MA1, "Abstract Originals", ZX Spectrum (1984)

Geoff Davis

"The images were not of actual physical abstract paintings, or from that genre, or originals since the computer generation could go on forever, although the planning and design of each art program was original work. Abstract as an art category does not mean rectangular or geometric, it has an emotional connotation, it implies a departure from figurative reality, an escape. Computer art is a manifestation of an algorithmic mathematical reality. The computer is performing a trick, only just controlled by the programmer, to produce art-like images. Hence the title in quotes.

'Abstract Originals' was intended to create ever-changing ambient background visuals. The aim was to provide a backdrop to whatever you might be getting up to, with no need to manually do anything, as the program had menus to control colour, speed and endless repeats.

The program generated pixels, mathematically creating each shape on-screen, as lines, triangles, blocks etc. (there were no graphics primitives) which were then varied in the drawing process. They gradually built up as the program added elements. Once more or less finished, since there is only an arbitrary stop point, the image was overwritten with black rectangles, which made the image disappear slowly. Then the next one began."

– Geoff Davis

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