Computer Art Festivals


Organized by video artist and documentary maker Dimitri Devyatkin from 1973 to 1975, the Computer Art Festivals were early forums for innovation in media art and computer technology. Funded by the New York State Council on the Arts under the auspices of EAI, the first Festival was held at The Kitchen over two weeks in April 1973. It included over 40 artists, from places as far-flung as New Delhi, Amsterdam, and Czechoslovakia. Emmanuel Ghent, Lillian Schwartz, Ed Emshwiller, Charles Dodge, and Doris Chase were among the artists presenting prescient experiments with computers and music, film, video and graphic sculpture. This festival featured the first public demonstration of the Rutt/Etra video synthesizer. The second festival was held at the Kitchen in June 1974 and featured over 50 artists, including Shigeko Kubota, Nam June Paik, Stan Vanderbeek, and Jud Yalkut. The third and last Festival took place at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York in June 1975. This edition resulted in a TV program on computer art, broadcast on the WNET series Video and Television Review. At each of the festivals, free workshops and demonstrations allowed the public to engage with new computer techniques. Symposia, performances and lectures by participating artists enabled dialogues on the emergent computer arts.