Lillian Schwartz, resident artist and consultant at Bell Laboratories (New Jersey), 1969-2002. During the 70s and 80s Schwartz developed a catalogue of visionary techniques for the use of the computer system by artists. Her formal explorations in abstract animation involved the marriage of film, computers and music in collaboration with such luminaries as computer musicians Jean-Claude Risset, Max Mathews, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Milton Babbit, and Richard Moore. Schwartz’s films have been shown and won awards at the Venice Biennale, Zagreb, Cannes, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and nominated and received Emmy nominations and awards.
Her work has been exhibited at, and is owned by, The Museum of Modern Art (New York), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), The Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Centre Beauborg (Paris), Stedlijk Museum of Art (Amsterdam), and the Grand Palais Museum (Paris). Lumen has collaborated with Lillian Schwartz and curator Gregory Kurcewicz to compile a touring package of these important works. “A Beautiful Virus Inside the Machine” features animations restored to video. “The Artist and the Computer”, 1976, 10 mins is a documentary about her work. Produced by Larry Keating for AT&T, “The Artist and the Computer is an excellent introductory informational film that dispels some of the ‘mystery’ of computer-art technology, as it clarifies the necessary human input of integrity, artistic sensibilities, and aesthetics. Ms. Schwartz’s voice over narration explains what she hoped to accomplish in the excerpts from a number of her films and gives insight into the artist’s problems and decisions.” – John Canemaker

1994 “REFLECTIONS” – 4 Min.

A 4 minute film based on flowing changing images from liquid-like faces to flashing abstract imagery. Music by Jean-Claude Risset.


New pixel-editing techniques extends the psychology of perception and won Schwartz an Emmy. Commissioned by The Museum of Modern Art. Thanks to Richard C. Voss and Sig Handleman at IBM Yorktown, NY. Funded by IBM.

1978 “NEWTONIAN I” – 4 Min.

An illusion of 3 dimensions is achieved by a blending of mathematics and physics to carry the spectator through a new range of audio and visual dynamics. The illusion is further enhanced by moving objects through space such that they are covered and uncovered in encounters with other objects, an expert use of color and a unique musical score by Jean-Claude Risset. University of Marseilles, Opera House – Sidney Australia.

1978 “NEWTONIAN II” – 5 1/2 Min.

This film is strongly rooted in its underlying mathematical structure which forms the basis for the images. The music by Jean Claude Risset is integral to the creation of this concert of space and time. First World Animated Film Festival in Varna, Bulgaria (1979).

1977 “L’OISEAU” – 4 Min 55 Sec.

Music by F. Richard Moore. A single bird in flight is transformed, enhanced and interpreted so as to present a unique visual experience. From its original inception in a 128 frame black-and-white sequence it evolves by programmed reflection, inversion, magnification, color transformation and time distortion into the final restructured film as art. Director’s Choice and Purchase Award – Sinking Creek 1978; Zagreb ’78 International Animation Film Festival.

1977 “BAGATELLES” – 4 Min.

Music by Webern; synthesized by computer by Max V. Mathews and Elizabeth Cohen. Crystal growth by Charles Miller. Animated paints by Lillian Schwartz. Abstract images of frame-by-frame animation with subtle growing effects of crystals are enhanced by polarized colors. IRCAM, Paris.

1976 “PICTURES FROM A GALLERY” – 6 Min 33 Sec.

Music by Albert Miller. Picture-processed photos from the artist-filmmaker’s family. Faces are abstracted in a divisionistic manner. “… one of the great motion pictures of our time. While embracing the full range of human activity from cradle to old age, the production illuminates with deep feeling the many elements of present-day technology in filmmaking and the expanded cinema. It is truly a work of genius.” – John W. L. Russell, International Media Coordinator, USIA. Awards – Golden Eagle-Cine 1976; Grenoble Film Festival Award 1976, International Women’s Film Festival 1976. Cannes Film Festival.

1976 “LA SPIRITATA” – 4 Min. 20 Sec.

Music “Canzoni per sonar a quattro” by Giovanni Gabrieli, performed by Elizabeth Cohen, Max Mathews, and Gerard Schwarz. Images generated by computer.

1976 “FANTASIES” – 5 Min. 15 Sec.

Computer generated images used as counterpoint to music “Fantasia & In Nomine” by John Ward, performed by Elizabeth Cohen, Max Mathews, and Gerard Schwarz.

1976 “EXPERIMENTS” – 7 Min.

Music “Quartet in F” by Maurice Ravel, performed by Max Mathews. Subtly colored images combining microphotography and computer generated images with unique editing sequences that propel the viewer into a spiral-like endless vortex. Three music tracks were produced by the Groove System – a computer-controlled sound synthesizer.

1975 “KINESIS” – 4-1/2 Min.

Music by Albert Miller. Escher-like images stepping through the frames to the music of a jazz group. Delightful–shows a depth in the imagery not accomplished by computer before. Oberhausen 1976.

1975 “COLLAGE” – 5 1/2 Min.

Music by Joe Olive. A swift moving assortment of moving images. Filmed from a color TV monitor that was computer controlled.

1975 “ALAE” – 5 Min.

Music by F. Richard Moore. “The most fascinating use of the computer in filmmaking that I have seen recently is in L. Schwartz’ ALAE. Beginning with footage of sea birds in flight, the film image is then optically scanned and transformed by the computer. The geometric overlay on live random motion has the effect of creating new depth, a third dimension. Our perception of the birds’ forms and movements is heightened by the abstract pattern outlining them. Even if you suffer from the delusion that if you’ve seen one computer film, you’ve seen them all, give this stunning, original film a chance. Should you remain unconvinced, ALAE is a good example of the fact that computer technology seems destined to play an important role in animation.” – Jana Varlejs, Cine-Opsis, \f2Wilson Library Bull.\f1, March 1976. Whitney Museum of American Art.

1974 “METAMORPHOSIS” – 8 Min. 15 Sec.

Music Symphony in D Major by Salieri. “As expert hands in the complex techniques of integrating the computer and animation, L. Schwartz makes fascinating use of exotic, flowing forms, colors and electronic music in ‘Metamorphosis’.” – A. H. Weiler, N. Y. Times. “Schwartz’ METAMORPHOSIS is a complex study of evolving lines, planes, and circles, all moving at different speeds, and resulting in subtle color changes. The only computer-generated work on the program, it transcends what many of us have come to expect of such film with its subtle variations and significant use of color.” – Catherine Egan, Sight Lines, Vol. 8, No. 4, Summer 1975. Sinking Creek-1974; 1975 American Film Festival “Film as Art”. A three screen production.

1974 “GALAXIES” – 4-1/2 Min.

Music by F. Richard Moore. Computer-simulated disk galaxies that are superimposed and twirl through space in beautiful colors at different speeds. Computer – Dr. Frank Hohl. NASA, Langley Air Force Base. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1974 “MAYAN” – 7 Min.

This tape combines live-images filmed in the Yucatan with output from the Paik video-synthesizer ribboned with computer-generated images. Post-production completed at WNET, Channel 13 as part of the Artist-in- Residence program.

1974 “MIRAGE” – 5 Min.

Music by Max Mathews. Filmed directly from color television controlled by computer programs. Beautifully flowing shapes that overlap and intertwine.

1974 “METATHESIS” – 3 Min.

Changing parameters on mathematical equations. “As expert hands in the complex techniques of integrating the computer and animation, L. Schwartz makes fascinating use of exotic, flowing forms, colors and electronic music in METATHESIS.”- A. H. Weiler, \f2N. Y. Times\f1 Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Kennedy Center in Washington.

1973 “INNOCENCE” – 2-1/2 Min.

Music by Emmanuel Ghent. Computer generated music and visuals films directly from a color TV monitor.

1973 “PAPILLONS” – 4 Min.

Mathematical functions are the basis for a science film on contour plots and an art film. Both are shown simultaneously at a two screen production for an IEEE conference in NYC. Beauty in Science & Art. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1972 “MATHOMS” – 2-1/2 Min.

Music by F. Richard Moore. A playful concoction of computer produced images, a few hand-animated scenes and shots of lab equipment. Made largely from left-overs from scientific research. Whitney Museum of American Art.

1972 “ENIGMA” – 4 min. 20 sec.

Copyright © 1972, 1973, 2003 Lillian Schwartz. All rights reserved.

“Lines and rectangles are the geometric shapes basic to ENIGMA, a computer graphics film full of subliminal and persistent image effects. In a staccato rhythm, the film builds to a climax by instantly replacing one set of shapes with another, each set either changing in composition and color or remaining for a moment to vibrate strobiscopically and then change.” – The Booklist. Awards: Foothills-1972; Kenyon-1973; 16 mm. de Montreal; 5th Annual Monterey Film Festival; 2nd Los Angeles International Film Festival; Nat. Acad. of TV Arts & Sciences; Spec. Effect (72). Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1972 “GOOGOLPLEX” – 5-1/2 Min.

Extended editing techniques based on Land’s experiments affect the viewer’s sensory perceptions. “This viewer also found ‘Googolplex’, the six-minute computer-made compilation of swiftly-moving patterns … to be inventive, eye-catching examples of technical professionalism.” – A.\ H. Weiler, N. Y. Times. Lincoln Center Film Festival. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1972 “APOTHEOSIS” – 4-1/2 Min.

Music by F. Richard Moore. “Apotheosis, which is developed from images made in the radiation treatment of human cancer, is the most beautiful and the most subtly textured work in computer animation I have seen.” – Roger Greenspun, N. Y. Times Award Foothills-1973. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1972 “MUTATIONS” – 7-1/2 Min.

“The changing dots, ectoplasmic shapes and electronic music of L. Schwartz’s ‘Mutations’ which has been shot with the aid of computers and lasers, makes for an eye-catching view of the potentials of the new techniques.” – A. H. Weiler, N. Y. Times. Music by Jean-Claude Risset–commissioned by Office de Radiodiffusion-Television Francaise. Golden Eagle-Cine 1973; Red Ribbon award – Special Effects – National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences; Cannes Film Festival, 1974. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012. shown at festiva musica acoustica. mutation exhibited in a concert of works by JEAN-CLAUDE RISSET. OCT 2013

1972 “AFFINITIES” – 4-1/2 Min.

Beethoven’s variations on Mozart’s “la ci darem la Mano” synthesized on computer by F. Richard Moore. A ballet of squares and octagons in many forms, exhibiting a variety of geometric and sometimes sensuous interactions. Whitney Museum of American Art.

1972 “MIS-TAKES” – 3-1/2 Min.

Music by Max Mathews. A colorful collage, with a subtle ecology theme, made largely from footage from trial runs of programs used for many of the other films.

1971 “OLYMPIAD” – 3 Min. 20 Sec.

Copyright © 1971, 1973, 2003 Lillian Schwartz. All rights reserved.

Study in motion based on Muybridge’s photographs of man-running. “Figures of computer stylized athletes are seen in brilliant hues chasing each other across the screen. Images are then reversed and run across the screen in the other direction; then images are flopped until athletes are running in countless ways … not unlike a pack of humanity on a football field.” Bob Lehmann, Today’s Film-maker magazine. Lincoln Center Animation Festival of the 5th New York Film Festival. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1971 “UFOs” – 3 Min

Copyright © 1971, 2013, 2015 Lillian F. Schwartz

Invented first 2D/3D Film without Pixel Shifting.

UFOs involved developing special color filters used on anoptical bench in reshooting original rolls, but to heighten the color saturation exponentially, black frames were inter-edited so that the eyes’ cones were constantly refreshed, the saturation never diminished, and there was a shift in the brain’s alpha rhythm so that observers had conflicting reations. A film breakthrough that literally created an individualized viewing experience.

Music by Emmanuel Ghent. “UFOs proves that computer animation–once a rickety and gimmicky device–is now progressing to the state of an art. The complexity of design and movement, the speed and rhythm, the richness of form and motion, coupled with stroboscopic effects is unsettling. Even more ominously, while design and action are programmed by humans, the ‘result’ in any particular sequence is neither entirely predictable … being created at a rate faster and in concatenations more complex than eye and mind can follow or initiate.” – Amos Vogel, Village Voice. Awards: Ann Arbor-1971; International award-Oberhausen, 1972; 2nd Los Angeles International Film Festival; Museum of Modern Art collection; Commissioned by AT&T. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.

1970 “PIXILLATION” – 4 Min.

Copyright © 1970, 2013 Lillian F. Schwartz All rights reserved.

PIXILLATION occurred at a time when the computer system was linear in time and space; Programs did not yet control pixels as moving, malleable palettes so Lillian F. Schwartz only coded a few lines of computer-generated black and white texture that she intermixed with colored hand animation. She developed an editing technique so that colors between the two media were usually matched, but sometimes mismatched to permit the eye to see an even more saturated color arrangement. The film can be viewed in either 2D or 3D without pixel shifting although one must wear chroma-depth glasses.

“With computer-produced images and Moog-synthesized sound Pixillation is in a sense an introduction to the electronics lab. But its forms are always handsome, its colors bright and appealing, its rhythms complex and inventive.” – Roger Greenspun, N. Y. Times. Golden Eagle-Cine 1971. Moog sound by Gershon Kingsley; Version III: pulls the viewer into a primal experience. Awards:Red Ribbon Award for Special Effects from The National Academy of Television, Arts & Sciences; The Smithsonian Institution and The United States Department of Commerce, Travel Services for Man & His World at the Montreal Expo, ’71; collection The Museum of Modern Art. Commissioned by AT&T. Recent screening at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, December 10, 2012.