The computer animations by the American Lillian Schwartz are transcendentally beautiful vistas straight onto the deepest stratum of our collective psyche. At first sight, their nervously shaking geometric movements and extravagant colors seem to jump up from the cosmic notepad of some egomaniacal expressionist, or culled from a direct video stream from Timothy Leary's empirical LSD experiments. Yet her refined work differs from the formalist tradition of abstract film because of its utilitarian background: Schwartz' most significant work has been done in the field of "scientific visualization". The animations screened in Avanto date back to the 1970's, the stone age of computer history. These days you can come up with seemingly similar abstract moving clips on your laptop while you wait for the bus, but back then it was very hard to make computer-generated images without the backing of a major corporation. Was all this just made-to-order product development dictated by the forces of market economy - or cunning infiltration into the machinery of a megacorporation? Schwartz' frantic work refuses to give an unambiguous answer for modern audiences.
Gregory Kurcewicz: A Beautiful Virus in the Machine