a video presentation


The History of
The History of Line

George Petros, with music by Robert Lund

1992: black marker on bristol board, 4” x 60” (cut into three 4” x 20” strips), shot for reproduction on an Itek photostat machine. The accompanying text, not shown in the video, was prepared via Microsoft Word on a Mac Quadra 605.

2010 additions: black marker and pencil on ten pieces of copy paper, each 11” wide, scanned on an Epson 3170, processed via Photoshop on a Mac mini; scans of new art combined with original art by Paul Horton; art colorized via Photoshop on a MacBook Pro; voice overdubs processed via Audacity; music track by Robert Lund.

In 1992 I created The History of Line for inclusion in my book Exploding Hearts Exploding Stars. It consisted of a single unbroken line flowing through time, twisted into shapes evocative of various art epochs (such as Mesopotamian art, Renaissance art, Surrealism et cetera). My representations turned out to look less like the envisioned flip-book of art history and more like a playful Jazz-Age romp. The following paragraph accompanied the original piece:

“This chart represents the linear intensity of creative expression during humanity’s first developmental period. It begins with the earliest known artistic processes, proceeds chronologically through the major phases of two-dimensional art, and concludes with our near-annihilation at the hands of the Martians. After that event, there were no known phases of creative expression for over a thousand years. All information is derived from George Petros Blows The Whistle On The Art World, one of the few remaining texts from humanity’s historical period.”

For the current incarnation of The History Of Line I jettisoned that paragraph and added a new ending which examines a possible future art history.

Art director and digital documentarian Paul Horton turned the updated piece into a movie which he combined with the soundtrack and credits via Adobe Premiere CS4.

Programmer and digital guru Robert Lund composed and performed the soundtrack on a Roland EM-15 keyboard, feeding its MIDI signals via an M-AUDIO MIDI-to-USB interface to a MacBook Pro, where the resulting MIDI tracks were mixed with the voice-over track via GarageBand.