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Between and Mortarboard

UMMA Object Specific Fields

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A formula that can shatter into a million glass bullets

Accession Number

A formula that can shatter into a million glass bullets

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Artist Nationality
British (modern)

Object Creation Date

Medium & Support
screenprint on paper

40 3/16 in x 26 9/16 in (102.08 cm x 67.47 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Professor Diane M. Kirkpatrick

Subject matter
As one of the founders of the Independent Group, Paolozzi was an early British Pop artist. This series of ten prints came after his travels in California, where he visited tourist sites like Disneyland, Frederick's of Hollywood, and Paramount Studios, as well as centers of technology: UC Computer Center, Standord's Linear Accelerator center, Douglas Aircraft Company and the GM Assembly Plant in Hayward. The combination of imagery from popular culture and the technological imagery of dot matrixes and circuit boards creates a stange in which art and science can be in dialogue. Bringing together Mondrian, Mickey Mouse and computers, Paolozzi is playing a game that highlights questions about artistic authorship and authenticity and the role technology plays in both. This parodic look at popular culture fits into the larger series.

Physical Description
This colorful print has a series of elements organized into horizontal registers. At the top is an orange band with black text that reads, "A FORMULA THAT CAN SHATTER INTO A MILLION GLASS BULLETS.  The result is tax free Walt Disney in skill, but much cheaper in cost. And one ingenious programmer did manage to make the computer draw pictures of Mickey Mouse's head as seen from any chosen direction. He showed 100 people an / original Mondrian drawing and a drawing made by the computer in the style of Mondrian. He asked them to decided which drawing was artistically better, and which was produced by a machine. The unique solution will be given next month.". Below this is a register of boxes with traces of circuitry. 

Then there is a band made of a pink grid, with white boxes with colors filling the space. Below is a large tan section with colorful gridded shapes in pink, orange, and green or green, purple, blue and aqua. Next is a Mondrian-like grid in white, orange, blue and red. Then, there is a series of images of Mickey Mouse made out of a dot-matrix, transversed by other grids and stripes. At the bottom of the print is a bright blue band with black text that reads, "What is desired, of course, is a general procedure by which minimum prime dissections can be found for squares of any order, and a formula that can shatter into a million glass bullets. Another programmer has caused the computer to produce a whole animated instructional motion picture / showing rolling balls, the operation of the computer itself and titles that rise across the screen, expand and dissolve. / APRIL 1967". The print is signed and dated in pencil (l.r.) "Eduardo Paolozzi A/P 1967".

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Pop (fine arts styles)
animated cartoons
artists' proofs
circuit boards
paintings (visual works)
portfolios (groups of works)
screen prints

3 Related Resources

History of New Media 
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

All Rights Reserved

On display