Abstract - Between Form and Concept - The Positioning of Computer-Based Arts in the Late 1960s

Exhibitions as "Software” [The Jewish Museum, New York, 1970] and the "Tendencije" exhibitions [Zagreb, 1968/69/1973] proclaimed relations between computer generated or controlled artworks and specific artistic movements. Jack Burnham, the curator of "Software" referred to conceptual art, the international organization board of the "Tendencije" exhibitions mainly to neo-constructivism, while trying to establish criteria for projects realized with the new technology. Looking at early exhibitions in this field, the paper inquires the different relations proclaimed there. By analyzing central notions like research, software, program and the role of the observer, historical constellations of wishes become visible: with regard to the new technology as well as transformations in the concept of artistic action. The survey might illustrate the preconditions in aesthetic thought, which made the integration of the computer in the art context possible, as well as the reasons, why the computer was accepted as a tool for artistic means with much greater resistance than other technologies like for example video.