Computer Technique Group (CTG), Return to a Square, 1969
The Computer Technique Group was a Japanese collective of art and engineering students founded by Masao Kohmura and Haruki Tsuchiya in the late 60’s and partially funded by the IBM Scientific Data Center.
The CTG Manifesto, from 1966 explains:
CTG is an active think tank that takes advantage of well developed electronic computer systems and makes them serve the needs of human beings. We, the post-war generation, have been exploring our place in machine society for all our born days. Living without machines is attractive in its own way in our dreadful age but it is regressive evolution back towards apes, and is different from the creative evolution we are aiming for.
We will tame the computer’s appealing transcendental charm and restrain it from serving established power. This stance is the way to solve complicated problems in the machine society.
We do not praise machine civilization, nor do we criticise it. By a strategic collaboration with artists, scientists and other creative people from a wide variety of backgrounds, we will deliberate carefully the relationships between human beings and machines, and how we should live in the computer age.
They were a bit more business savvy than the average sixties artist collective, operating as a multi-faceted creative and analytical technology studio:
[The CTG] opened up an office in downtown Tokyo and aimed to have two kinds of activities. As a design office, it managed graphic design works and sold art works to galleries. In parallel, it was a think tank with expertise in computer analysis. CTG members often appeared in journals and on TV. Unanimous agreement was a CTG rule and the creative staff for each work were nominated following discussion and copyright is still reserved by all the members even now.
The group was part of several important computer/media art shows of the era, including Cybernetic Serendipity and the Venice Biennale of 1970. However, by that time the CTG had disbanded. Haruki Tsuchiya’s explained this in the groups final pamphlet, Goodbye Computer Art!:
My primary interest is in ascertaining the significance of art for human beings and how it is being realised in our society. This may be an exaggeration, but I say that computer art is a revolt against the whole of technology…. Today, new relationships between engineers and artists are expected for computer art. It has become a thing of the past for me.
The best source of information on the CTG is a 2007 article from The Bulletin of Computer Arts Society, which examines the group and Kohmura’s post-CTG activity. There is a pdf available online.