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Kathryn Farley, Generative Systems

Interactive Paper Systems

“Software” was an exhibition organized by art historian Dr. Jack Burnham at the Jewish Museum in New York in the fall of 1970. “Software” exposed the public to a wide variety of perspectives concerning the functional applications of information processing systems.

Sheridan termed her contribution to the exhibition “Interactive Paper Systems (1969-1970)” (a), and intended the work to highlight the image-making capabilities of communications technologies.

After demonstrating various graphics processes in relation to classroom instruction, Sheridan offered attendees the ability to experiment with two instruments produced by the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company (3M): the Thermo-Fax machine and the Color-in-Color copier. (1) She hoped that the experience of working with new graphics tools would lead to greater awareness about the creative possibilities afforded by rapid methods of production. In her words, “It is obvious that this work process becomes another kind of time for the artist as the distance from conception to conception is reduced to minutes, and objects change as rapidly as thinking allows.” (2) In addition, commercial imaging tools required minimal training and were adaptable to the preferences of users.

Kathryn Farley © 2007 FDL

(1) In addition to providing the machines for use during the exhibit, 3M also allowed Dr. Douglas Dybvig (the inventor of the Color-in Color machine) and Mr. Don Conlin (project manager) to attend the event and assist Professor Sheridan in introducing the company’s products to the public.

(2) Sonia Landy Sheridan, artist statement, Software Information Technology: Its New Meaning for Art (New York: Jewish Museum, 1970) p. 24.