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Ken Knowlton, a Father of Computer Art and Animation, Dies at 91



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Dr. Knowlton remained at Bell Labs till 1982, experimenting with all the pieces from computer-generated music to applied sciences that allowed deaf folks to learn signal language over the phone. He later joined Wang Laboratories, the place, within the late-Nineteen Eighties, he helped develop a private pc that permit customers annotate paperwork with synchronized voice messages and digital pen strokes.

In 2008, after retiring from tech analysis, he joined a magician and inventor named Mark Setteducati in making a jigsaw puzzle referred to as Ji Ga Zo, which might be organized to resemble anybody’s face. “He had a mathematical thoughts mixed with an ideal sense of aesthetics,” Mr. Setteducati stated in a telephone interview.

Along with his son Rick, Dr. Knowlton is survived by two different sons, Kenneth and David, all from his first marriage, which led to divorce; a brother, Fredrick Knowlton; and a sister, Marie Knowlton. Two daughters, Melinda and Suzanne Knowlton, additionally from his first marriage, and his second spouse, Barbara Bean-Knowlton, have died.

Whereas at Bell Labs, Mr. Knowlton collaborated with a number of well-known artists, together with the experimental filmmaker Stan VanDerBeek, the pc artist Lillian Schwartz and the electronic-music composer Laurie Spiegel. He noticed himself as an engineer who helped others create artwork, as prescribed by Mr. Rauschenberg’s E.A.T. venture.

However later in life he started creating, exhibiting and promoting artwork of his personal, constructing conventional analog photographs with dominoes, cube, seashells and different supplies. He belatedly realized that when engineers collaborate with artists, they change into greater than engineers.

“In one of the best circumstances, they change into extra full people, partially from understanding that each one habits comes not from logic however, on the bottommost degree, from intrinsically indefensible feelings, values and drives,” he wrote in 2001. “Some in the end change into artists.”