Freedom, Control and the Computer in 1960s Italy
University of Minnesota Press, 2022
Tracing the evolution of the Italian avant-garde’s pioneering experiments with art and technology and their subversion of freedom and control
In postwar Italy, a group of visionary artists used emergent computer technologies as both tools of artistic production and a means to reconceptualize the dynamic interrelation between individual freedom and collectivity. Arte Programmata traces the multifaceted practices of these groundbreaking artists and their conviction that technology could provide the conditions for a liberated social life.
Lindsay Caplan’s Arte Programmata offers a compelling account of a group of lesser-known artists affiliated with the Italian Arte Programmata movement, whose experimental art and design practices, emerging in the nascent years of computerization, pointedly (and presciently) engaged with political questions around freedom and control, individuality and collectivity. Beautifully written, sharply analytic, and free of jargon, Caplan’s incisive study should find a place on the bookshelves of anyone interested in the roots and impacts of technological change.
— Janet Kraynak, author of Contemporary Art and the Digitization of Everyday Life