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Kronikel maps the stories that thread through i-DAT’s people, projects, research, learning and related activities.  Kronikel links the rich mix of anecdotes, facts, and happenstance in order to track the chains of inspiration, influence and value that lurk within i-DAT’s history. It maps i-DAT’s territory, ponders its past and predicts its possible futures.


#1: A critical path {from ‘The Story So Far’, Katie Tokus, 1990-2014} 2015-2021 under development…

1990 Tim Berners-Lee publishes formal proposal for the World Wide Web and the first known web page is written.

Microsoft announces its latest version of its operating system: Windows 3.0

Mike Phillips is working and teaching hypermedia and desk-top publishing and is invited to write a new media course for the Polytechnic South West (later Plymouth University). He is also working with Donald Rodney on his blood-pump/heraldic crest artwork Visceral Canker (purchased later by the Tate Modern).

A group of Goldsmiths graduates puts on exhibitions. They later become known as the Young British Artists.

1991 Tim Berners-Lee introduces WorldWideWeb, the first web-browser and the first website goes online at CERN.

Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis 16-bit console is released.

The Mac PowerBook is introduced.

Thom Yorke (later, of rock band Radiohead) works on Mike Phillips’ Mac Plus at Exeter College of Art.

Marc Quinn creates Self – a frozen sculpture of the artist’s own head, made from 4.5 litres of his own blood.

1992 In June, Mike Phillips is interviewed on his 30th birthday for the post of programme manager for

Media Lab Arts – the course he helped to write. He gets the job to establish the course within the School of Computing at the newly-renamed University of Plymouth and spends August recruiting in time for the first ever intake of 35 students in September.

The new course was a mix of computing modules, lessons in Macromedia software, new media modules and performance.

Windows 3.1 is announced.

John Cage dies.

Brian Eno becomes a digital adviser to MediaLab Arts.

1993 Rachel Whiteread wins the Turner Prize – the first woman to do so.

Software company Macromedia sponsors BSc MediaLab Arts.

The first Pentium chips are shipped, improving the performance of personal computers.

Mike starts experimenting with making TV using a studio set-up at the university, making CDROMs and videolinking to Brian Eno among others.

Roy Ascott becomes the first external examiner for MediaLab Arts.

Brian Eno is made Honorary Doctor of Technology for his services to MediaLab Arts (and the universe).

1994 The first Sony PlayStation is released.

The first satellite broadcast of Mediaspace mixed-media TV programmes – including a networked comic – takes place from BSc MediaLab Arts at Plymouth University – anticipating the arrival (10 years later) of 360-degree, multiplatform publishing.

Due to a failed satellite link, BBC1 is unable to broadcast a remembrance concert marking the 50th anniversary of D-Day. Instead it is forced to show recorded highlights of D-Day commemoration events and a repeated Wildlife on One documentary about racoons. Later that year, the BBC has to apologise after its Ceefax teletext service mistakenly reports the death of the Queen Mother.

1995 Windows 95 arrives with “built-in internet support, dial-up networking and new plug-and-play capabilities”. Internet Explorer is released for the first time.

Java and PHP programming languages arrive.

Toy Story becomes the first feature-length computer-animated film and the first film produced by Pixar – a company run by Steve Jobs at the time.

1996 Recruitment for Media Lab Arts peaks – there are 300 applicants for each place – and the intake has gone up to 80.

Global graphics software company Macromedia sponsors MLA.

The PhD programme STAR is established alongside MLA, with Roy Ascott appointed as visiting professor.

Higher education funding to establish a digital arts centre of excellence is offered.

Tomb Raider is unveiled and the first Tamagotchi digital pet is released in Japan.

1997 IBM’s Deep Blue supercomputer defeats Garry Kasparov, the first time a computer defeated a chess grand master in a match.

Psalms is the Autonomous Wheelchair constructed by Guido Bugmann for Donald Rodney’s “Nine Night in Eldorado” at the South London Gallery.

The Simpsons’ first episode, Lisa The Skeptic, is broadcast in the USA.

1998 The Data Protection Act 1998 gives individuals the right to know what information is held about them, and provides a framework to ensure that personal information is handled properly.

i-DAT is born. Artefact is one of its early projects, encouraging visitors to manipulate and remix pieces in a virtual gallery in this collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum.

The iMac is introduced, with colour-coded computers as home furnishings.

In April 1998, the Open Source Summit event was held. This was a pivotal event significantly boosting the idea of free, publically developed (open-source) software.

Google opens workspace in a Menlo Park California garage in September and is recognized as one of the “Top 100 Websites” by PC Magazine in December 1998.

The INTERSTICES Symposium, ‘The Architecture of Consciousness’ was originally held on August 23 – August 25, 1998 at Port Eliot House, St Germans, Cornwall.

Tiger Electronics launch the Furby electronic toy, the first domestic robot.

1999 Video/multimedia artist Bruce Nauman is awarded the Golden Lion prize for Lifetime Achievement at the Venice Biennale. Steve McQueen takes the Turner Prize for film installation artworks.

Two variants were adopted for the 1997 IEEE 802.11 standard on wireless communications: 802.11a for the 5.8GHz band and 802.11b for the 2.4GHz band. The technology was soon named Wi-Fi.

i-DAT develops the online Panopticon VRML/Web system to support the emergence of MSc Digital Futures.

Several pundits predict total a computer system collapse because of the Y2K bug (the inability of older computers to distinguish between the year 1900 and the year 2000). Almost no problems are encountered in the New Year, but fears lead to major system upgrades throughout the global corporate environment.

2000 MSc Digital Futures is launched in the School of Computing, Faculty of Technology as an online and symposium/low residency programme.

Stephen King’s horror story Riding the Bullet is published in e-book format only, the world’s first mass-market electronic book.

A ‘rough draft’ of the human genome is announced jointly by President of the United States Bill Clinton and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

i-DAT co-ordinates the Search for Terrestrial Intelligence anticipating Google Maps.

Donald Rodney Autoicon.

2001 i-DAT’s position strengthens as the PhD programme becomes the Planetary Collegium and PhD student numbers increase.

Wikipedia launches.

Apple unveils the first generation iPod portable media player.

2002 The grid emerges as a linkage of many servers into a single system to tackle complex computing tasks. The system was created to do work previously possible only with supercomputers.

i-DAT delivers the Catalogue show opens at the start of National Architecture Week at Plymouth Arts Centre.

The iMac G4 is introduced.

Minority Report, directed by Spielberg and based on a Philip K Dick story, demonstrates a user interface operated by hand movements.

2003 The world’s first digital camera with an organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display is released by Kodak.

Apple’s iTunes store is introduced, selling downloads for 99c.

Skype is released.

i-DAT puts an iMac in a monkey enclosure and waits to see what the animals write. The story is flashed around the world, giving i-DAT global exposure and intense media coverage.

2004 Facebook launches.

Google indexed more than 8 billion pages on the web.

i-DAT asks famous architects to submit an object to be scanned by an electron microscope.

i-DAT commissions artists Peter Fend to use satellite data to demonstrate how research can generate productive dialogue about global ecological problems and be used to develop effective solutions.

2005 i-DAT unveils Arch-OS, its operating system for buildings and intelligent architecture. Arch-OS is installed into i-DAT’s new home at Portland Square, including a ‘random floor’ button in two of the building’s lifts.

The first video is uploaded to YouTube.

Google Maps launches – 5 years after i-DAT’s satellite maps project STI.

2006 The Sony PRS500 e-book reader launches in the United States.

Twitter, the micro blogging site opened with 140 characters maximum per message.

iTunes downloaded its billionth file in May of 2006.

i-DAT installs an interactive entity into its host building that can answer questions that are texted to it from mobile phones.

2007 The iPhone is released.

i-DAT turns a building into a giant video screen, linking mobile phones with sound and light commands.

i-DAT exhibits experimental sound work from over 100  artists in collaboration with Sonic Arts Network in Plymouth

2008 i-DAT hosts the EUROPEAN WORKSHOP IN IMMERSIVE CINEMA which births the FULLDOME UK Festival, the annual event for fulldome art.

Google and T-Mobile unveiled the T-Mobile G1, the first phone to use the Google’s Android operating system

2009 Japanese engineers build the Child-robot with Biomimetic Body, or CB2, and report that it is slowly developing social skills by interacting with humans and watching their facial expressions, mimicking a mother-baby relationship.

Avatar is released after director James Cameron develops the technology to shoot stereoscopically, creating one of the highest grossing films of all time.

i-DAT joins the university’s Faculty of Art and launches.

The i-500 Public Art Commission is for Curtin University’s to be incorporated into the fabric of a building to encourage building users to communicate and collaborate.

2010 3DTV is the hit technology being promoted at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas.

The first iPad is released.

Scientists create robotic nano-spiders – microscopic DNA constructs able to follow programmed instructions.

There are 4.7 billion mobile phone subscriptions (2 out of every 3 people on the planet). There are more people with mobile phones that have running water or toothbrushes.

i-DAT collaborates with nanotechnologists and makes nano-art using an Atomic Force Microscope.

Sensors are placed in and around Devon’s River Torridge by i-DAT to generate ecological dart to use in a schoolchildren’s art project.

2011 Rhein II by the German photographer Andreas Gursky sells for $4.3m (£2.7m) at Christies, New York becoming the most expensive photograph ever sold.

There are more than 800 million Facebook users (more than 1 in 10 on the planet). Scientists and students unveil a 3D printer that makes edible food.

A significant milestone in artificial intelligence is reached, as IBM’s Watson supercomputer defeats two humans on a TV quiz show.

i-DAT works with wearable technologies that collect data from the body and from human activity in a bid to ‘extend human perception’.

2012 Herman Melville’s classic of literature Moby Dick is read out by the famous and the not so famous, digitised and placed online by i-DAT. More than 3million people enjoy the Moby Dick Big Read.

Oculus Rift is introduced.

i-DAT is given National Portfolio Status by Arts Council England.

Tim Berners-Lee features in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics, as does music from Brian Eno’s ambient work An Ending (Ascent).

Windows 8 touch-screen operating system is introduced.

The number of smart phones worldwide reaches 1 billion.

2013 May 16, Heinrich Rohrer (79), Swiss physicist and Nobel Prize winner (1986), died in Switzerland. He is regarded as the father of nanotechnology.

Google Glass is introduced.

i-DAT develops Qualia: an arts audience feedback and evaluation tool that can measure mood and sentiment.

The city of Plymouth is turned into a massive, multiplayer game during the transmedia event Resurgam: The Lost Pearl of Plymouth.

2014 Google is planning to invest more than $1 billion in a new fleet of satellites that will expand Internet access to unconnected regions of the world.

Ubiquitous connectivity is becoming the norm, call it “smart” appliances, or “the Internet of Things” with a shift toward mobile computing.

i-DAT hosts Young Rewired State’s Festival of Code, with a thousand of the nation’s young coders.

i-DAT becomes the UK partner in an international collaboration awarded € 400k by the EU Culture Programme to innovate art form and push the boundary of immersive audio-visual full-dome environment as a platform for creative innovation.

Eight years after i-DAT made a building speak, Spike Jonze releases a movie, Her, about an computer operating system so human that its owner falls in love with it. Er, her.

i-DAT’s Qualia technology underpins Artory – a culture app for Plymouth that rewards users for their feedback after shows, exhibitions and gigs.

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