On the occasion of Georg Nees’s 80th birthday, the ZKM continues its series on early computer art, inaugurated by an exhibition of the works of Frieder Nake, with this co-operative exhibition organized in 2005 by the Bremen Kunsthalle.
Along with Herbert Franke and Frieder Nake, Nees is looked upon as one of the pioneers of computer art. In 1959, he began to program digital computers. In 1965, he procured for his department at Siemens a table-sized, punched tape-operated drawing automaton constructed by Konrad Zuse, the »Zuse-Graphomat«, which could move a descendible drawing pencil in two right-angled axes over a page of drawing paper. Nees recalls: “There it was, the great temptation for me, for once not to represent something technical with this machine but rather something »useless« – geometrical patterns”. Together with Nake, Nees organized in Stuttgart the first exhibition of computer drawings and described these expressly as »computer art«. At a time when the computer was used exclusively for military and scientific purposes, Nees succeeded in transferring algorithmic thought to art. His independent drawings are accordingly based on the programming language ALGOL and the Siemens computer system 2002 in combination with the »Zuse-Graphomat«.
In 1968, he was one of the first to submit to Max Bense, the Stuttgart aesthetic theorist of information, with a work on the aesthetic categories of computer graphics, entitled »Generative Computer Graphics«.