O-R-G Screensavers

O-R-G is *now* a small software company. O-R-G designs, programs, publishes, and sells apps, websites, screensavers, and other small chunks of code.

Series Titles

  • PublisherO-R-G2015
    Dutch graphic designer Karel Martens has made clocks for years. Starting somewhere around 1968, Karel attached new faces to existing clock mechanisms to produce graphic compositions, which by their nature, are constantly changing. This screensaver works the same way. Based on a wall clock designed by Karel for his exhibition at P! this fall in New York, the screensaver software uses three yellow and blue spinning disks to display the hours, minutes, and seconds of the current time. It does very little, other than spin contentedly. But, on the way, the passing of time produces a collection of graphic arrangements as ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2009
    Three minutes of doing nothing, then everything goes black. In 1983, John Socha wrote the first screensaver software to preserve the image quality of computer displays. Published in Softtalk magazine in 1983 and named SCRNSAVE, the simple program turned the user’s screen to black after three minutes of inactivity (the time could be adjusted only by recompiling the program). Personal computers were becoming affordable and popular, but their high-contrast green phosphor cathode-ray screens were subject to burn-in, where light intensity in one part of the screen left behind a permanent mark. SCRNSAVE was designed to eliminate these ghost-images and preserve ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2009
    Two signals of varying frequency and phase result in a perpetual infinity (figuratively and literally as it actually constructs itself in the shape of the infinity sign given the right starting values), drawing and redrawing itself over and over, a picture of timing and sequence in the center of the screen. The familiar resulting shapes are known as Lissajous curves after French mathematician Jules Antoine Lissajous and his “beautiful machine” of 1855. Devised to draw a picture of two superimposed systems falling into and out of phase, Lissajous’ machine was constructed of a pair of tuning forks placed facing at right ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2009
    The resulting flickering light repeats at a constant frequency between 8 and 13 Hz matching the brain’s alpha waves present in deep relaxation, such as drifting into sleep. When a viewer closes their eyes, sits close to the machine and the turntable is started, the flickering light induces waves of color and repeating geometric patterns that form and re-form in the mind’s eye. Ian Somerville described the experience in a letter to Gysin: Visions start with a kaleidoscope of colors on a plane in front of the eyes and gradually become more complex and beautiful, breaking like surf on a shore ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2009
    Ten years later, in an interview with PC Magazine, Brian Eno picked up the thread of an ambient composition. To his interviewers’ dismay, he claimed that the only useful quality of computers is their potential as semi-automated compositional systems. He confronted the interviewer, stating that “the only interesting thing about computers is screensaver software”. Software used to move large chunks of data around (such as video editing, page layout or even word processing) were all wrong — the transformative power of software was its ability to create real-time models that automatically generate endless variations. The result of collapsing two simultaneous views ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2009
    A recent Opinion piece from the New York Times (“Scorched Earth” by Robert L. Park) eulogized the political death of what had been derisively called “Al Gore’s Screensaver.” Since his vice presidency, Gore actively advocated The Trius Project — a satellite to be put into orbit around the Earth on a geosynchronous path (at position Lagrange 1) which would send back live images of both the whole Earth and the full Sun. This project was intended to feed a series of real-time displays, installed as screensavers on computers in U.S. public schools. Al Gore woke up one morning wondering if ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2018
    In 1965, Bruno Munari designed a small black box — the austere 15-cm steel cube housed four aluminum cones, each painted half-red and half-green and set to spin at four distinct speeds on an 18-minute cycle to produce a very slowly turning composite color moving from red to green. Munari called it the Tetracono and its function was to show forms in the process of becoming: The art of the past has accustomed us to seeing nature as static: a sunset, a face, an apple, all static. People go to nature looking for images such as these static things, whereas an apple is in ...
  • PublisherO-R-G2018
    The computer is already a hypnotic device. Staring at a fixed focal length, scrolling, and swiping all induce what hypnotherapist Daniel Ryan calls “subtle learning states.” And on the screen, what we repeatedly learn is a bent set of values including ravenous consumerism, preposterous ideas of hierarchy, race, gender, beauty, and spirituality. We consume these more deeply than we realize. Hypnotists have used pendulums, repeating sounds, vanishing points, particular vocal cadences, and a variety of other means to produce a state of consciousness and brain activity marked by calm focus and extra sensitivity to suggestion. These tools facilitate what’s called “induction.” Can ...

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