw her before, Maya Rosenberg, and she's now part of our department, and, but the original collaboration was to have a theater group that was using telecommunications and working in areas of long distance learning and developing new ways to use technology to have a remote rehearsals and performances, have them work with the actual people that build those technologies, because the restrictions aren't necessary — the notion of quality service is not just what a marketing person has determined is a adequate use such as business conference or something.

There is a whole realm of uses for these technologies, and the way to tap into them is to find out what other people are doing with their, with their shoelace — is that the term? — shoelace budgets, with their very small budgets and see how much they can get out of the technologies and find out if that — if what they're getting out of the technology, you know, despite all the obstacles, is actually something that we should be striving for, rather than striving blindly, always for, you know, the best bit rate, the best frame rate, the best this, the best that, and not build these technologies blindly. So that's another successful way to bring artists into Bell Labs that we, that we've been doing. And I guess what I wanted to do is rather than — I'll show some brief slides of the works I've done but only at the end. I just wanted to show you some of the tools that are being developed in multimedia labs that would be of great use to artists and they’re public. You can go to the papers, you can go to the talks that they give, you can talk to the engineers, their email addresses are on the papers. They need that kind of input. They need that kind of collaboration. And yet, while there is no formal structure that says that their management is going to say yes, this is a good thing, certainly, anything that comes from this collaboration will be finally recognized as a good thing, and perhaps foster a more formal relationships. So I think that it's time to get past the artist as icon designer or graphic designer, the brand new user interface that someone's developing, but really artists as being part of that big mix of multimedia technology that's driving and changing the way that we communicate and interact. So, I brought a lot, and of course, what I'd rather you do is ask me questions at the end, but let me just show you some, some of these things. These are demos from technical papers, so they have that flavor to them, and they showed very interesting uses of graphics and audio, and just the recognition of sorts, Jacob's there. So let me just show them sort of one at a time, and if it starts to take too long, we'll just fast forward.

Machover:

Take about three minutes, four minutes, for these.

Seligmann:

Four minutes?

Machover:

Yeah.

Seligmann:

I brought a large pile.

Machover:

Well, we can show them after the session closes.

Seligmann:

Oh, okay. Well, let me show, let me just show two that were just shown at SIGGRAPH. This is how you would mix video and 3D graphics, and it's really clever. In fact, the person came up with this algorithm is — . The person who came up with this algorithm, John Edmark, who's probably going to be talking over this tape — is there any sound to this?

Male Voice On Video:

Two avatars are bicycling through a virtual environment made of a 3D region and a video region. We are now viewing the world from the yellow avatar's point of view. When the red cyclist moves into the video region, he will remain visible, because a trace object replaces his avatar. The trace object is scaled and translated so that it appears to be moving in the 3D space represented by the video panel. As we go behind the scenes, we see a white avatar, which has been added in this demonstration to show the lead cyclist's actual position.

Seligmann:

I should have given you – more context —

Male Voice On Video:

From the yellow avatar's point of view, the red cyclist's representation changes seamlessly between a trace object and an avatar.

Seligmann:

So this was a very interesting algorithm where they used a different way of texture mapping live video onto a geometric object – to make it seamless —

Male Voice On Video:

Since image and video regions represent parts of 3D space, these 2D displays should maintain visual continuity with their surrounding object regardless of viewing location. Each of these screens shows the same image from various viewpoints. In the left screen, the image is displayed on a flat panel, while on the right screen, it is displayed on a pyramidic panel. From this viewpoint, the image on the left has severe discontinuities with the surrounding 3D road curve, while the right image fits much better. This new view emphasizes discontinuities between the left images arising and its surrounding model. Again, the right image maintains continuity. As our viewpoint approaches the panels, we see an unintelligible collection of pixels in the left image, but retain our sense of space in the right image. When we look to the side, the image on the right retains its continuity with the surrounding 3D object. As we move far forward, our viewpoint goes through the flat panel, but the pyramidic panel accommodates this viewpoint. Let's watch the sequence again, this time two screens have been added to give us behind the scenes views of the flat and pyramidic panels showing how they respond to camera movements. The lower right screen shows how the pyramidic panel responds to viewpoint movements. Notice that the apex of the pyramidic maintains a fixed distance from the camera. The differences we see between the images displayed on the flat panels and those on the pyramidic panels results solely from these responses to the camera's position. Of course, pyramidic panels work equally well for the display of video images. As the panels move along the road, their speeds match the changing contents of the video. In addition, the pyramidic panel responds to user viewpoint changes, thus maintaining visual continuity between the video and surrounding 3D objects. We continue to look around for other effects.

Seligmann:

So I just want to give you a little background of this work. First of all, the the fellow who put this algorithm, John Edmark, if you ever go to Central Park and you see someone putting out candles, that's him. He does this candle art. Hence the interest in Central Park. But this came out of the work that's being done in multimedia conferencing, and the idea is that we found that although multimedia technologies were being touted as the next new wave, that they themselves have not been a grand success, and the question was why. And so there are different directions taken in our lives to try to enhance communication by providing environments where people could share experiences, providing environments where people had a sense of being there. These are, these are not hard science qualifications there. These are things that are hard to justify, hard to create a metric for, but ones in which an artistic view can certainly aid. And you can see that just, just from those simple examples, here was a system for remotely being able to bicycle, so you could actually bicycle on a real bicycle, and the pedals would actually control your velocity in the train. The information coming back from the 3D representation of the train would control the bicycle so you had that much resistance. This was an effort to create these remote collaborations or interactions that, that had a little bit more. And from that, we came with this algorithm. So I had hundreds of other examples of work to show, and I guess — [Laughter]

Machover:

If you can do it in two minutes, we’re great.

Seligmann:

I'm going to show you one thing, that since we talked about audio, this will just take two seconds, it's just um, a new technology called PAC, perceptual audio coder, coming out of Bell Labs in development, and it's a way to — I'll just read you the thing, because I can never remember these things. It's near CD quality, it's at 96 kilobytes per second, and you get 15-to-1 compression rate. So I'm just going to play two little samples, PAC and non-PAC, and see if you can tell the difference. And so that's on the computer — and it’s just because I downloaded 68 meg of examples for today, [Laughter] so let me plug this in. And this is the wav file. [Music] Okay so that's a wav file. And now I'm going to play you a PAC file, if you have good enough memory, you would be able to see that the waves look very similar on the — [Music] So that takes up much less space. [Music Continues] Alright, so that's just another technology that of course is now being directed towards the sensibilities of artists, because the way that they're testing is they're bringing musicians to come and see if they can tell the difference between the wav and the not, and the PAC format.

Machover:

Doree, thank you very much.

[Applause]

Well, we're almost on time for my original plan, we're only an hour late. But what I'd like to do is have an opportunity for the audience and the panel to ask some questions. Take the next 20 minutes if you'd like. Yes?

Male Voice (in audience):

The first thing is that [Inaudible] to say that [Inaudible]. I'd like you and some of the other panelists to address the goal [Inaudible] necessarily making the artwork, what their role and their vision is [Inaudible].

Spivack:

I was being a touch facile when I said they were all artists. What I was actually thinking about was that it was a precursor of a time when everyone would become an artist as they truly had control over various of these media, and the purpose here was to make each of the people feel that they were in some sense an artist, because the crucial variable is that back at that time, these people were alienated — were not alienated — they were separated from the places where technology had some degree of existence. And so here, this was an opportunity, this, the whole purpose of this meeting at the museums was to give people a sense of what was the machine, and the machine meant everything. This was part of the EAT collaboration. The machine meant digital computers. It meant all the things that were transforming the world at that time, but my dream is that in fact, again, the definition that I placed up there was that an artist is anyone who can creatively use the tools available to one and transform the world in the way we see it. And I believe that hopefully that is what the education of the future will provide for every young person. The only thing that separates that capability — in other words, the only thing that makes people not an artist, I believe, is the fact that our institutions tell us that it's outside of our capability, and that we define artists extremely too narrowly.

Spiegel:

Yeah, this is a question that I've dealt with, and thought about quite a lot because as many of you probably know, I have put out for personal computers, starting with the Apple II software, which basically automates many of the more difficult programs like Music Master, an Intelligent Instrument, and some of the other things that allow the computer to do things like handle harmony or pick individual notes so that the user can concentrate in the level of phrasing or orchestration. And people are always, you know, sending back feedback, like "some of my students have been using your software, how can I tell whether they know their harmonies, since their pieces could have been done with the assistance of your software, I don't know how to grade them." And that kind of thing. And one of the problems of course is there — this concept of the artist is a really artificial construction of the last few hundred years. I mean not that there isn't — there's a lot to be said for great artistry education and specialized technique and learning, but in many traditional cultures, people — folk music, typically, you know, you have material which goes around and individual people modify it and reuse it, and the nature of the creation of artistic materials is predominantly interpersonal and collaborative, rather than this, that our whole copyright and socioeconomics of art is based on this idea of this solitary artist as the sole source and creator of a specific finite fixed form work. And this technology is very threatening to that set of ideas, and partly that's because those ideas are an artificial creation and mindset of a given period of time. And I think the technology is really moving us beyond that a bit, to the point where works are not single source, fixed form, and where — okay, in our generation, the tool builder and the artist were the same person. I wrote the code, wired up the hardware, and composed the music, but with the increasing complexity of the technology, I think collaboration's really the way to go, and the model of artistic processes is no — there will always be single source finite fixed form works by exceptional individuals that are extraordinary, and there's no substitution for Beethoven or Bach, but the norm, I think, is going to really just be moving in the direction that works are not ego-property as they had been.

Ghent:

Well, I'd like to make a pitch for the artist who's not so good at the technology. What I mean by that is this, that for example, when I was working on those compositional algorithms, if I were really a good programmer, I would have been very much more skilled than I was at being able to imitate the kind of work that I would have done as I was composing on music paper. But not being such a great programmer, I was forced to simplify things a great deal. And the amazing thing was that it would produce sounds which I, or, not sounds, but sequences and musical results which I never would have dreamed of in a hundred years had it not happened before my eyes, and I remember when Laurie and I would be there at night, and we would change a few numbers here and there on quite simple programming development, and it would produce things that we could never imagine, because I would never have thought of doing that composition myself, and they were really quite wonderful. So that I'm making a plea for not necessarily being the most skilled in the technological world. I think sometimes being very skilled has of course its great advantages in creating new tools and innovating in certain ways, but being a little bit less skilled induces you to explore things that the most skilled person might not necessarily do.

Kluver:

I don't know if I got [Inaudible] there. First, if you are an artist, I believe, it's a gene, if you're an artist. You can never get away from it. Either you are or you're not, that's the way it is. But, you are absolutely right, that you have to learn this programming and all the story, and you can still be an artist, of course, but you cannot become an artist because you learn it through equipment or anything like that. That's impossible. I mean, you have to be driven if you're an artist. And you have to be poor. [Laughter] No, I mean —

Machover:

Let, let me make one observation —

Kluver:

It's not that — it's not something where there is anything. It's not a frontier where you can learn it. What happens here of course is that always patterns are very beautiful. But anything can be beautiful.

Machover:

Ken?

Knowlton:

I'd like to refute everything, but I haven't been able to keep track of it all here. [Laughter] Just because you're not very — well, I say, a highly technical person, can be simple, you know. I mean, just because you can do write a complicated computer program, you don't have to make every program complicated. And there's a, there's this thing, K-I-S-S, KISS, you know, keep it simple, stupid. I mean, even good programmers should try to keep something not more complicated than it needs to be. That's, that's one of the things Einstein said, everything should be as simple, should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler, okay. So I don't think — I don't, I don't think an artist — well, you know what I mean — about whether it should be a collaboration. In my early days, as I said, yes, it has to be a collaboration, because the technical person takes care of the technical part of it, and the artist, the person with the artistic soul, decides what to do and what the purpose is and what the statement is, and so forth. And I may, somewhere in the literature, there's a paper that says that's how it has to be. I don't think that anymore. It's — when people have different and precisely defined role — fairly precisely defined, like one writes the music, the other writes the lyrics, the words. And then they get together and, and do the words and music thing, and it's, it's fitting for them to work together. But by and large, it's very hard for one person's right hemisphere to communicate to the world through somebody else's left hemisphere. You know, it's hard enough when these two hemispheres are in the same skull to get the right coordination and make the right expression. And it's very — I would encourage every artist who wants to use a computer to learn as much as possible about the programming and then get in there and know, you know, get your hands on this stuff and make the changes yourself and learn how to make your tools, because who knows what tools to make except you, because you know what you want to say. The most important thing is to have something to do, to express, to say, to, you know, and then decide — even if you don't want to use computers, the important thing is for, so you have something to, to express.

Machover:

Mark, yes?

Male Voice (in audience):

[Inaudible]

Kluver:

At least 40 projects. Not only with Rauschenberg. In the early days, you would go up to his loft and sit there and argue, what you're going to do next. Alright, where you're going to get the next money from, and then — is that an answer to your question?

Male Voice (in audience):

Well, I was just curious to what [Inaudible].

Kluver:

Well, the last one is to put —

Machover:

Let me repeat the question. You’d like Billy to describe one of the projects with Rauschenberg, in a sense of what it was like? Yah.

Kluver:

What prompted it specifically? Is that what you mean?

Spivack:

That's his question. That was his question.

Machover:

That was his question.

Kluver:

Well, with the — I showed you the tennis racquets. He wanted this piece where the ball hit the tennis racquet and you get the big bong, and it's kind of a ballet for people playing tennis. It was a performance.

Machover:

Let me suggest you get together with him after the panel to expand on it a bit, okay? Another question? Yes, please.

Female Voice (in audience):

[Inaudible] One thing that interests me that I think almost all of you had a chance to present your work, in some sort of a public vendue in an art exhibition frequently during the 1960s and another person who was very involved in bringing together art and technology was Gyorgy Kepes was at MIT and started the Center for Advanced Visual Studies. And in 1968 he made a statement that I fond very interesting, and I wonder whether you all agree with it or not. He said that he felt, speaking in 1968, that [Inaudible] 1956 to 1968, and he was describing the fact that [Inaudible] and then in 1968, he saw a lot of enthusiasm for exhibitions and experiments bringing together artists and engineers, and that sort of thing. —

Kluver:

I hate to hog the floor, but I know what you're talking about. Kepes was — he came to us very early the first day or something, or I went up to MIT where we saw him. He was totally floored by what we were doing. He loved it. But you have to remember that enormous difference in aesthetics that was going on, with the Bauhaus movement and what was going on in New York. I mean, there would be no artists that would work with the Bauhaus people where Kepes came from. And they wanted me to go up there and – I never did.

Machover:

Anybody else would like to comment? Yeah, Jerry?

Kluver:

Kepes was a very nice guy.

Spivack:

Having not, having not read nor being familiar with him, I would like to comment. Only in terms of what was said about the artist's gene. At an earlier stage, I remember that I was a student of a gentleman named William Shakespeare, and it has to do with the fact that apparently during the Restoration Period, apparently Shakespeare was not a very popular writer. And what happens is that an artist is somebody that people decide this person is a real artist. I don't believe that Rembrandt would have liked a lot of the things that either took place, you know, in the '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, or '90s. And so we define what constitutes art. And I believe it's the creative new vision of people feeling that they have the capability for a creative new vision, but what happens for me and for many of the people, I think even here, was they were thrown into a place, Bell Laboratories, in the '60s that said, this is a place where you will have creative new visions. And not only that, we'll treat you with as much money as you will ever want to have as many creative new visions as you feel like. And all of a sudden, people who — well, certainly for myself, a person who would under other circumstances would probably have no visions, because anybody I would have come in contact with before the Laboratories wouldn't have said that that's what is in store for you. You're suddenly thrown into that possibility, and all of a sudden you're free and you're having incredible visions. And then you can do all sorts of things, and I think that our civilization and our society has stopped so many people from having incredible visions and having the ability to reach what human beings should be able to reach in the next century, that, you know, I really feel that we have to be careful about how we define artists, and what kind of separations we make about what truly creative vision and truly creative artists are about.

Machover:

Okay, let’s take one more question.

Female Voice (in audience):

[Inaudible] the relation between your artistic work at the Labs and your hard research. Did they inform each other? [Inaudible]

Male Voice:

Could you repeat the question? Would you repeat the question?

Machover:

I think the question was whether the artistic work that you did in the labs and your technical work complimented each other and informed one another, was that fair?

Knowlton:

Well, I'll speak for myself, yes, they were related. For example, take my work with spheres and objects made of spheres, and there was a scientific part of it that led me to play with other forms. Not having started out as an artist, I can't say that the art informed the science, but who knows where ideas come from. Perhaps it did, you just don't know, where, you know, something comes. It comes from out of the air or a dream or whatever. I don't pretend to know. How, how is an invention made, how is a, a picture that you want to make. How does that first arise in your mind. I just don't know.

Noll:

Also, if you could just refer to pick up a copy of this paper, yeah, it will cover it for you. The two were — there were many different parts to my career at the Labs. I was doing a lot of very heavy-duty technical work involving speech analysis and speech synthesis, and also was doing classified work I can't talk about. So the things I was doing in computer graphics and computer art became more and more interrelated with the arty side. I was never trapped in this definition of what's art and what's not because I realized art's not definable. There were some people who felt that calling something art was some sort of quality judgment that they were making. As soon as you called it art, and that was good — the two just aren't related – they are different dimensions. I also was not a believer in collaboration. I did not believe in an artist collaborating with a technologist. Still don't. I think an awful lot of bad technology and bad art somehow get excused because it's collaborative. And I still feel like that, too. So I was very much a believer that the collaboration was between the artist and the computer, I agree completely what Ken said that the artist should learn about the technology and the two work together. The last piece of technical work I did at the Labs was the force-feedback device, and that was really stimulated by my interest in 3D, and interactive 3D, which was stimulated by my interest in the ballet and the rotating hypercube and the arty stuff. The two were just one driving the other. It became very, very interrelated and inseparable. And I think the management of the Labs, you know, John and Bill, realize that that kind of creativity — you couldn't put it in a box and say this is art, this is technology, the two just go together. So the idea indeed, as Jerry mentioned, too, the vision, and having the very best people around to sort of make it become real.

Machover:

We have another comment and point of view.

Wood:

I'm Patty Wood, and I worked at Stanford with John Pierce and Max Mathews, and I've talked with them quite a lot about what went on in the early days of Bell Labs, and there's been a number of questions as to why he allowed that to happen, and it wasn't stopped. And I guess there — I'd say there's two things. One is that John Pierce is the type of person who doesn't like to control what's going on. His ego does not get in the way of other people's work. If something starts and happens, and he's interested in it, then somebody picks it up; he thinks that's a really good thing. And what he said was that he had a lot of power at Bell Labs, and he was high up in the management, and he was known as an irascible type of person. And therefore, people would question him from time to time, but he thinks because he was so irascible, they just decided not to bother and let him do what he wanted.

Machover:

Thank you very much. Let me, kind of — what I'd like to do, we're running so late. I'd like to give each of the panelists an opportunity to take about a minute to summarize what they'd like to summarize, before we do. And then we'll show some film after that. Cynthia, could you let us know the reception that is starting?

Cynthia:

At 4:30. Art & Science Collaborations put together a first international competition of digital art, and three of the prizes were for digital prints, and three were for web art. We just moved this exhibition from the New York Hall of Science here to the New Brooks Center of Design in the school of engineering, which is just north from this building on Astor Place. So between 4:30 and 6:30, there's wine and cheese reception there for all of you to join us, so —

Machover:

North is which way? Go out the door to the right or the left?

Cynthia:

Well, if you go out the doors of this building, you go right around to the opposite end, and that's the north end.

Spivack:

And you cross the street to the new building?

Cynthia:

And you cross the street to the rather modern looking, as opposed to this, building. And it's on the second floor of the engineering building.

Spivack:

It’s across 8th Street or across —

Cynthia:

Astor Place. Okay. Just due north. So —

Break (Tape Change)

Seligmann:

— in all these technical meetings, and in the research labs, define their role in it, otherwise we're going to end up with the same situation we have just with computer tools, where it's just a hodgepodge of things that have been designed by engineers with maybe very little consideration to their uses or their potential.

Machover:

Thank you. Billy?

Kluver:

I agree, of course, and — the only way it can happen is through collaboration between artists and engineers. But there has to be some tool for the artist to get to know the engineers. Well we exist and I get telephone calls once a week about some artist that wants to do something, and I have a standard litany of questions that I ask the artist, beginning with how many people are going to see it and so on. And then I'll find an engineer for them. I mean, there are the people who could do that.

Machover:

Laurie?

Spiegel:

Yeah. Despite the fact that I genuinely believe and see that all of this technology stuff does move in the direction of collaboration as opposed to individuals with total control, I vote with Ken in the direction of the idea that artists have always been their own engineers. They have always pushed the limits of whatever technology they were working with, and I've always been led by my own visions and the fact that there's — I see things, I hear things in – I have a very active imagination, and I've always wanted to have ways of expressing and communicating and not being alone in my private inner experience. And the technology is something that I just fell in love with as a way that I could potentially better keep up with the rate of turnover of stuff in my mind in order to be able to link up with other people through the art. And so, I've always tended to want to be, you know, to be my own engineer pretty much, and the collaborations of which several, with Ken, and Mannie, and, you know, everyone here, what I can say is the most important thing, as far as I can see, is to have some kind of atmosphere where people are mutually supportive, whether you call it collaboration or a friendship or whatever, just people bouncing ideas off each other is really helpful, but the primary thing is what Billy was saying, be driven, and you must be just simply going crazy with your inner experience and need to find a way to put it out. And I really believe you should be your own engineer, because if you know the technology, you can get it to do things that have never been done before, otherwise you're stuck with what some marketing department thinks an artist needs as a tool or something, anyway —

Kluver:

Disagree.

Knowlton:

Talking with Max Mathews earlier, he said —

Kluver:

How could a mirror in the Pavilion have happened without an artist having that idea? No engineer would have that idea. It came with somebody who wanted to see something. Then you had to contact all these people and find out how to do it.

Knowlton:

Before the meeting, Max Mathews was saying that his students at Stanford have to learn C, they have to learn to program, I thought that was very interesting. Rather than summarize, I'd like to add just a bit of perspective. Computer animation, in particular, I'd like to talk about. This did not start at Bell Labs. I mean I’d call it rather systematic animation, animation that is based on geometry and rules. And I think of, for example, Oscar Fishinger in the 1930s and the 1940s as having done some incredible stuff without computers. And then on to the National Film Board of Canada, and Norman McClaren, in particular, but other people there who did wonderful stuff. And then the supremely important person who went through analog computers and then on to digital computers was John Whitney. He put together, first of all, incredible collections of World War II surplus equipment, and made things that revolved, and, you know, shot, took pictures. And then, after making animated movies by this analog, electromechanical equipment, he got on to digital computers, and went on from there. And he was absolutely superb, a central figure in that line. And, you know, we carried it on from there. If a history of this kind of stuff gets written, I would be pleased to be part of it, but it starts a lot earlier, and who knows where it goes on from here.

Ghent:

I'd just like to say something more about what I was saying before. I agree with Ken and Mike that certainly the artist should learn the technology as best he can, and I certainly — I learned Fortran when I was doing all the music work that I did. I'm just trying to — what I meant before was, if you're not that good at it, serendipitously you're likely to come across things that somebody who was very skilled at it isn't likely to hit upon, because they're going to transcend, because they're going to use the medium more effectively. So all I'm saying is be thankful for the serendipitous experience that comes about in the process of learning the technology. The other thing I wanted to say is about collaboration. By and large, I find collaboration, very hard. I think somebody said collaborating between the left and right hemispheres is hard enough. But there are exceptions to that. I know in the creation of Phosphones, which I hope I can play a little snippet of later on, so you can get a sense of the collaboration between the lighting and the choreography and the music, there are times when collaboration works absolutely wonderfully.

Noll:

I just want to sort of quickly pick up on what Mannie said about serendipitous things. That was sort of what was leading me many, many years ago to suggest that the digital computer was a creative artistic medium, in a sense that it could surprise you [Ghent interrupting: Yes, absolutely.] and come up of things that you would not always think of, so I would certainly agree with that point. Also I mentioned too, in terms of the art, working the technology, the force feedback work that I did, the basic idea for doing that, the stimulus for that was Maurice Constant, yes, was an animator from Canada, who came down to visit Bell Labs. And was saying, wouldn't it be great if the animator or the artist would reach into some sort of box and just sort of feel some object and shape and form it, and that's the way the communication would occur. I remember sitting in that audience, I even see myself now in the conference room, I even know where I was sitting, when I suggested that, and I said good god, could we do that? And that's how the idea came up, the stimulus to say, could I do that? So the artist had suggested that. Anyway, I encourage anybody in the audience, there's plenty here, reprints of this paper that talk about my early days and some of the stimulation and what was going on in that environment. Pick up a copy, they're free to take.

Spivack:

The earliest and most interesting example of collaboration by an artist and engineer that I'm familiar with is that with, by Leonardo da Vinci and himself. And that seems to me that what we're really talking about is simply creative ideas. And that what we have to do is we're becoming an interdependent world, that's international in scope, and where people have many, many different ideas that they can share is to gain from one another's creativity. I think that what Billy did was remarkable in getting people who had, had maybe never seen anything as wild as what was going on in that outside art world, to suddenly move from a laboratory into that kind of domain. I think all the thinkers here were some of the most creative experiences I've ever had, just walking into their rooms each time, or any of the people in the Laboratories, each time it was an extraordinary collaboration. I think if you're with creative people, you are automatically collaborating all the time and transforming yourself and somehow, how you see the world. I just wanted to end with something which has to do with people who weren't able to be here today. Lillian Schwartz, who certainly has been one of the great collaborators and is one of the active people, was unable to make it today, and we are, are certainly sorry that she wasn't one of the panelists here. She would have liked to be here. John Pierce, because of various difficulties in travel at this point, was unable to make it, he would have certainly liked it. As well as the head of Bell Laboratories, Bill Baker. In addition, Bela Julesz, who was one of the extraordinary creative human beings in the Laboratories, also was unable to make it, but we've talked with him about having a special session with him and some of the 3D people. So I'd like to thank certainly all those people who are not here, the people who certainly came for this extraordinary panel, and this whole audience for participating in certainly what's been, I think, a certainly enjoyable event for us. And I think Ken has something to add.

Knowlton:

May I confess something?

Machover:

Confess?

Knowlton:

Yes.

Machover:

Wow.

Knowlton:

This has to do with what you said. OK? I confess that it has happened on — actually several occasions, that somebody has come to me and seen something that I did, and said, what's that, and I would say, that's a bug. This was supposed to be such and such, and the person would say, “that's beautiful.” I said, I was trying to do so and so. “No, that's beautiful.” And I would look at it and say, well, maybe it is. [Laughter]

Machover:

Let, let me just thank everyone on this panel, Doree, Billy, Laurie, Ken, Mannie, Mike, and Jerry. These people are extraordinarily articulate and I think did a marvelous job of sharing with us what the Golden Days of the Labs were and what they are now. I, I would make just one observation in closing. I think that a few years ago, I was involved with something called the Pratt Center for Computer Graphics and Design. And if you think back about 10 or 12 years ago, one of the issues that the technologists and marketeers were worried about was how do we get people who are artists to make use of this technology? There was a sense from the technologist that the artist was resisting the technology. And in fact, we wanted to create a panel session at one of the conferences on, essentially putting our arm around the artist's shoulder saying there, there, it's not too bad. And what we found, and I think in a sense, may pinpoint why the Bell Labs was so successful, is that the artist had an enormous drive to use this and couldn't afford it. But the technology can, and 20 years ago, simply wasn't available to the individual artist. And the kind of environment Bell Labs provided was to provide these resources, was something that was available nowhere else. Today, those resources are widely available, and it may well be that one of the reasons that the Bell Labs are taking a different role is that they're filling a different need. I think these folks have done a marvelous job, I'd like to –

[Applause]

We'll run some videos for those of you who'd like to stay for a while. The reception is — come again, where? Okay, thank you very much, and I'll have each of you who have the videos, tell us what it is you are seeing okay?