Gathering 4 Gardner’s Celebration of Mind is proud to present graphics and mosaic legend Ken Knowlton in a live interview with Mark Setteducati and Bob Bosch.
Ken Knowlton (born 1931) worked for many years at Bell Labs. He’s a computer graphics pioneer whose is particularly known as a digital mosaicist. In 1963, Ken was the first man to fill a movie screen with pixels with his invention of the BEFLIX programming language. He was also one of the first persons to create a computer-generated picture. In 1966, he and fellow Bell Labs researcher Leon Harmon (1922-1983) were experimenting with photomosaic, creating large prints from collections small symbols or images. By scanning a photograph with a camera and converting the analog voltages to binary numbers, which were assigned typographic symbols based on halftone densities, they came up with an image, which the New York Times published in October 1967. It was also part of the earliest computer art exhibitions, The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age, which opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City a year later.
Ken invented and patented in 1983 a method of making portraits from complete sets of dominoes. He also co-invented Ji Ga Zo, a 2011 puzzle in which the user assembles a mosaic from 300 shaded pieces to form a digitized image from the user’s own photograph.
Here is the famous Martin Gardner domino portrait by Ken: