|Being Digital 1993|
During the early 1990s the world begins to change and become globally digitized. After growing up with slide rules and multiplication tables I have to adapt to the technological realities of these digital advancements. It isn't easy and most people I know refuse to participate, invoking the most common excuse that the 'Internet Fashion' will be short lived. I refuse to follow that path and begin to learn and integrate the new digital technologies into my traditional artwork. I also join ArtNet.
Our son, Rudi Jr., has become the director of the ABC / Disney New Media Center in New York. He helps computerizing my first multi-media art installation, which I call 'Project Mysterialism.' By extension, It is going to be a part of my series 'Between Spirit and Matter.'
In 1997, I finish my first computer generated short movie by the name of ODYSSEY. My friend Bill Shepard helps me generate it on a SGI computer. It is based upon my artworks and executed as a virtual voyage through the inner space of my mind.
Here is the wording of a letter from Professor Alan Peters, Professor of Electrical Engineering at Vanderbilt University, dated August 6, 1993:
"I am in charge of the computer vision and image processing group in the Department of Electrical Engineering. I am working on a project with Dr. R. Ernst (an artist from New York) in which we are combining art and technology in a fascinating way. We are using techniques from computer vision and real-time video processing together with the more traditional media of painting and sculpture in a unique way. It is our intent to create a seamless blend of the new and old technologies. Highspeed digital computation will add another dimension to the work. But the dimension must coexist naturally with the other elements of the work. To my knowledge, this is the first project of this kind, and it is this uniqueness that attracted me.
"For a computational process to appear natural, it must be extremely powerful. Only recently has affordable technology become so. For example, a Commodore Amiga 4000 computer with a NewTek Video Toaster 4000 is capable of such sophisticated results.
"Dr. Ernst and I have been working together for a while now, and we are hoping to get this project completed by the end of the year. We would greatly appreciate the assistance of Commodore and NewTek with the hardware aspects of the project. I believe that this work will make strong impressions in both the art and engineering worlds and that these impressions will translate into sales for the hardware manufacturers. Sincerely."
The unfortunate reality is that it shall take several more years for this project to finally come to be accomplished, even though both computer manufacturers make significant hardware contributions.
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