Computer Culture Emerged in Canada Through Convergence of Unique History and Governmental Policies

June 20, 2022

Transformative instant in artwork and science explored from Canadian point of view in new book

“There is a normal story about how personal computers developed that is centralized around Silicon Valley this creation fantasy of the computer system as a uniquely American cultural and social phenomenon,” said Michael Century, a professor in the Division of Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. “That tale is not completely wrong, but it’s not the entire tale.”

In his new reserve, Northern Sparks: Innovation, Technological know-how Policy, and the Arts in Canada from Expo 67 to the Web Age, Professor Century aspects insights and observations gained as a producer and creator of new media artwork and as a electronic coverage adviser to the Canadian govt. He brings a distinctive viewpoint to the emergence of the digital age established in a specifically Canadian narrative, one particular that revolves close to the social, technological, and political heritage of Canada in the late ’60s through the early ’90s.

“I had this privileged position to appear deeply into the interconnections between the arts and technologies,” Prof. Century mentioned. “I started off to see that the personal computer would become a popular software to make interdisciplinary operate in the arts achievable in unparalleled methods.”

He destinations the starting of his narrative of Canadian electronic tradition at Expo 67, the transformative world’s fair in Montreal when “the nation was encountering a palpable political reinvention along with its centennial celebration, and artists ended up using on the slippery obstacle of defining what it could mean to communicate of a distinctly Canadian society.”

The resourceful sparks from this initial impetus set the stage for what he calls a uniquely Canadian “technological ethos,” whereby rising technologies were being collaboratively shaped and co-invented by experimental artists. Prof. Century further more argues that the improvements manufactured by artists resonated with the political consciousness of the era and were being nurtured by federal government procedures responding to a time of nationwide modernization.

In Northern Sparks, Prof. Century makes use of scenario scientific studies in animation, virtual fact, and software program applications, among the others, to illustrate how artwork, technological innovation, and policy intersected in Canada in a way that is distinctive to this specific period and this certain place.

He ends his analysis in the early 1990s, when the Planet Extensive Website produced the world-wide-web ubiquitous and Canadian cultural politics shifted to regulate to new globalizing pressures.

“This book presents you an in-depth experience of 1 of individuals creative moments in historical past when the artist, the technologist, the scholar, and the policymaker all arrived with each other about a spirit of innovation that coincided with a interval of nationwide reinvention,” Prof. Century stated. “The Canadian story serves as an instructive item lesson currently and for the future, across the array of its broad scope and manifold techniques for mobilizing the arts, plan, and innovation.”

Northern Sparks, the 1st e book from Prof. Century, will be published by MIT Press in June 2022.