New Discovery – “WAVES I” by Chris Crabtree Slade Prize winning project

When searching for the provenances of all works by Chris Crabtree in UCL Art Museum’s collection database last Thursday we found out that his work “WAVES I” won a Slade Prize in 1972. For this reason – all Slade Prize winners being represented in UCL’s Art Collection – the work was integrated in the same … Continue reading

A “Supercomputer”

During our meeting with Crabtree, we were discussing the first ‘supercomputers’.  Here is an example of one of the first super computers, built between 1950 and 1954. Reproduced from: Jürgens, C. M., 2009. The Digital Print: A complete Guide to processes Identification and preservation. London: Thames & Hudson.


During our chat with John Crabtree he mentioned the first computer programme introduced to him at Walthamstow College of Art, by Nigel Hitch; Fortran. It was a simple, general purpose programme which John said took 5 minutes to get his head around. Here’s a good old Wikipedia link which explains more.

John Crabtree Day

This morning we had our first meeting with the artist of “Five Tetrahedra” Mr John Crabtree, and what a pleasure it was.  He was informative, insightful, happy to discuss the work and still enthusiastic about many areas including technology and current affairs.  He spent almost two hours with us answering our questions and happily discussing … Continue reading

Design Inspiration

While researching the  Computer Arts Society yesterday, we came across the CACHe Project Archive, an online archive of early British computer art by Birkbeck University. The website seems to be constantly evolving as more material is archived. So far, they have uploaded issues of PAGE, the Computer Arts Society’s bulletin, John Lansdown’s (one of the … Continue reading

Dietrich: The Computer: A Tool for Thought-Experiments

Interesting article (1987) by Frank Dietrich ‘The Computer: A Tool for Thought-Experiments’ The article is heavy with some very interesting theory (notions such as dematerialization of artworks, computer simulations and the relationships between art, human mind and machines), but also contains some case studies of creative work with machines (including the work of Woody Vasulka, … Continue reading

Computer Art Background Information

While we haven’t received a response from Jo Volley and the BBC, we did find an interesting article by Charlie Gere in the Tate Papers on the rise of computer and digital art through the Tate’s online archives. It provides excellent context for Crabtree’s work by detailing the philosophy behind contemporary movements such as Fluxus … Continue reading

New research material

Thanks to Adam Waterton, Librarian at the Royal Academy of Arts, London new research sources on the history of computer generated art in the UK, as well as on Chris Crabtree could be found. To access our updated bibliography please see ‘Resources’ and the correspondence below… Hi Sabrina, This sounds a very interesting project; I … Continue reading

V&A Correspondence

Although we do have two works by Crabtree in our prints collection (catalogue references attached as a pdf)they do not seem to be from the series you are investigating. Having asked around sadly we don’t have anything in the computer art collection by him but we do hold work by other artists who were part … Continue reading

What we already know…

‘Five Tetrahedra’ is a silkscreen print by Chris Crabtree, made in 1974 during his time at the Slade School of Fine Art. It is one of a series of computer-generated images and was given as a gift from another former Slade student, Marc Balakjian. The print is an example of the early use of computers … Continue reading