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 ROMAN VEROSTKO
Transition to an electronic studio

 

Circuit Mind, Tetra Corporation Memorial, 1971.

In August 1968, when I arrived in Minneapolis I was overwhelmed with the  emerging electronic industries in the Twin City area.  The Metro area included  the international headquarters for Control Data, Honeywell and Cray Supercomputer.  In addition,  Univac, along with others specializing in electronic type setting, digital animation, and medical graphics, made Minneapolis an attractive computer center in the U.S.  With the growing influence of  E.A.T. (Electronics Art & Technology),  I was soon drawn into a milieu that was interested in  the relationship between  art and technology. This fit my interests as I continued to build on my earlier monastic  experience programming my electronically synchronized "Psalms in Sound and Image"  (1966-68).  See note 1 below.

In 1969 our new friend, Dr. Piero Morawetz, had undertaken to invest all his assets and energy in founding the Tetra Corporation in Minneapolis. Both he and his wife were active in the Minneapolis art world and we shared a mutual interest in advancing the role of art and culture in emerging technologies.  Piero suggested that we try an informal  collaboration whereby I would help nurture a relationship with art and culture with the Tetra Corporation as it grew.  He invited me to be a "humanistic advisor" to the corporation.  As I recall Tetra had an interest in information display networks that would later replace the manual signage in places like airports.  As I recall it would have been around 1974 that Tetra failed and investors lost everything (note 2 below)  Even so, we all learned a lot through that experience that strengthened our professional life as we also grew. I had saved one of Tetra's circuit boards and mounted it as a piece of sculpture in 1970.  Years later, as my memory of Tetra, I labeled it as my "Tetra Corporation Memorial". 

During that period I had access to the working labs at Tetra where I could visit, observe, interact with engineers, and learn about the industry,  I learned a bit about circuits at Tetra.  That experience led me later to learn  enough about circuits to construct  my electronic "Decision Machines" in honor of Norbert Wiener.   There  were circuit diagrams available for students and I found one that helped me  build the gating circuit for a decision machine.  I acquired the soldering tools, transistors and other parts at a popular electronics store on the North Side of Minneapolis. By the 1980's, with an IBM PC and some experience programming, my studio had become an electronic studio. Looking back now I believe my experience with my Psalms in Sound and Image were the first step towards programming my art ideas in a coded format - from art ideas in mind to art ideas in code

See the Decision Machine Suite:

 

Note 1. My Lovesong, created in 1970, with  a soundtrack created by Daniel Lenz, had an impact when it was presented at Marymount Manhattan in 1967 and later when I presented it for a conference on spirituality at the Yale Disciples House, New Haven (Early in 1968 before departure from the monastery).

 

Note 2. My wife and I were also invested in Tetra

 

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