Friday, August 15, 2008

an io9 post on John Whitney + Douglas Trumbull filed under Retro Futurism

"Star Gate" sequence by Douglas Trumbull
from 2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick (1968)

from i09 in their wonderful Retro Futurism category comes a reblogged Media Art Histories connection. this connection traces a few points of contact between John Whitney's DIY cam machine, his experimental film Catalog, Douglas Trumbull's Star Gate sequence from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Monoliths (as alien/alien technology) and the mainframes of IBM (as similarly monolithic tools in an artists' residency program at IBM)...

"In the late 1950s, animator John Whitney (perhaps most famous for assisting Saul Bass to create the opening title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo) built a mechanical analog computer using the mechanisms from several WW II anti-aircraft guns. He used the resulting “cam machine” to produce short experimental animated films, releasing a demo reel in 1961 under the title Catalog. 2001 special effects artist Douglas Trumbull saw Whitney’s Catalog and was inspired by the artist's slit-scan technique, using it for the animated sequences in 2001. According to writer William Moritz, Whitney submitted “a proposal for a monolith as a computer-generated effect that would have looked different from anything else in the film. He was turned down.” Nevertheless, Whitney became IBM’s first artist-in-residence in 1966, and is considered one of the forefathers of computer animation."

"How a War Surplus Anti-Aircraft Gun Helped Inspire 2001: A Space Odyssey" - Lynn Peril (1:00 PM on Thu Aug 14 2008)

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