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Themesicon: navigation pathGenerative Toolsicon: navigation pathComputer Art

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not. Denied the conventional means of exposure via museums and public displays, computer art can seem confusing. Without the benefit of the relevant computer codes, and in the absence of technicians, machines or competent art historians with the ability to read such source codes, only the material artifacts of computer art are visible. [36] What is astonishing about this discontinuity in art history is not so much the realisation that there have been users with artistic interests ever since the beginning of the first electronic calculating machines, but that computer art could not, for a long time, spread as widely as video technology, for example, which appeared at about the same time, or other storage media such as audiotape. The reason for this is not only the complexity of the machines that had to be used and the fact that, at first, specialized personnel were needed to operate them. Restricted access to machines, which in the early days of computers was completely different from what it is now in the PC age, was the main reason why there was little acceptance on the part of the critics. Computers were usually rare and extremely expensive pieces of equipment, and computing facilities offered


work places only for top experts in their special fields. The machines were run constantly in research environments and in critical business domains, where the risk of failure had to be kept to a minimum due to time and cost considerations. In addition, the size of the first machines has to be kept in mind—they occupied entire rooms. The late democratisation occurred after the development of personal computers such as the Altair 8800 (around 1974), the Apple I (1976) or, at the end of the seventies, the Sinclair ZX680 (1979). Computer use spread, especially when the Commodore C64 came on the market in 1982. [37] Despite the availability of the early play consoles, it took some time before there was broader interest in computer hardware. [38] In addition, from around 1970 onward, skepticism towards machines and their role in society grew. The naive belief in the technically possible as a cure and support for the deficiencies in the human condition dissipated, finally leading to an anti-technology, anti-computer stance in political activism. [39] During that period, with the academic field of art history being marked by conservatism, there was no interest in reappraising how technology related to

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