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

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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.

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

Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg's work in media spans documentary television, advertising, and print. As a producer in the Viewer Created Content division of Al Gore's Current TV, she acquired and produced short documentaries by independent filmmakers around the world. Post-Current, she worked as a producer and strategist at Urgent Content, developing consumer-created and branded nonfiction campaigns for clients including Cisco, Ford, and GOOD Magazine. She studied filmmaking and digital media at Harvard University, where she was co-creator and editor in chief of H BOMB Magazine.

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