Technology professor curates Giorgini exhibit

Created on: October 22, 2013

Esteban Garcia, visiting assistant professor of computer graphics technology, has helped make the works of computer art pioneer Aldo Giorgini more well known on and off campus.

“When I first saw Aldo Giorgini’s work I was hypnotized. It was mysterious for me on many levels,” Garcia said. “The algorithmic designs of black and white ripples drew me into an optical effect that was both dazzling and pleasant. As a digital artist myself, I was intrigued by the way he used, or misused, computers to make art.”

Garcia, who specializes in art and technology, is curating an exhibit of Giorgini’s work. Titled "Art and Code: The Aesthetic Legacy of Aldo Giorgini," It will be on view in the East Rueff Gallery, located in the Pao Visual and Performing Arts building, Oct. 28-Nov 8.

“I think that maybe others may be inspired by Giorgini’s work and start thinking about technology as something more than just functional. What I mean is that the artistic process may inform the scientific process and vice versa,” Garcia said. “Aldo’s experimental use of technology led him to contribute to the field of computational hydromechanics. I don’t expect that everybody in the university becomes an artist, but maybe they will at least start to think critically and creatively about technology.”

Giorgini was a professor in the School of Civil Engineering at Purdue. He won several awards and distinctions as an outstanding teacher of fluid mechanics and engineering mathematics at the graduate and undergraduate levels. He once said, "To be technical and scientific does not preclude a concern for the beauty and art of image and form. Architecture and engineering both occupy the same continuum: mathematics can be beautiful, and shapes can be useful."

Once established at Purdue, Giorgini began to dive into his artistic work, combining his technical expertise with computers from his engineering training with his background in the visual arts, becoming one of the first computer artists anywhere. He died in 1994.

Garcia wanted not only to curate this show to interest others in art and technology, but also to create a retrospective of Giorgini’s work and produce something that has never been done before.

“The idea is to create a visual map and chronology of Giorgini’s entire computer art development, from 1973 to 1983, the time when he was most active as an artist. Some of this works have never been exhibited, much less in a comprehensive art retrospective. My hope is that the greater Lafayette community can learn from an important artist that was part of our campus,” Garcia said. “I also would like to create an interdisciplinary dialog between Art and Technology at our University. Aldo was also a notable part of our community and many old timers still remember him, so I hope that they can remember Giorgini through this exhibit. Although his work was not ignored -- his work is in permanent collections of important art institutions -- the majority of his work was unexamined and therefore this show seeks to reveal it to the public.”

Garcia will discuss Giorgini and the show Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the East Rueff Gallery 

See another review and video of the exhibit, from Think Lafayette.

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