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Kathryn Farley, Generative Systems

Equipment in Classroom

Generative Systems, 1973
Generative Systems, 1973 Generative Systems, 1973
Kathryn Farley: Interview with Sonia Sheridan (video)
Kathryn Farley: Interview with Sonia Sheridan (video)
As this letter from Mr. Irving indicates (e), beginning in 1970, 3M granted participants in Generative Systems classes access to a Color-in-Color copy machine, the first full-colour duplication device of its kind on the market. (1) A few years later, Sheridan rented two Xerox desktop copiers for the purposes of classroom instruction and acquired a Haloid imaging system manufactured by the company. Haloid Xerox technology represented a high-end photographic format. In 1974, she purchased a VQC from 3M, a machine fusing different energies together to produce imagery. Towards the end of the decade, she began to employ a computer graphics system in her courses that had been developed by John Dunn, a graduate teaching assistant affiliated with the program.

Following the arrangement of technology in a laboratory environment, Sheridan opted to place equipment along the outer perimeter of the classroom, leaving ample space for workstations to be built in centre and peripheral locations. As she recalls in this interview, the decisions that she made regarding the configuration and placement of equipment in the learning environment were based on an open-floor concept of teaching. (d) As the program grew in size and scope, however, the need for a larger and more flexible workspace became evident. In 1973, Sheridan submitted an extensive plan for expansion to school administrators that designated separate areas for distinct classroom activities. Though the plans were never executed, they point to Sheridan’s ambition to configure a classroom space that was able to meet the interests and needs of her students.

Kathryn Farley © 2007 FDL

(1) For a description of the machines provided by industry and information about their uses in Professor Sheridan’s classes, please visit the “Processes” section of this project. It should be noted that administrators of School of the Art Institute of Chicago decided in 1972 not to renew the agreement with 3M for use of the Color-in-Color machine due to fiscal concerns. From then on, Sheridan opted to purchase equipment and arrange for access to technology on her own.