Courtesy Neugerriemschneider Gallery

Considered to be the first freely programmable computer in the world, the Z1 was designed in 1936 by the engineer and artist Konrad Zuse (1910 – 1995). With 172 bytes of memory and the ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide, the Z1 was privately financed and quite literally home-made in Zuse’s parents Berlin apartment. Completed in 1938 the computer was ‘programmed’ using punched tape feed into a reader. Zuse punched his programs into regular 35mm photographic film.

The footage for D1 - Z1 (22,686,575:1) was generated using state-of-the-art computer animation technology including surface-rendering programs developed in Berlin. Generating this simple 30 second long animation sequence, depicting the punched film reader (a tiny part of the vast machine), required 3,992,837,240 bytes of information – over 22 million times the memory of the Z1. This computer-generated, ‘virtual’ reconstruction was then transferred onto traditional 35 mm film stock and exhibited on another piece of mid-century German technology – a Dresden D1 projector.

Simon Starling is always fascinated by the processes involved in transforming one object or substance into another. He makes objects, installations, and pilgrimage-like journeys which draw out an array of ideas  about nature, technology and economics. Starling describes his work as ‘the physical manifestation of a thought process’, revealing hidden histories and relationships.