Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design
AUTHORS: DANIEL CARDOSO LLACH AND THEODORA VARDOULI
Reveals the history of numerical control and computer-aided design technologies using rare images from institutional archives and personal collections, including photos, films, and interactive reconstructions.
Seventy years or so after their appearance on radar screens and oscilloscopes in the wake of World War II, computational images seem about ready to fade into the background of our collective consciousness. They have come to undergird not only vast swathes of the contemporary visual culture — for example through film, software interfaces, games, and mobile media — but also accompanied disciplinary transformations and realignments in fields as varied as art, design, engineering, and architecture, where they have become the sites of new forms of technical work, as well as the prompt for new theorizations of their practice. Glimmering on screens small and large, lurking in the background of algorithmic machineries, and shaping the intellectual life and embodied labors of practitioners across multiple domains, they appear as ubiquitous brokers of the present. And yet, while their allure has made them inescapable, their omnipresence has made them almost invisible.
Computational images are ambivalent, and resist essentialist definitions or reductive analog-digital divides. They are symbolic as well as physical; constituted both by numerical abstractions and the electro-mechanical contraptions required for their display. They are social as well as technical; their histories and politics closely intertwined with the militarism and economic anxieties that shaped the second half of the twentieth century — and with the more recent softwarization of everyday life. They are formal as well as informational; at times devices for creative expression, at times stalwarts for functional or financial rationality. They are conduits for a widespread aesthetics of personalized entertainment and consumption, but also the locus of critical redefinitions of human agency in artistic and humanistic registers.
Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational Design is an exhibition examining the twentiethcentury emergence of new methods for representation, simulation, and manufacturing linked to computers, and reflecting on their contemporary repercussions across creative fields. It originated at the Miller Institute for Contemporary Art at Carnegie Mellon University, United States, in 2017, developed by Daniel Cardoso Llach, Associate Professor of Architecture, Carnegie Mellon University. In 2021, an expanded version of the exhibition at the Centre de design de l’Universit. du Quebec, Montreal (UQM), Canada, included materials from the history of computational design in Canada newly researched by Theodora Vardouli, Assistant Professor, Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University, as well as a selection of contemporary works by Canadian computational designers, architects, and artists collaboratively curated by both authors. This book documents this ongoing curatorial and research project, which also includes a series of essays by guest contributors, and a series of conversations and interviews with historical figures and contemporary practitioners.
“Illuminates the origins of numerical control and computer-aided design technologies through hundreds of previously unpublished or rarely seen images drawn from institutional archives and personal collections including photographs, films, and interactive software reconstructions.”
“First comprehensive analysis of water-based infrastructural challenges across the Mekong, Mississippi and Rhine river basins.”
G. E. KIDDER SMITH BUILDSProject type
New Investigations in Collective FormNeeraj Bhatia
WAY BEYOND BIGNESSProject type
Designing the Computational Image, Imagining Computational DesignDaniel Cardoso Llach and Theodora Vardouli
Living + Dying INbetweenPeter Zweig
Silt Sand SlurryRob Holmes, Brett Milligan, and Gena Wirth
The Landscape ProjectProject type
Environmental Activism by DesignColeman Coker, Sarah Gamble, Katie Swenson , and Thomas Fisher
Johnston MarkleeBenjamin Wilke
Impossible and Hyper-Real Elements of ArchitectureCarl Lostritto
Architectural Ceramic Assemblies Workshop VLaura Garofalo and Omar Khan
Concrete ApproximationsOliver Ottevaere
Project ArchiveNamrata Dhore, Sofie Kusaba, and Christina Truwit
Landscape ApproachDr. Shelagh McCartney, Samantha Solano, Sonja Vangjeli, & Hannes Zander
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