Masao Kohmura

Basic Info

Name: Masao Kohmura
Country of Origin: JP

Description

Masao Kohmura is a Japanese video artist and c0-founder of the Computer Technique Group (CTG), a group of student artists and engineers active in the 1960s which produced seminal works of computer art.

Kohmura was born in 1943 in Tokyo, and studied at Tama Art University. While there, a chance meeting with Haruki Tsuchiya led to the organization of CTG, a group dedicated to computer art, in December 1966. The group’s activity in the next years was prolific: from their office in downtown Tokyo, they managed graphic design works and sold art to galleries, while also operating as a think tank for computer analysis and aesthetics. By 1969, the group parted ways. Tsuchiya explained CTG’s dissolution in the leaflet Good-bye, Computer art!: “My primary interest is in ascertaining the significance of art for human beings and how it is being realised in our society. This may be an exaggeration, but I say that computer art is a revolt against the whole of technology….It has become a thing of the past for me.”

Of the group, only Kohmura remained active as a computer artist. His work centers on utilizing computer-generated random number sequences as a way to investigate the possibilities of algorithmic art. Kohmura and the CTG were a part of the early wave of computer artists looking to demystify art and explicate it through the digital space. Kohmura proposed that true art was the discovery of a system, akin to a language or grammar of art, and his works explored the limits of this system.

Kohmura later became an influential art professor in Japan, working at multiple universities. When he began his teaching career in the late 1970s, there was no model for teaching media art or computer graphics: he was a pioneer in the instruction of these subjects, teaching students programming as an expressive tool and examining the role of computer media in art and theory. Kohmura believed that all students should learn programming and the basics of computer hardware in order to master media literacy, regardless of their own specialties.

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