Pratt Raster

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Lecture notes for a genealogy of the raster display at the Pratt Institute, November 2009

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Pratt Raster

  1. 1. >>> Genealogy of the raster display A hundred and fifty years ago, two inventions revolutionised the image: lithography and photog- raphy. Combined in contemporary photolitho presses , large-scale printing of photographs lead us into a new set of mathematised techniques. Refined through fax, TV and digital transmission, our imaging technologies are dominated by grids. This talk traces that history, and asks whether the unacknowledged presence of tiny squares is just a random blip in a chaotic cosmos, or per- haps a structural characteristic of the society we now inhabit: the database economy. Sean Cubitt Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, 11 November 2009
  2. 2. Richard Parkes Bonington (1802-1828) Tour du gros horloge, Évreux Lithograph, 331mm x 245mm (detail of clockface above)
  3. 3. William Henry Fox Talbot, Latticed Window at Lacock Abbey, 1835
  4. 4. Stephen H. Horgan, Steinway Hall, New York Daily Graphic, December 2, 1873: first mass-printed halftone photograph.
  5. 5. Bell Labs Wirephoto, first commercial transmission, New York 1935
  6. 6. The Quatermass Experiment, BBC TV, 1953, dir Rudolph Cartier, scr Nigel Kneale
  7. 7. Cathode Ray Tube Trinitron Mask
  8. 8. LCD sub-pixel
  9. 9. David Q MacDowell (2009), ‘Standards for Graphic Arts - How We Got Where We Are’, Imaging Science and Technology, 24 (4), July/August, Society for Imaging Science and Technology, http://www.imaging.org
  10. 10. ISSUES 1. UNIT ENUMERATION = commodity equivalence, exchangability 2 AVERAGING = biopolitical management of probabilty 3. PREDICTIVE SCANNING = protocological zone => DATABASE ECONOMY
  11. 11. Methodological Principles Consideration - of the actually existing situation in its unique complexity Wonder - at the specific unexpected details, readiness to question previous habits and assumptions Hope - for a ‘difference that makes a difference at some later time’ (Bateson); Ivan Sutherland demonstrating Sketchpad, 1963

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