DETROIT- In what many
have dubbed the world's first multi-media presentation on July 23rd
1985 at the Lincoln Center in New York, the maverick art legend Andy
Warhol stood on stage using a new computer to paint a portrait of pop
star Debbie Harry in his own unique style. That night the world was
introduced to something entirely new in computing: the Amiga. Prior to
this computers were aimed at a relatively limited audience. The
message was clear: for the first time, an affordable computer was
powerful and flexible enough to be a true creative tool, and user
friendly enough to be used by artists, not just technologists.
Andy Warhol was just the first of many creative people to find that
the Amiga offered entirely new possibilities and new ways of working.
With powerful audio and video capabilities as well as the best
graphical display of the era, Amigas rapidly found a place in the
hearts and studios of many artists, filmmakers and musicians, as well
into the homes of millions of ordinary families. Amigas were used by
Disney and Spielberg, in Babylon 5 and Star Trek. They were found in
television studios around the world, used by Arthur C. Clarke to
create images of Mars, and by NASA to track satellites. They made the
basis for many of the first Virtual Reality systems and provided
interactive displays in countless museums. They've been used to
control laser displays, run theme park rides, and operate stage
lighting systems in the West End and on Broadway.
In the following months after its launch, Warhol acquired a battery of
Amigas and experimented using these computers with the same enthusiasm
as any medium he ever approached.
Until its 2001 discovery, what had only been hinted at and rumored is
that Warhol had actually created a short digital film on one such
computer, probably the first such digital creation by any important
artist. Titled YOU ARE THE ONE, the digital stills were discovered on
a floppy disk among thousands in Warhol’s estate. Long believed lost,
this short masterpiece (20 painted frames) was reconstructed by Arnie
Friedhoff and his team at ITN on a retro-fitted Mac G5 and reunited
with what is believed to be its original soundtrack (also discovered
on another floppy disk marked in Warhol’s familiar scrawl “soundtracks
for imaginary movies, i.e., you are the one”.
Now, after five years of painstaking archival reconstruction, YOU ARE
THE ONE is being debuted for the first time anywhere at the Museum of
New Art (MONA).
However, due to threatened legal action tied to estate disputes and to
its pending seizure, the museum will only be allowed a one day
screening of the film.
“We are so excited at this once in a lifetime opportunity," remarked
Mr Friedhoff, then added sadly: “Yet after this single viewing, I’m
afraid the work will be lost again to at least another generation.”