An Exhibition of Retro Screensavers Opens in the Netherlands

Screensaver After Dark, Flying Toasters
Screensaver After Dark, Flying Toasters / Screensaver After Dark, Flying Toasters

In the 1990s, PC users didn’t have the ability to stream movies, video chat with friends, or play high-definition video games like they do today. Instead many turned to screensavers as a source of entertainment. The 3D pipes, zooming stars, and infinite brick walls of the early home computer era have all but vanished from our desktops, but Motherboard reports that a Dutch digital artist has made them the focus of his new art exhibit.

In “Sleepmode: The Art of the Screensaver,” Rafaël Rozendaal showcases 27 classic “moving paintings” from the not-too-distant past. They include the very first screensaver (a.k.a. a blank screen), as well as one of the first moving graphics developed by screensaver pioneer Jack Eastman (he was inspired to code “Flying Toasters” after walking into his kitchen late at night and picturing his toaster with wings).

At Rotterdam’s Het Nieuwe Instituut in the Netherlands, the four oldest screensavers will be displayed on their original PCs for added authenticity; the show opens January 27 and runs until June 25. If you can’t make it to Rotterdam in that time frame, Rozendaal has also made a collection of interviews with classic screensaver creators available online. And of course, you can always pull up one of the many old-school screen savers on YouTube and transport your computer back to 1999.

[h/t Motherboard]