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IBM 1401, A User’s Manual (Pitch Project)
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Last updated: 9/22/2017
IBM 1401, A User’s Manual (Pitch Project)
Pitch Project
Project Contact Information
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  Forma Arts and Media
  David Metcalfe
  Artistic Director
Project Information
  Jóhann Jóhannsson, Bill Morrison, and The Calder Quartet
  Contemporary Music / Film
  United Kingdom, United States
  This new collaboration between Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson and American filmmaker Bill Morrison follows their widely acclaimed work, The Miners’ Hymns, described by The New York Times as “Elegant, elegiac... enthralling.”

The IBM 1401 was a revolutionary computer, whose 1959 launch heralded the dawning of our digital age. Throughout the 1960s it transformed computing, business, and working lives across the world.

The production will be an elegy in film and music to this long obsolete machine. Jóhannsson will compose new music for string quartet and electronics, incorporating recordings of sounds generated by new code written for restored 1401s at the Computer History Museum in Silicon Valley.

Morrison’s accompanying silent film will weave together new footage of the restored machines with archival material from IBM and other collections. Performed by the stellar, LA-based Calder Quartet, the piece will connect us with the origins of the digital world, amid the revolutionary 1960s.
  80 minutes (no intermission)
  Fall 2014
  North America: 15,000 USD plus travel for 2 people (from LA or NY) and hotel for 6 people. International: approx. 15,000 USD plus travel and hotel for 6 people (from LA and London). Co-commission fee: approx. 35,000 USD based on 5 partners
  Co-producing or co-commissioning partnerships with presenters.
  New York 2013 ISPA Congress
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