Image of Gallery in South Kensington
On display at V&A South Kensington
Request to view at the Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 514a , Case RK, Shelf 15, Box R

Oscillon 520

Photograph
1960 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This photograph was created by artist Ben Laposky in 1960. 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 were black and white, but in later years the artist used a filter in order to produce striking colour images, such as this one.

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.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
C-type photographic print
Brief Description
C-type photographic print, 'Oscillon 520', by Ben Laposky, 1960.
Physical Description
Colour C-type photographic print of the electronic waves displayed on an oscillscope.
Dimensions
  • Height: 28cm
  • Length: 21.8cm
Gallery Label
  • Chance and Control: Art in the Age of Computers (2018) BEN LAPOSKY (1914–2000) Oscillon 520 USA, 1960 Ben Laposky created his pioneering artworks by displaying electrical signals on an oscilloscope screen, then photographing the results. He could adjust the electronic inputs to alter the waves displayed on the device, creating a huge variety of similar forms. Most of Laposky’s photographs were black and white, but he also used colour filters to produce striking images like this one. C-type photographic print Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince Museum no. E.1096-2008 (07/07/2018-18/11/2018)
  • Ben Laposky (1914-2000) Oscillon 520 1960 Laposky was a pioneer of the computer art movement, producing graphic abstract images as early as 1950. He created this image by photographing the intricate electrical waves on the screen of a cathode-ray oscilloscope, a type of electronic test equipment that allows signal voltages to be viewed on a screen. The pattern is formed by oscillations, the electrical vibrations of light.
  • Ben Laposky 1914-2000 Oscillon 520 1960 Laposky also used photographic filters to produce striking colour photographs such as this one. Like many early practitioners of computer-generated art, he trained in mathematics. Laposky's interest in mathematical phenomena led him to explore the curved forms that could be generated by the oscilloscope. [44] C-type photographic print Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince Museum no. E.1096-2008(07/12/2009 - 20/06/2010)
Credit line
Given by the American Friends of the V&A through the generosity of Patric Prince
Summary
This photograph was created by artist Ben Laposky in 1960. 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 were black and white, but in later years the artist used a filter in order to produce striking colour images, such as this one.



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.
Collection
Accession Number
E.1096-2008

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record createdFebruary 13, 2009
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