The father of digital art and computer animation, Charles Csuri began experimenting in computer animation in 1964 using the FORTRAN programming language. With a background in painting, he has devoted his career to exploring digital art and has directed groundbreaking research in computer graphics. His famous film Hummingbird is part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA).

Website of Charles Csuri:

Grant Town, WV (USA), 1922

A decorated World War II veteran, Charles A. Csuri completed his M.A. degree in Art at the Ohio State University in 1948 and joined the faculty of the Department of Art the following year. He began his artistic career as a painter, exhibiting his work in New York between 1955 and 1965. In 1964, he started experimenting with computer graphics technology and created his first computer animated films, which received an award at the 4th International Experimental Film Festival in Brussels in 1967. In 1968, the seminal exhibitions Cybernetic Serendipity (ICA, London) and The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age (MoMA, New York) featured his work. Besides his artistic career, Csuri has made substantial contributions to the development of computer graphics and digital art as a researcher. In 1978 he became a Professor of Art Education and since 1986 a Professor of Computer Information Science at the Ohio State University. Between 1971 and 1987, he founded the Computer Graphics Research Group, the Ohio Super Computer Graphics Project, and the Advanced Computing Center for Art and Design, dedicated to the development of digital art and computer animation. He has directed research projects in computer graphics for 22 years, in a variety of fields including flight simulation, data visualisation, computer-aided design, architecture, and visual effects for films, among others. He was also co-founder of Cranston/Csuri Productions (CCP), one of the world’s first computer animation production companies, which produced animations for the major US television networks. Many of his students would later on work on major films at studios such as Industrial Light and Magic, Pixar, and Walt Disney Productions. He is widely recognised as a computer graphics pioneer, his contributions being featured in many essays and dissertations, and in over 75 private collections worldwide. The Smithsonian Magazine described him as the “father of digital art and computer animation.”

Csuri has exhibited his work in numerous art institutions and museums internationally. Some landmark shows in which he has taken part are Cybernetic Serendipity, curated by Jasia Reichardt at the Institute for Contemporary Art in London in 1968, and The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, curated by Pontus Hultén at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in the same year. In the latter, Csuri’s Hummingbird (1967) was included in a program of computer-generated films curated by Ken Knowlton. The film was soon after purchased by MoMA and is now in their permanent collection. The artist also took part in the 42nd Venice Biennale (1986) and has received two Awards of Distinction in the Computer Graphics category at the prestigious Prix Ars Electronica for his works Mask of Fear (1989) and Gossip (1990). Two retrospective exhibitions have explored his artistic career and his main contributions to digital art and computer graphics: Charles A. Csuri: In Search of Meaning, 1948-2000, held at the Canzani Center of the Columbus College of Art and Design in 2000, and Charles A. Csuri: Beyond Boundaries, 1963-Present, which took place at SIGGRAPH in Boston, Massachusetts, in 2006.

Charles A. Csuri Project. College of Arts and Sciences, Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), The Ohio State University. [EN]

Csuri, C.A. (1970). Interactive sound and visual systems. Exhibition catalogue. Columbus: Hopkins Gallery, Hopkins Hall, The Ohio State University. [EN]
–– (1994). Artificial Idiocy. [EN]
–– (1994). Computer Imagery. [EN]
–– (1998). Tactile Kinesthesis. [EN]

Glowski, J.M. (2000). Charles A. Csuri: In Search of Meaning, 1948 – 2000. Exhibition Catalogue. Columbus: Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD). [EN]
–– (2006). Charles A. Csuri: Beyond Boundaries, 1963-Present. Exhibition Catalogue. Boston: ACM Siggraph – The Ohio State University. [EN]