1980s Digital Experiments by Mechthild Schmidt Feist


Still images from computer graphics reel by Mechthild Schmidt Feist (1985).

This summer, the New Museum's exhibition XFR STN (organized with Rhizome's collaboration) has been functioning as an open-access media conservation station; the material conserved as part of this project are steadily being made available on Archive.org. (The project concludes this weekend, with a symposium tomorrow featuring luminaries from the world of conservation as well as computer arts pioneer Lillian Schwartz.)

The latest XFR STN treasure to catch our eye is from Mechthild Schmidt Feist. Feist brought in a number of works from the 1980s and 1990s, including this charming reel of graphics experiments from 1985. The description she provided mentions that at least some of these were created with the Vidifont, a digital video graphics system initially developed by CBS to display onscreen text during the 1968 elections and subsequently developed as hardware capabilities improved. 

While you're at it, also check out the rather hypnotic Stochastic Dance (1992-4), a video of a dance sequence choreographed by RUSH dance according to stochastic principles, with effects added using the Quantel Paintbox (the tool David Hockney used to make his first digital painting).