viznut's amazing discoveries

[2007-09-27]

Whitney's Catalog is on Youtube!

Some months ago, I was reading Gene Youngblood's book "Expanded Cinema" and studying the early history of computer animation.

At that time, I was frustrated that I couldn't find on-line versions of any of the pioneering films anywhere, except for still screenshots and a short Youtube clip of James Whitney's "Lapis" (which already seems to have been removed from the site). I don't really understand why these have been so difficult to find. Is no one interested in the history of weird moving visuals? Are the copyright holders too selfish about their rights? Does some secret organization consider these films too dangerous? I can't find any DVD anthologies either.

Now that I regoogled, however, I noticed that someone named "crystalsculpture2" had uploaded John Whitney's 1961 shortfilm "Catalog" on Youtube. Now, this is something I was looking for on the first place.

I'm quite surprised how much the visuals of "Catalog" resemble a modern-day demoscene demo, despite having been made nearly half a century ago with a mechanical analog computer and not even rendered in real time. Anyway, the purpose of "Catalog" seems to have been to demonstrate what Whitney was able to do with his one-of-a-kind machine, and this may also explain a lot of similarity in the visual esthetics.

I'm still looking for John Stehura's Cibernetik 5.3, however.