CoM Interview | Ken Knowlton

Saturday November 21, 2020 
– Live Interview with Ken Knowlton – 

Thank you to everyone who participated remotely. We plan to share this presentation on the G4G YouTube channel after post-production. Stay tuned.

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:

1 thought on “CoM Interview | Ken Knowlton

  1. Kate Jones Reply

    I have had a copy of Ken’s domino portrait of Martin Gardner hanging for many years in my home in a place of pride. A source of joy forever. Thank you, Ken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.