"Where is the Art?"

This is the resources page for Andy Piper's talk on the history of Computer Art, pen plotters, and more.

Computer Art has a rich and diverse history from the 1960s to today. Here are some links I recommend for you to explore further.

👤 About me

Links to things I've been working on in this space. Follow me on Mastodon for more, or to ask questions.

🎞️ Some plot videos

🛠️ Make Something!

There's a huge array of technologies available, both hardware and software. This is a non-exhaustive list of things to look into, I'm happy to suggest even more!

  • DrawingBots is the "motherlode" for content!
  • AxiDraw was recently acquired, but should continue to be manufactured under a new name. The support is fantastic.
  • Whiskers is a Rust framework for generative art.
  • Processing is a creative coding development environment.
  • vpype is a self-described "Swiss Army knife for creating, modifying and/or optimizing plotter-ready vector graphics".
  • OpenProcessing is a community where you can explore and learn p5.js.
  • TurtleToy is a minimal JavaScript turtle graphics environment.
  • DrawingBotV3 is a desktop application for image processing for plotters.
  • Chiplotle is a Python library for talking to vintage HPGL plotters like my Roland DXY-1100.
    (also: can we take a moment to admire this name for a software project... 🫶🏻)

🖼️ Museums and exhibitions

Physical places where you can explore computer art today.

🖋️ Contemporary artists

A short list of just a small number of talented contemporary artists using pen plotters: data driven, generative, AI-adjacent, retro, and more.

Look out for social media content with the hashtags #penplotter, #plotterart, #plotparty and #generativeart to discover more. Take a look.

📚 Reading list

Books and articles for further reading.

  • 📄️ "There Should Be No Computer Art"
  • 📄️ "The Algorists" - containing substantial information about the "original" 1960s cohort of computer art pioneers.
    (i.e. Csuri, Franke, Hébert, Kawano, Mohr, Molnár, Nake, Nees, Verostko, Wilson, Zajec; also, Cohen)

Hébert Algorithm
    if (creation && object of art 
        && algorithm && one's own algorithm) {
            include * an algorist * 
    elseif (!creation || !object of art 
            || !algorithm || !one's own algorithm) {
            exclude * not an algorist * 

⁉️ About this page

I made this as a static single page resource, using Glitch.

The page design intentionally mimics the slide template used in the associated talk.

The header font - that I also also used in my talk - is Orbitron, an OpenType font analogous to EMSOsmotron, a single-line, easy-to-plot SVG font suitable for use as a Hershey font (available from Evil Mad Scientist Labs, makers of the AxiDraw).

Remember: pen plotters need vector line art! Single line fonts are much simpler to plot than traditional typefaces, which need to be outlined or hatch filled. 🎓