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Photograph - Oscillon 40

Oscillon 40

  • Object:


  • Place of origin:

    United States (made)

  • Date:

    1952 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Laposky, Ben, born 1914 - died 2000 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    C-type photographic print

  • Credit Line:

    Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case RACK, shelf EXP

This photograph was created by artist Ben Laposky in 1952. Laposky used an oscilloscope to manipulate electronic waves that were then displayed on a fluorescent screen. The waves would have been constantly moving and undulating on the screen, but there was no way of recording these movements on paper at this time. By photographing them, the artist was able to capture these images and record them for history.

Laposky photographed different combinations of these waves and called his images 'Oscillons'. The earliest photographs, such as this one, were black and white, but in later years the artist used a filter in order to produce striking colour images.

Oscilloscopes are used in many different disciplines, including medicine, engineering and telecommunications. Laposky used an analogue oscilloscope, in which the electrical signal is recorded as a wave.

Physical description

Black and white C-type photographic print of electronic waves displayed on an oscilloscope.

Place of Origin

United States (made)


1952 (made)


Laposky, Ben, born 1914 - died 2000 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

C-type photographic print


Height: 20.3 cm, Width: 25.1 cm

Descriptive line

Ben Laposky, 'Oscillon 40', C-type photographic print, 1952.

Labels and date

Ben Laposky 1914-2000
Oscillon 40

Laposky is regarded as one of the forefathers of computer-generated art.
He used long exposure photography to capture the electrical signals that were displayed on the fluorescent screen of an oscilloscope. Laposky invented the term 'oscillon' for the electronic abstractions he created. [42]

C-type photographic print
Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince
Museum no. E.958-2008 [07/12/2009 - 20/06/2010]


Photographic paper


Photography; Electronic imaging


Photographs; Computer Art


Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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