Manfred Mohr, P-197pz, 1977–87, ink on paper, 29 x 29".

Manfred Mohr

bitforms gallery

Manfred Mohr, P-197pz, 1977–87, ink on paper, 29 x 29".

Though he is one of the pioneers of digital art, Manfred Mohr has remained on the margins of its histories. This compact exhibition—a retrospective in nuce—goes some way in bringing him to the fore. Roughly forty years have passed since “Une esthétique programmée” (A Programmed Aesthetic),” 1971, Mohr’s landmark exhibition of computer-generated art. Held at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the show featured a magnetic tape drive and computer plotter machine—programmed by Mohr—that executed algorithmically determined drawings in real time. Long before the computer had been rendered personal, Mohr’s practice wrested it to new ends.

“What do you think about aesthetic research carried out with the aid of a computer?” prompted a large placard installed in that show, on which viewers were encouraged to record their reactions. The palimpsest of witticisms

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