A Charming Cartoon by Charles and Ray Eames Links Creativity, Innovation, and Data

By Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg

The Information Machine, produced by the Eameses in 1958, explores the birth of computing from a philosophical angle. Reflecting the polymath couple's multifaceted work, the film celebrates artists, engineers, and designers, and men and women, equally. "These men -- and women -- were artists and had certain characteristics in common. They were seldom bored with anything. They were constantly building up stores of information in active memory banks," the narrator explains. Above all, the film asserts, these innovators excelled at relating existing knowledge to new problems. Math and computation are "an enormous help to creative thinking." From Newtonian physics to the room-sized computers of the 1950s (which are rendered adorably in the film's scrappy cartoon style), computation is at the heart of human ingenuity. Courtesy of the Prelinger Archive, the film is a must-see for any Eames fan. 

For more films from the Prelinger Archive, visit http://archive.org/details/prelinger.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/05/a-charming-cartoon-by-charles-and-ray-eames-links-creativity-innovation-and-data/257053/