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

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.

Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg is the executive producer for video at The AtlanticMore

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg joined The Atlantic in 2011 to launch its video channel and, in 2013, create its in-house video production department. She leads the development and production of original documentaries, interviews, and other video content for The Atlantic. Previously, she worked as a producer at Al Gore’s Current TV and as a content strategist and documentary producer in San Francisco. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University.

Why Is Google Making Human Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors at a world-class life sciences lab are trying to change the way people think about their health.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

Video

The Pentagon's $1.5 Trillion Mistake

The F-35 fighter jet was supposed to do everything. Instead, it can barely do anything.

More in Video

Just In