[PART 1:] [Introduction] [Sculpture] [Installations]
[PART 2:] [Concepts] [Resources] [Jno Cook] [Credits]
[PART 3:] [Code Sources] [The Boxes]


Part 2 of the on-line catalog for an exhibition of computers, computer graphics, screen manipulations, installations, sculptures, and sound, titled NO CARRIER, by Jno Cook, dealing with the incursion of computers into our jobs and homes and the effect of the internet, at Beret International gallery in Chicago, 1550 N Milwaukee, Chicago Il 60622 (phone: 773 489 6518), one of the [Uncomfortable Spaces] galleries, From September 6 through October 12, 1996, with an introduction by Amber Baum.

Computer art is the most conservative,
dull, un-innovative art form of the 1980s.
-- Brian Reffin Smith, '89

Conceptual Base

Visual artists who have influenced my thinking:

I have always been attracted to the encyclopedists, from Rabelais to Leonard Cohen. For more on this genre, see..

References on computers and the art process (Thanks to Wayne):
There is an extensive computer culture, framed around programming, dating from the seventies, with a spillover into net culture. See the [On-line Jargon File] to get a feel for the critical and cynical attitudes within this hacker culture, its delight in language, its impatience with bullshit, its sense of humour. A sample definition...
:ACK: /ak/ interj. 1. [from the ASCII mnemonic for 0000110]
Acknowledge. Used to register one's presence. An appropriate
response to {ping} or {ENQ}.
When I don't hear for a spell from my youngest, at college, I send brief email containing only "ping?" If he is too busy to reply, he'll send back "ACK."

Hardware Resources

The computers were donated, but a few EGA monitors I had to pay good money for, like $20. Brock Craft was the largest donor, and without his help I would still be scrounging the basements of Salvation Army stores looking for odd things to take home. Many were cannibalized for cases and power supplies. Almost all the 088 mother boards, and many 286's went into the circuit board curtain, as did *all* the IBM PS/2 (ugh!) designs. That left 12 puters which are operating, three on the operating table, one loaner, and one lender.

Internet Resources

Nick Asvos, perhaps out of gratitude for the Giant Alarm Clock (TM) which I built for him (which wakes up most of the block he lives on), has allowed his Outflux.net service to act as the home for this on-line catalog and the homepage for Uncomfortable Spaces. Nemesis has been the consultant on all Unix programming. In case you are wondering, what you are reading or viewing here comes out of a PC, and is transported by a dialup braindead zmodem link to Columbia College, and then via email and telnet to this location, seemingly as if by magic, but in actuality by means of batch files and Unix scripts.

Software Resources

The installations are operated mostly with the simplest of utilities and batch files. All of these, and all the support files, including the three BASIC programs, fit in half the space of a single floppy disk. The rest of that floppy disk holds all of the HTML, GIF, and JPG files of this Web page.

Most every utility can be found at uiarchive.cso.uiuc.edu or any of the Simtel or Garbo mirror sites. The program files for the various installations are listed in the link below (page 3 of this catalog), and include descriptions of the source utilities. The listing is lengthy, and of no interest to those upon whom the elegance of coding may be lost. It lists code and comments for each of the installations, briefly describes the programs, and lists the mechanics of the boxes. BASIC programs are not listed. To see this stuff, click [here] and you will be transported directly to part 3 of this catalog.

Jno Cook

OK, I'm a visual artist, with an MFA and all that. Probably went that direction cause I was never convinced that rational thought was my forte. OK, so I have an engineering degree too. To get a peek into the psyche of such a person (engineer) look at the following, which was sent to me by Amber Baum. Here is a brief excerpt...

Social Skills

Engineers have different objectives when it comes to social interaction. Normal people expect to accomplish several unrealistic things from social interaction:

In contrast to normal people, engineers have rational objectives for social interactions:

Fascination with Gadgets

To the engineer, all matter in the universe can be placed into one of two categories: (1) things that need to be fixed, and (2) things that will need to be fixed after you've had a few minutes to play with them. Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create their own problems. Normal people don't understand this concept; they believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.


It sounded all too familiar.

I don't have a similar clue-sheet for "occupation: artist." I can only point to the following: I don't like waiting in line, I don't know how to end a telephone conversation, I have a thing with authority figures, I have never been to a baseball game, I don't believe anything on face value, and I feel the need to explore the axiomatic underpinnings of just about everything. That last is my take on Modernism, which, as a statement, probably belong in the section below, titled "Officious Statements Made by the Artist to Serve as Resources for Reviewers and Critics."

Resume - 1994, 1995

See an expanded (current) version by clicking [here]


(didn't have time to list 1996)

- NIU ART MUSEUM, DeKalb, Recycled and Reassembled, 3 person, Oct 94
- BERET INTERNATIONAL, Giant Yard Sale and Other Sculpture, Sep 94
- GROSSMAN GALLERY, School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, Closed Environments, 2-person, curated, Feb 94


- ART CHICAGO 1995, courtesy of Uncomfortable Spaces, May 95
- BERET INTERNATIONAL GALLERY, Chicago, Aesthetic Cranks, Mar 95
- CHICAGO FILM MAKERS Light and Time, curated, catalogue, Oct 94
- 10 IN 1 GALLERY, Chicago, The Uncomfortable Show, curated, Sep 94
- BERET INTERNATIONAL GALLERY, Chicago, The Worst of Beret, Sep 94
- ZOLLA/LIEBERMAN, Chicago Critics Choose Chicago Artists, Aug 94
- ART IN GENERAL, NYC, Little Things, Mar 94
- BETTY RYMER GALLERY, Chicago SAIC, Camera Obscura, Feb 94
- MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY, Chicago, Photographers from the Permanent Collection, Jan-Mar 94


- Amber Baum, student at Bryn Mawr, for enthusiasm, suggesting the title, and for the Introduction to this catalog.

- Adam Mikos, student, Columbia College (Chicago), and TA at the Generative Systems Workshop, for helping with the Faces selection ("look: no contrast; look: no eye contact"), stuffing doll heads, and hanging most of the Faces.

- Ann Marie McGlade, student, Columbia College (Chicago), and TA at the photo department, for cleaning glass, trimming prints, and helping to hang the Faces.

- Bharat Patel, student UIUC (Champaign), for a deal on two EGA monitors and a card.

- Brock Craft, Net Administrator at ISR Inc (Chicago), who donated Firefly, Herodotus, Thucydides, a number of PCBs, and the dwarf computers Happy, Smiley, Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy, Coelecanthus, and another name which I do not recall.

- Bob Montgomery for Wait.com (1989) and Vpic.exe(1988).

- Chuck Reynolds, faculty at the Photography Department of Columbia College (Chicago), who donated various boards and monitors, the motherboards of Tadpole and Spider, and a new CPU chip for Thucydides.

- Clare Martin, Film Maker (Chicago), for the largest single donation of doll heads.

- Cockrowch, hacker (Champaign), for writing some of the fastest utilities ever, and always having spare standoffs, insulators, jumpers, and screws available.

- Claudia George, family member, and Program Administrator at Harold Washington College (Chicago), for putting up with computers which occupied the kitchen, the living room, the dining room, the hallways, and the back porch, and who wrote the delays for the "Gavotte" music for "Rollo Dog."

- Davis Gilbert, president of Electronic Recovery Specialists (Chicago), for extending the loan of a hundred PCBs for the curtain sculpture.

- Diane Kelly, RN (Wilmette), for bags and bags of jars and lids.

- Erik Pennebaker, student at UIUC (Champaign), for carting three monitors to Indiana.

- George Cook, family member and Project Manager at Anderson Consulting (Chicago), for six junk TTL monitors, and DeepFatFryer (which gave up the ghost).

- Gordon E. Peterson, of San Antonio, Texas, for Drvrspkr.sys (1986).

- Harold Scott, master PCB crafter of the High Energy Physics Lab of UIUC (Champaign), for some 200 circuit boards.

- Ira Bodenstein, attorney (Chicago), who donated two working AST 286's called Gude and Pounds.

- Jen Swartz (Chicago), for donating a couple of broken motherboards which were resurrected as the computers Barbie and Ken, and for various Barbie doll head promises.

- Jason Ernst, Net Administrator at Imaxx.net (McHenry), for boards and transportation.

- Jason DeBose, student at Van Stueben HS (Chicago), for volunteering help with cleaning glass, cutting back boards, and hanging the Faces.

- John Rininger, publisher of Catalyst Komics (Chicago), worker in stamps and mail art, for pointers to PCB's which I always got to too late.

- Jon Pounds, president of Chicago Mural Group, and Olivia Gude, visual artist (Chicago), who donated the two PCjrs and Cyclops.

- Jeff London, visual artist, and partner of Sorensen London Design (Chicago), who did the invitation graphics and the color tweaking and who handles all the printed matters for Uncomfortable Spaces.

- Jon Hornstein of Melbourne, Australia, for Talk.sys (1995).

- Jacco M. Hoekstra, Leiden, Netherlands, for Klok.exe (1996).

- John Bridges for Picem.com (1991).

- Jeff Littlefield and Ken Handzik for Solitar.bas (1983).

- Karen Cook, family member (Chicago), who lent Frankenstein, produced endless jars, and for transporting XT's from the hills of Tennessee.

- Kees Cook, family member, and system administrator at Motorola (Urbana), for continued support, enthusiasm, and programming assistance, especially with Unix/Linux systems.

- Kim Ambriz, visual artist and rock drummer (Chicago), who wanted to donate her entire doll head collection.

- Kevin D. Quitt, Van Nuys, CA, for Cadel.com (1990).

- Mary Lee Lally, therapist (Evanston), for amassing jars and finding new pleasure in them before donating them to the cause.

- Mary Signatur, RN (Evanston), for jars and lids by the bag full.

- Mer Pavlok, student UIUC (Champaign), for promising to donate her entire collection of dolls.

- Mike Doubek, System Administration at Lucien.Outflux.net (Chicago) who provided email and net access when Colum.edu was down, and who donated his gig drive to the curtain.

- Ned Schwartz, director of Beret International Gallery (Chicago), for various scrounged equipment, and for having the confidence that I would actually pull all this together by September (yeah, wait and see).

- Nemesis, student (Urbana), who downloaded 2200 Usenet files for "Angry Fruit Salad" on a local 10 mb/sec line.

- Neil Cook (Nashville), for a donation of circuit boards and for putting Jai on line.

- Nick Asvos, System Administrator at Outflux.net (Chicago), for access to this web site.

- Paul Kass, visual artist and carpenter (Chicago), for a printer and the help with preparing and hanging prints.

- OzWoz Software of Victoria, Australia, for Clearkey.exe (1988).

- Peter Cook, family member and surveyor (Chicago), for donating Redeye which is used as backup and a loaner, and for lugging all that stuff up the stairs at Beret (phew! much sweat!).

- Ron Grenko, visual artist and set builder (Chicago), with help during the curtain construction.

- Randy Pavlock, real estate tycoon at Hunter Properties (Chicago), for transporting three monitors from Indiana.

- Richard Breuer, of Aachen, Germany, for Tee.exe (1992)

- Simon Cygielski, photographer and journalist (Warsaw, Poland), for the graphics for "Dum-dee-dum" and a critique of the jars.

- Sam Sistler, Webmaster of Byron Sistler and Associates (Nashville), for donating two 8088 boxes and for shipping materials.

- Prof. Timo Salmi, University of Vaasa, Finland, for Color.bat (1995), scroll.bat (1995), Basename.exe (1994), and Askenv.exe (1991).

- Travis Cobbs of San Jose, California for Setfont.exe (1992).

- Terje W. Mathisen, Oslo, Sweden, for Stuffit.com (1990).

- William Luitje of Ann Arbor, Michigan for Bigtext.com (1993).

- Yossi Gil of Jerusalem, Israel for a Cyrilic font from the collection of 200 or so fonts included in FNTCOLxx.

-and Jessy Berkowich, visual artist (Chicago), for helping take all the stuff down at the closing.

(Installation shot, Adam Mikos) Go to: [part 1] or [part 3]

Website Provider: Outflux.net, www.Outflux.net

[printing and copyright notice]