GEOFF DAVIS | MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS"
The generative art for MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS" was coded by Geoff Davis in 1983 and released on data cassette in 1984 by his Micro Arts Group. The series name, "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS," in quotes references the debate on whether algorithmic computer art is art and the role of human creativity, which still continues today. The title, "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS," was in quotes because they were not individually original but rather generated from original code and were not abstract in the sense of being abstracted from reality; they were code reality.
The series of seven longform generative artworks was distributed by post or directly. In 1985, most of the Micro Arts work was published on the UK's Prestel teletext (like Minitel).
The catalog at the time stated: "A colorful experience for you and your VDU [visual display unit]. These mobile graphics can be color-coded to fit your décor. The order, timing, and repetition can also be controlled, giving a responsive art display to enhance your next dinner or cocktail party, union meeting, or conference."
Davis programmed the seven artworks in MA1 "ABSTRACT ORIGINALS." It had menu controls for color, length, and looping. Davis’ other art releases included conceptual computer art, a SCUM Manifesto animation, slow art (a two-year-long graphic programme), and MA4 Story Generator, which was an "early precursor of ChatGPT" (Georg Bak, 2023).