Press Release

CHM Honors Computer Art Pioneer Lillian F. Schwartz With Prestigious Fellow Award

Mountain View, CA  |  November 30, 2021

Lillian F. Schwartz will be presented with the Computer History Museum (CHM) Fellow Award at a virtual event on December 9, 2021 for her pioneering work at the intersection of art and computing.   

The event will bring together luminaries across the art, digital media and tech worlds to honor Lillian’s career, which has been distinguished by her creativity and innovation, courage and perseverance.  

WHO: 
Honoree 

Speakers/Presenters  

  • Refik AnadolMedia Artist in the Aesthetics of Machine Intelligence  
  • Andy CunninghamCohost, Founder of Zero1: The Art & Technology Network 
  • Paul Daugherty, Group Chief Executive Technology & CTO, Accenture 
  • Barbara London, Leading Curator and Expert of Video & Media Art    
  • Dan'l Lewin, President & Chief Executive Officer, CHM 
  • Zabet PattersonProfessor of Contemporary Art & Computational Media 
  • Ken Thompson, Computer Science Pioneer and Cocreator of Unix 

WHAT: 

Lillian Schwartz will be presented with the 2021 CHM Fellow Award for her lifetime of contributions to art and computing.  

Schwartz made her debut on the New York art scene in 1968 with the appearance of her multimedia, interactive sculpture, “Proxima Centauri”, in the now famous Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) exhibition, “The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age.”   

Shortly after, she began a decades-long residency at Bell Labs, the renowned research and development center. During her prolific career, Schwartz created a series of art films incorporating the emergent technology of computer animation, and often scored with fresh developments in computer music.  

Her work has been exhibited by MoMA, the Brooklyn Museum, the Whitney, and many other museums, and her archive is now preserved at The Henry Ford.  

As one of the CHM Fellow Award honorees for 2021, she joins other visionaries such as NASA mathematician and "hidden figure" Katherine Johnson, World Wide Web creator Tim Berners Lee, and software pioneer Rear Admiral Grace Hopper.  

At the event, attendees will have the opportunity to:  

  • Learn about the dynamic interplay between computing and art in the work of Schwartz and artists today.  
  • See selections from her groundbreaking computer art films depicting human experiences from sports to the nature of change.  
  • Hear tributes from technology and art experts.  
  • Meet a contemporary artist using cutting-edge machine learning to explore what it means to be human in the age of AI.    

The CHM Fellow Awards Program honors distinguished technology pioneers—unsung heroes and legends—for their outstanding merits and significant contributions to the advancement of computing and the evolution of the digital age. The program is supported with collecting, education, research, and media efforts that reflect the seminal work of each Fellow and preserves their stories for future generations. Fellows are selected annually through a public nomination process.  

CHM is celebrating the 2021 Fellows in a yearlong four-part series of thought-provoking virtual events and engaging digital content that explores the story and impact of each honoree and the present and future of tech for humanity. 

This year’s Fellow Awards is presented by headline sponsor Accenture. 

WHEN: 
Thursday, December 9, 2021 
5 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. PT 
 

AGENDA: 

5 p.m. PT – Fellow Award Program with hosts Dan'l Lewin and Andy Cunningham  

  • Tributes by computer art experts, including Zabet Patterson, professor of contemporary art and computational media and Barbara Londonleading curator and expert of video and media art   
  • New video stories highlighting Schwartz’s creative contributions to technology and art as well as her courage and persistence to overcome her outsider status because of her class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and disability.  
  • Selections from Schwartz’s groundbreaking computer art films, through a gracious loan from The Henry Ford.  
  • Perspectives and examples of technology and art by media artist in the aesthetics of machine intelligence RefikAnadol.  

5:50 p.m. PT – Fellow Award Presentation  

  • Award presentation by Ken Thompson, Schwartz’s Bell Labs colleague and legendary programmer and cocreator of Unix, C, Plan 9, and Go.   

6 p.m. PT 

  • Award acceptance video from Schwartz.  
  • Audience participation. 
  • Closing remarks by Dan'l Lewin, and a selection from Schwartz's film, "Metamorphosis."  

WHERE: 
This event will be held online in CHM’s virtual venue. Please RSVP to gain access. 

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