A Communications Primer revisited
DOI link for A Communications Primer revisited
A Communications Primer revisited book
In 1953, Charles and Ray Eames produced a 22-minute educational film, A Communications Primer, that would be the first of many to address communication theory, computing and computers.1 The significance of this film – although eclipsed by the Eameses’ other famous films, Glimpses of the USA (1959) and Powers of Ten: A Film Dealing with the Relative Size of Things in the Universe, and the Effect of Adding Another Zero (1977) – is that it lays out the themes that would concern many of their subsequent films. More importantly it presents an early glimpse into the significance they placed on communication theory for design. The Eameses’ films attempted to humanize the computer and the information environment in the same way that their architecture and designs humanized the modern.2 Their adoption of Shannon’s Mathematical Theory of Communication was not only prescient but provides a unique look into how a technical theory of signal processing could be adapted for the nuanced communication that takes place within art and design.