Ken Knowlton, a Father of Computer Art and Animation, Dies at 91

Dr. Knowlton remained at Bell Labs right up until 1982, experimenting with every little thing from laptop-generated music to systems that permitted deaf individuals to read through indicator language above the phone. He later joined Wang Laboratories, exactly where, in the late-1980s, he helped develop a personal pc that let users annotate files with synchronized voice messages and electronic pen strokes.

In 2008, just after retiring from tech analysis, he joined a magician and inventor named Mark Setteducati in building a jigsaw puzzle referred to as Ji Ga Zo, which could be arranged to resemble anyone’s face. “He had a mathematical brain combined with a fantastic feeling of aesthetics,” Mr. Setteducati reported in a cellular phone interview.

In addition to his son Rick, Dr. Knowlton is survived by two other sons, Kenneth and David, all from his first relationship, which finished in divorce a brother, Fredrick Knowlton and a sister, Marie Knowlton. Two daughters, Melinda and Suzanne Knowlton, also from his initially marriage, and his 2nd wife, Barbara Bean-Knowlton, have died.

Even though at Bell Labs, Mr. Knowlton collaborated with a number of properly-recognized artists, which include the experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek, the computer artist Lillian Schwartz and the digital-audio composer Laurie Spiegel. He saw himself as an engineer who assisted many others develop artwork, as recommended by Mr. Rauschenberg’s E.A.T. venture.

But later in daily life he started creating, demonstrating and marketing artwork of his own, building traditional analog photos with dominoes, dice, seashells and other materials. He belatedly understood that when engineers collaborate with artists, they develop into extra than engineers.

“In the greatest situations, they come to be additional finish people, in element from comprehending that all conduct will come not from logic but, at the bottommost stage, from intrinsically indefensible thoughts, values and drives,” he wrote in 2001. “Some eventually come to be artists.”

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