The Computation Center at Madrid University
My paper is a contribution to the history of peripheral pioneer art &
technology centers (non-located in the Anglo/American/German sphere).
In 1966 Madrid University and IBM set up a ground-breaking computation
center in Madrid (Spain) where an interdisciplinary team of mathematicians,
physicians and technicians tried to find new fields for automatic computers,
working together with professionals from different domains (architects,
philosophers, linguists, artists, etc). Those scientists and experts were
deeply interested in researching jointly language processes from diverse
scientific and humanistic perspectives and implemented objective and systematic
work methods to reach that goal. They initiated, among others, three relevant
annual study workshop/seminars, where they explored together possible
links and ways of collaboration between cybernetics and computer science
and other disciplines as linguistics (“Mathematical Linguistics”),
architecture (“Automatic Generation of Architectonic Spaces”)
and visual arts (“Analysis and Automatic Generation of Art Forms”).
However, their interests were not well understood at that time. In particular,
this last seminar had to face multiple critiques from different sectors
in Spain. My paper is about the history of this computation center at
that time, its innovative work and research methods, its results, its
role in an international context, and the debates that generated about
the interaction between art, science and technology at that time.