3D Checkerboard Pattern

Basic Information

Title: 3D Checkerboard Pattern
Artist(s): Donald K. Robbins
Date Created: 1967
Framed Dimensions: 34 x 24.5 x 1 in.

Inventory ID: 1967-20-1


This is one of a set of seven lithographs by different artists, published by Motif Editions in connection with Cybernetic Serendipity, a major exhibition held at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1968. The portfolio includes two works by the Computer Technique Group, plus single works by Charles Csuri and James Shaffer, William Fetter, Maughan S. Mason, Donald K. Robbins, and Kerry Strand. The complete set was acquired by the Museum in 1969, at a cost of £5.

The lithograph is derived from a plotter drawing by Donald K. Robbins. A version of the image also features on the poster for the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibition, plus the cover of the accompanying publication.

The book jacket describes the image as a “3D computer design based upon the four-bug problem…” In essence, this is a mathematical challenge. Four bugs at the corners of a square crawl clockwise at a constant rate, each moving directly towards its neighbour. At any instant the bugs form a square and, as they crawl towards one another, the square both decreases in size and rotates. With the use of cubes and perspective, Robbins has added a three-dimensional element to the “four-bug” image.

At the time when the original plotter drawing and lithograph were produced, Robbins worked for the Sandia Corporation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Sandia National Laboratories were heavily involved in the development of nuclear weapon systems during and after World War Two. Early computer art was sometimes criticised for its reliance on mainframe computer systems that were generally only available to the military and research institutions.



Detail images of the work

More Artworks By Donald K. Robbins

Cybernetic Serendipity (The Computer and the Arts) Portfolio

Set of 7 lithographs Running Cola – Masao Komura, Makato Ohtake, Koji fujino Return To Square – Masao Komura, Kunio Yamanaka Maughanogram – Maughan S. Mason Human Figure – Boeing Computer Graphics The Snail – Kerry Strand Random War – Charles Csuri and James Shaffer 3D Checkerboard Pattern – Donald K. Robbins.