[ISEA98] Abstract: John Hyatt – Terror-forming: the Manchester Context


Intro: The Terror Ball
isea98terror is the culmination of a year of electronic anniversary celebrations in Manchester, a critical “grand finale” of the city’s Digital Summer of academic, artistic, and public events. It is fitting that, in the year of our one hundred and sixtieth anniversary, the Department of Fine Arts at the Manchester Metropoli-tan University is hosting this symposium as it has hosted world-changing events and symposia throughout its history, such as the Pan-African Congress of 1955. Our reasons for concentrating on new technology in 1998 lie in Manchester’s history. Manchester, whilst being popularly well-known for its soccer, contemporary music scene, and for being the heart of the Industrial Revolution, was, also, the birthplace of a second technological revolution. Fifty years ago, in June 1948, a universal machine was constructed here which has fundamentally altered global ways of life and given a new context, subject, tool, and medium to practicing artists and scientists. The world’s first successfully operating stored-programme computer switched- on a world technological revolution. A working copy of the Mark I, affectionately nicknamed The Baby , has been especially and faithfully rebuilt by our neighbour the Victoria University of Manchester. It is on public display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester alongside isea98 exhibitions. The Museum is on- the site of the world’s first passenger railway which travelled between Manchester and Liverpool.

  • Professor John Hyatt, ISEA98 Chair, Head of Department of Fine Arts at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK, and Director of the ninth International Symposium on Electronic Art, ISEA98TERROR. Member of the International Board of ISEA (The Inter-Society for the Electronic Arts). John is an artist. After his first one-person show, he came to prominence as the youngest artist selected for The British Art Show of 1986. He has exhibited extensively over the last decade. In 1991, at thirty-two years of age, he became Head at Manchester and was awarded a British Professorship two years later. His practice remains wide and varied. He is also a musician, as lead singer with the legendary Three Johns, and, most recently, an author. His first novel, Navigating the Terror, will be published by Ellipsis (London) in 1999.

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