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Title: The MONIAC and the Arts
Authors: Burbano, Andres
Keywords: MONIAC
Early Computers
Fluidic Logic
Issue Date: 18-Oct-2017
Abstract: In the relationship between early computers and the arts, there are eccentric examples that illuminate the intricate complexity of such interaction. A paradigmatic example is the MONIAC analog computer, since, on the one hand, it shows that computation is not necessarily related to electricity, and, on the other hand, because its impact in the art world has been manifested several decades after the machine was operational. The MONIAC was a unique computer as it worked with water circuits or more precisely with "fluidic logic." The “Monetary National Income Analogue Computer” was designed and constructed by New Zealander LSE doctoral student Bill Phillips in 1949 with the aim to perform calculations about the national economy in the UK. This machine was not produced in series, and only around ten machines were made, some of them were distributed to different parts of the world from the UK to New Zealand, from Australia to Guatemala. In recent times there are two projects from the art world that propose re-interpretations of this machine. The first one is the installation made at the California College of Arts about the arrival of the MONIAC to the Central Bank of Guatemala entitled "Tropical Economies," and the second one was the fact that in 2003 New Zealand decided to exhibit the MONIAC itself in the national pavilion at the Venice Biennale. In my opinion, these two examples show how a retroactive interpretation of this machine at the symbolic level is inspiring and necessary.
Appears in Collections:1. Re:Trace Conference - Keynotes, Papers & Posters

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