ELEA 9003

20 Feb
Olivetti Elea 9003 computer, 1959: designed by Ettore Sottsass Jr and engineered by Mario Tchou.

Olivetti Elea 9003 computer, 1959: designed by Ettore Sottsass Jr and engineered by Mario Tchou.

The Elea 9003 was a mainframe 6-bit computer, the first fully transistorised one that was commercially available. ELEA stands for ELaboratore Elettronico Aritmetico (Arithmetical Electronic Computer). About forty were made. Like most early computers it worked less than 50% of the time.

But the reason I’m posting it here is that fifty years on it actually looks more like an interesting piece of contemporary art rather than a  mere machine, especially with the way it’s been photographed here. What a lovely, baffling thing it is. I wish more artists looked at something apart from a very narrow spectrum of old art when they’re studying art or developing (supposedly) their own practice.

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One Response to “ELEA 9003”

  1. Alistair 20/02/2013 at 2:51 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

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