Springfield, MA, October 27, 2013 --(PR.com
)-- What do you do with the various discarded pieces of antiquated computers? At American International College in Springfield, Mass., the parts have been turned into computer art. Art instructor Laurie Montefusco, with the help of the college's IT, and Maintenance departments, took the assortment of mother boards, parts of clunky scanners, wires, split open laptops, strange coils, printer components, cooling fans and hard drives, and created a unique permanent art installation.
The project began after a visit from Mimi Royston, the Chief Information Officer at AIC. “Mimi came down to the art classroom one morning late winter and said that the one of the storage areas that contained computer parts from the earliest beginnings of our IT department in the attic of the DAR building were going to be cleaned out as part of the renovations that occurred this summer.
Royston said, "Do you think you can do something with the parts?”
"We had some dinosaurs up there," according to Montefusco. "If you ask Mike Plant, a computer technician in the IT department, he could tell you what part went to what computer and what each part did. He showed me a Brother machine in its’ original packaging from 1983.
Montefusco said there were spare parts, and what would qualify as antique computing machines.
“The wizards in our IT department would build and rebuild computers for campus offices from these many parts,” she said.
Montefusco was asked to consider how these parts might be assembled to represent a kind of visual history of the computer on AIC’s campus or the computer itself. "I don’t know enough about the chronology of computer development to accurately depict a historic representation, so I started to gather parts that attracted me. Initially I had little sense of organization of the parts. Instead I was attracted by the different colors and city block-like circuitry of the inner boards of the printers, hard drives, personal computer towers and lap tops. I accumulated a half dozen boxes of various components and tried to find order among all of the disparate parts," Montefusco said.
The Maintenance Department provided some backing boards and then later, upon completion, helped with the installation.
"I considered the space the art would be hanging in. There was enough raw material to use in multiple works of art as a way to ‘declare’ our IT department and help identify the computer lab and the help desk in the basement of the library," she said.
Montefusco made creative and design decisions relative to the color and shapes of some of the parts. “The cooling systems were interesting because I thought they might move with currents of air,” she said. “I had never made kinetic art. Other parts seemed too large and heavy to use in a work of art. Photographing certain of the parts changed my perspective to the circuitry. Through the camera these parts looked like aerial views of futuristic cities," she said.
There were challenges along the way. One of the primary considerations for Montefusco was figuring out ways to unify the very different shapes and colors of the earliest component pieces, as well as some of the later ones, and determine how to unify the numerous works of art for a public space. "What kind of surfaces would be appropriate to the component parts, how could I create reflective surfaces or surfaces that would hold up as a work of public art and how would I secure the parts were some of the questions I needed to consider."
Montefusco worked through the Spring semester 2013 and completed the six individual pieces in July. The exhibit now hangs in the basement of the Shea Library next to the IT Department offices.