Leslie Mezei | i |
last name: Mezei
first name: Leslie
also known as: Laszlo Gabriel Mezei
birthday: 1931
birth-place: Budapest (Hungary)

Canada-based Leslie Mezei is one of the earliest and most influential participants, and a close observer of the North American computer art scene.

He suggested building a network for sharing information about events in computer art as early as 1966, from which a yearly bibliography on computer art emerged, published in the magazine Computers and Automation. He also had a column on the same topic in the Canadian art magazine, Artscanada.

He published in computer science as well as fine arts magazines,thereby emphasizing his claim of “bringing the humanist scholar, the practicing artist and the interested computer scientist together”207.

In the second half of the 1960s he himself started producing works of computer art.

He developed two early graphic programming systems (SPARTA and ARTA), which were organized as FORTRAN libraries of programs featuring graphic primitives and transformations like lines, polygons, rotation, and translation, and more sophisticated transformations, including a random number generator. The later system, ARTA, enabled the use of a light pen as input device as well as keyframe animation.

He brought Bill Buxton, Ron Baecker and Frieder Nake to the Dynamic Graphics Project (dgp) that he started at the University of Toronto.

In the late 1970s he turned away from computer art, “disappointed by the focus […] that many of the early computer art activists took on technology”224.

Without personally re-starting concrete artistic or technical activities, he again became interested in the field of algorithmic art in 2009 upon the 40th anniversary of dgp.


1931 Born in Budapest, Hungary
1940s Comes to Montreal, Canada as war orphan and holocaust survivor
1952 Moves to Toronto
1953 B.Sc. (Physics), McGill University Montreal
1954 M.A. (Physics?), University of Toronto
1955-65 System Analyst and Manager in Toronto
1964 Lecturer at the York University
1965-66 Lecturer at the University of Toronto in computer science
1966 Suggests building an international network for sharing information on emerging activities in “computer art”
since mid 1960s Regular column in the art magazine Artscanada on topics of computer art
since 1966 Starts developing computer art programs in the programming language Fortran for an IBM 7094 computer and CalComp plotter
1966-78 Associate professor of computer science at the University of Toronto
late 1960s Develops SPARTA and ARTA, two graphics programming systems (based on Fortran)
1968-69 Collaborates in Toronto with Frieder Nake who he had invited as a postdoctoral fellow
1969 Founds the “Dynamic Graphics Project” (DGP) at University of Toronto (with Ron Baecker)
1978 Turns away from computer art and academia
since 1978 Working as personal financial planner, writing about spiritual and religious topics (www.interfaithunity.ca).
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