Carla's Island, 1981
2019. Screening Documentation. 4:36 min 4k video. Scanned 70mm IMAX archival test footage of Carla's Island with new sound composition. Dicomed D48 derived custom font. Sound sampled from a Cray-1 supercomputer and a Lawrence Livermore employee honking their car's horn at anti-nuclear activists.
In 1981 Dr. Nelson Max made what is widely considered the first computer-generated animation of water, Carla’s Island, at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory—one of two nuclear weapons research institutions in the US. The film depicts various weather conditions and sea-states around a pair of islands. The film is widely considered the first computer generated animation of water.
The expanded cinema theorist Gene Youngblood, in his 1982 catalogue essay accompanying the SIGGRAPH Art Exhibition the year Carla’s Island premiered, noted that "the Simulators of the Apocalypse should be honoured to share the SIGGRAPH spotlight with noble amateurs - heroic warriors of the Electronic Age - who shall inherit the world of simulation by living in the worlds they simulate."