Computer Artist

Very early in his career, Mallary came into contact with the art-and-technology ideas of the Mexican muralist David Alfaro Siqueiros, who had been advocating a technical revolution in the plastic arts since about 1932. During a visit to New York in 1936, Mallary met Roberto Berdecio, then a disciple of Siqueiros, who introduced him to the airbrush and Duco paint. In the forties Mallary researched the patent literature on three-dimensional projection and developed a critique of stereoscopy, which he held to be no answer to the ultimate problem of an effective three-dimensional projection medium. He continues to argue that a breakthrough in three-dimensional projection (at present the hologram looks promising) will finally provide the answer to an authentically kinetic and versatile polychrome visual art. In the late forties he developed his idea of sequential contour projection as an approach to 3-D image formation and in 1951 exhibited a device, called a Stroboplane, to demonstrate its feasibility, at least in principle. In the late forties he also experimented with liquid monomeric plastics, including polyester and acrylic, as well as fluorescent colors. In this same 1951 exhibition in Los Angeles he also displayed a series of luminescent sculptures illuminated by blacklight, made with fluorescent colors and convoluted acetate sheets. In the fifties and early sixties he continued to use polyester for his relief and assemblage constructions. In 1967 he returned more explicitly to his art-and-technology interests and began to experiment with computer sculpture. To do this he updated his early ideas on sequential contour projection and applied them to the problem of computerizing sculpture. The computer sculpture program he has developed with his collaborators is called TRAN2, summarized in the following abstract:

“TRAN2 is a computer graphics program with twenty sub-routines to generate sculpture. The program presupposes a means of compiling form description data for use by the computer. This is done by breaking down the solid into a regular series of parallel cross sections, or contour “slices,” which are then graphed and digitized as X, Y and Z coordinates and transferred to punch cards. A sequence of mathematical transformation procedures is brought to bear on the contour sections whereby the computer, in effect, models and reshapes the contour sections into an original sculpture. The computer plotter reproduces a series of perspective views of the generated form together with a complete set of the transformed contour sections. These are used as patterns to complete the sculpture in some appropriate material.”

Mallary thinks of the computer as an intelligence and information amplification device which will be linked synergistically with the unique, creative capacities of the human mind for performances, intellectual and creative, surpassing either human or machine capabilities functioning separately.


Luminous Mobiles

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Quad II

Quad II


Quad III

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