'Return to Square (a)' lithograph by members of the Computer Technique Group in Japan, 1968, published in London by Motif Editions. The portrait composition features a profile female head, in black, facing left, produced by a series of concentric outlines emanating out from a square at the centre.
The original plotter drawing for the lithograph was created by members of the Computer Technique Group at the IBM Scientific Data Centre in Tokyo. The idea was by Masao Komura and the programme by Kunio Yamanaka.
From a set of seven lithographs by different artists published to accompany the exhibition Cybernetic Serendipity at the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in London in 1968. Motif editions produced the set to sell to visitors at the ICA, and when the exhibition toured to the USA. It was intended to highlight some of the most interesting and iconic paper-based works in the show. The portfolio of lithographs includes works by the Computer Technique Group, Charles Csuri and James Shaffer, William Fetter, Maughan S. Mason, Donald K. Robbins and Kerry Strand. The artists used various systems and technologies to produce them, often relying on large-scale military equipment.
Cybernetic Serendipity, curated by Jasia Reichardt, was a seminal moment in the history of computer-generated art. It was the first international exhibition in the UK devoted to the relationship between the arts and new technology, featuring over 130 participants including composers, engineers, artists, mathematicians and poets.
Its aim was to present an area of activity which manifested artists' involvement with science, and scientists' involvement with the arts; particularly the links between the random systems employed by artists, composers and poets, and those involved with the making and use of cybernetic devices. It attracted national and international attention, and over 60,000 visitors at the ICA. Some participants in Cybernetic Serendipity went on to found the Computer Art Society later in 1968, which still brings together computer artists in the UK.
The book published to coincide with Cybernetic Serendipity featured the following information about this artwork:
"Return to square (a)
A computer metamorphosis. A square is transformed into a profile of a woman and then back into a square.
Idea by Masao Komura, programme by Kunio Yamanaka (CTG) (p.75)
It also described a related image:
"Return to square (b)"
One of two works on this theme. Return to square 9 (a), however, is programmed according to an arithmetic series, and this one is programmed according to geometrical progression" (p.75)
- Object Number:
overall (lithograph only): 764 mm x 507 mm
- visual and verbal communication
- planographic print
- Computer Technique Group
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