Ken Knowlton, a Father of Computer Art and Animation, Dies at 91

Ken Knowlton, a Father of Computer Art and Animation, Dies at 91


Dr. Knowlton lived in Bell Labs until 1982, experimenting with everything from computer-generated music to technologies that allowed deaf people to read sign language on the telephone. He later joined Wang Laboratories, where, in the late 1980s, he helped develop a personal computer that allows users to interpret documents with synchronized voice messages and digital pen strokes. ۔

In 2008, after retiring from tech research, he teamed up with a magician and inventor named Mark Setducci to create a jigsaw puzzle called Giga Zoo, which could be arranged to resemble someone’s face. “He had a mathematical mind with a strong sense of aesthetics,” Mr Setdocatti said in a phone interview.

In addition to his son Rick, Dr. Nolton is survived by two other sons, Kenneth and David, all from their first marriage, which ended in divorce. A brother, Frederick Nolton; And a sister, Mary Nolton. Two daughters, Melinda and Suzanne Nalton, have also died from his first marriage, and his second wife, Barbara Ben-Nolton, has died.

While at Bell Labs, Mr. Nalton collaborated with many well-known artists, including experimental filmmakers. Stan Venderback, Computer artist Lillian Schwartz and electronic music composer Larry Spiegel. He saw himself as an engineer who helped others create art, as suggested by Mr. Rauschberg’s EAT project.

But later in life he began to create, display and sell his art, creating traditional analog images from Domino’s, Dice, Seychelles and other materials. He realized late on that when engineers collaborate with artists, they become more than engineers.

“At best, they become more complete human beings, realizing that not all behavior is logical, but, at the lowest level, comes from internally defensible emotions, values, and drives.” Written in 2001. “Some eventually become artists.”

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