1963: Marc Adrain, Text I

Marc Adrian was one of the artists featured in the Cybernetic Serendipity exhibit at ICA in 1974. Prior to this he had constructed films which were based on procedural workings (what he called “methodic inventionism”).

His method eventually expanded into working with text processed by computers. He is considered one of the pioneers of film structuralism; yet also can be considered one of the forerunners of kinetic poetry; the image in Cybernetic Serendipity echoes the Flash-based work that has proliferated in the last decade. Funkhouser discusses the “fluid aesthetic quality”[1] of Adrian’s work and states:

Adrian’ piece is important for several reasons. The ‘computer texts’ are among the first examples of works presented with unconventional ‘syntax’, permutation and aleatoric reordering of pieces of language. [1]

Adrian’s earliest film using text and this hybrid method of computers and film was Text I. 1963, 35mm, b&w/so, 154sec

“The films TEXT I and TEXT II are a mere permutation; TEXT I results from a memory program of a computer. The words were chosen by the challenge that they can be read in English and German alike with no change of meaning.” [2]


1. Funkhouser, C. T. 2007. Prehistoric Digital Poetry: An Archaeology of Forms. 1st ed. University Alabama Press. pg. 95.

2. Canyon Cinema: The Films of Marc Adrian. Available at: http://www.canyoncinema.com/A/Adrian.html [Accessed August 23, 2008].

2. Reichardt, Jasia, and Institute of Contemporary Arts (London, England). 1969. Cybernetic Serendipity: The Computer and the Arts. New York: Praeger. pg. 53.

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