2International Networks of Early Digital Arts

Darko Fritz

The histories of international networks that transgressed Cold War barriers and were involved with digital arts in the 1960s and early 1970s are, in many respects, an under-researched subject. The following tells a short, fragmented history of networks of digital art—that is, organizations that group together interconnected people who have been involved with the creative use of computers. Criteria used for the inclusion of these networks are both the level of their international activities and the duration of the network, which had to operate for longer than a single event in order to qualify. Educational networks mostly had a local character, despite the fact that some of them involved international subjects or students, and created clusters of global unofficial networks over time.1

There are many predecessors to today’s international art-science-technology networks, alliances that were primarily science- and technology based but that understood culture in a broader sense. Some of them reshaped world culture regardless of and beyond their primary mission and goals. The brief history and success story of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and its Computer Society may function as a case study of a network’s continuing growth over a century and a half, a dream come true for a capitalist economy. I will describe IEEE and a few other networks of digital arts, using text excerpts from their original ...

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