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Waldemar Cordeiro: Bits of the Planet

Mon, 1/22 · 4:00 pm6:00 pm · Firestone Library, Rare Books and Special Collections

Princeton University Library

Special Collections Launch of New Digital Exhibition

The curatorial team of Natalia Brizuela, Ian Alan Paul, and Rachel Price are pleased to host a one-day, in-person launch of a groundbreaking online exhibition exploring the life and work of Waldemar Cordeiro, a prominent Brazilian post-war artist and theorist. Curators will guide visitors through the digital exhibition, followed by an exploration of related materials from Princeton’s robust collections of concrete poetry, selected and discussed by Special Collections Librarians Molly Dotson and Sal Hammerman.

Bits of the Planet is an experimental online platform that delves into Cordeiro’s legacy, showcasing his Concrete painting, landscape architecture, computer art, and prescient theories on “arteônica” — computational art in the face of global challenges.

The platform incorporates a rich array of materials from Cordeiro’s archive, including artworks, documents, notes, plans, and essays. Visitors can navigate through these materials using modes inspired by Cordeiro’s formal and theoretical interests. The exhibition is structured around four central concepts: Mathematics, Computation, Landscape, and Language, grouping diverse materials into constellations of related works and revealing connections between Cordeiro’s seemingly disparate practices.

Waldemar Cordeiro was born in Rome in 1925 and moved to Brazil in 1946, where his work moved from figuration to geometric art and landscape architecture. His innovative gardens mirrored the geometric forms of his concrete paintings, rejecting imitations of “untouched nature.” In the 1960s, influenced by information theory and mass media, Cordeiro began manipulating pop cultural objects and mass media images. Between 1968 and 1973 he created pioneering computer art on an IBM 360/44.

Waldemar Cordeiro: Bits of the Planet brings Cordeiro’s visionary legacy into the digital realm, offering algorithmically generative ways to engage with Cordeiro’s work. Cordeiro’s insights into decentralized information sharing resonate strongly today. As he foresaw 50 years ago, “centers, as information’s physical site or as a place in which things are exchanged, are gradually losing their function.” Bits of the Planet reflects this reality, making Cordeiro’s work globally accessible, offering a prophetic perspective on the promise and threats of new media and the climate crisis.

For more information about the virtual launch and to experience Waldemar Cordeiro: Bits of the Planet, please visit the event page.

Media Contact: bitsoftheplanet@gmail.com

Waldemar Cordeiro: Bits of the Planet received support from a Humanities Council Collaborative Humanities Grant, the Brazil LAB, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

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