The iotaCenter’s YouTube Channel

The Los Angeles-based iotaCenter, an organization “devoted to Abstract Cinema and Visual Music,” now has a YouTube channel where a number of otherwise unavailable films can be seen. These include Len Lye’s pioneering experiment in cameraless animation: A Colour Box; this was his first film in which he painted directly onto film, a technique process which today is more closely identified with Norman McLaren. The film was made in 1935, but John Grierson later arranged for the GPO Film Unit to reissue it in 1937 with a blurb for the General Post Office appended, which is the version posted above.

Below is Permutations (1966), John Whitney’s lovely computer/optical printer film done at UCLA under a grant from IBM. Whitney is one of the true pioneers of computer animation, whose work is probably most familiar from the digital graphics created for Saul Bass’ title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958); among Whitney’s disciples was Bob Abel, whose Robert Abel and Associates famously worked on Tron (1982).

Author: Harvey Deneroff

Harvey Deneroff is a Los Angeles-based independent animation and film scholar specializing in labor history. He formerly taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and was editor of Animation Magazine, Animation World Magazine, and Graiffit (published by ASIFA-Hollywood). He is the founder and past president of the Society for Animation Studies.

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