The Personal is Computable: Sonya Rapoport

Sonya Rapoport and Charles Simmonds, detail of Yarn Drawing No.16 (1976), pencil, colored pencil, stamp and thread on found continuous-feed computer paper, 59.5 x 77 inches. Courtesy Estate of Sonya Rapoport.

Computer code, with its streaming zeros and ones, cryptic word clusters and copious punctuation marks, can be perplexing to the point of wonder. It is visually rudimentary yet conceptually vast, complex and full of possibility. Associations between technology and transcendence in art extend back to the early 20th century, when advances in machinery inspired Futurist utopias, for example, and other revolutionary modes of abstraction. In 1973, when Sonya Rapoport (1923–2015) first pulled computer printouts from the recycling bins of the mathematics department at the University of California, Berkeley to use as material for her art, she sensed its potential Read More