Norman White: Splish Splash One and Splish Splash II

  • ©, Norman White, Splish Splash One and Splish Splash II
  • ©, Norman White, Splish Splash One and Splish Splash II


    Splish Splash One and Splish Splash II

Artist(s) and People Involved:




    Splish Splash One: Model-unit for a larger kinetic light mural commissioned for the CBC building in Vancouver, plexiglass, bulbs, electronics (1974) Collection of the Vancouver Art Gallery, Purchased from the Electric Gallery, Toronto, VAG 74.84. Splish Splash II: Aluminum, polycarbonate plastic, incandescent bulbs, and custom electronics, 8 x 40 ft. (1975) . Located in the CBC building, Vancouver.

Artist Statement:

    Splish Splash One is a prototype for a light mural commissioned in 1974 by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for the foyer of its Vancouver offices. The mural simulates raindrops falling randomly on the surface of a quiet pond. Still functioning, Splish Splash Two dominates the audience lounge at CBC, providing a simulated natural environment for its users. The modest Splish Splash One is just one of a number of artworks dependent on a cellular automaton, a light/logic grid in which each cell is programmed such that it is off or on within its neighbourhood of cells in order to create a pattern. John Conway’s Game of Life (1970) exploited the evolutionary nature of this particular automaton. Norman White, however, had produced a similar logic machine/art work, First Tighten Up on the Drums, for his 1969 submission to Some More Beginnings, the E.A.T. exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum. First Tighten Up on the Drums was a germinal electronic media work for White, and Splish Splash One provides a second iteration of White’s foray into cellular automata. It is the first of many works that explore the wonder of basic electronics and, in this case, offers the audience an enchanting experience as they watch its hypnotic flickering surface.

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