iota is a public benefit, non-profit arts organization founded in 1994. Our mission is to inspire both new and existing artists in a historically dispersed and constantly changing technological environment. We aim to do this by foregrounding and contextualizing historically underrepresented experimental works, enriching current scholarly and academic inquiry into the artists and works in our collection, and providing our community of patrons with a foundation with which to a) study historical work and b) create new work. In other words, the end of one work’s life cycle can inspire the beginning of another.
iota is dedicated to fostering a community of artists by engaging them with our four programs: community, exhibition, research and preservation. We work with other like-minded organizations to exhibit and distribute underrepresented experimental works; foster research and discovery by maintaining an archive, library and online presence; and preserve the films, artwork and paper material in our collections.
Collections and Curatorial Focus
Although iota’s interests span many interconnected areas of historical experimentation, the medium for which we have the richest collections and resources is experimental film and video work with a special emphasis on abstract film, animation, and films from West Coast artists.
Abstract Film and Animation: Historically, the artistic exploration of abstraction in the moving image has taken on many forms with a wide variety of names: Lumia ... Visual Music ... Mobilcolor ... Absolute Film ... Video Synthesis ... Rhythmic Light ... Abstract Animation. Today the medium is commonly referred to as “Visual Music.” We believe that there is a vast amount of interconnectedness between these varied techniques and titles, and that their common artistic goals can unite them into a single art of light and movement. As the first arts organization to dedicate its mission to visual music, we continue to expand our resources and collections in this area.
West Coast Experimental Filmmakers: According to the bulk of literature covering the history of avant-garde filmmaking in the US, New York filmmakers constitute the bulk of the canonical filmmakers in this genre. In his 1960 graduate thesis for UCLA, Robert Pike wrote about the “West Coast Experimental Film Movement” as a movement distinct in form and focus from its east coast counterpart. Pike later formed a distribution company called Creative Film Society, which collected (amongst other genres) a substantial number of experimental works with a distinct emphasis on West Coast artists. In 1996, iotaCenter worked with Pike’s wife Angie to negotiate the donation of of a large number of these films - including works from such artists as Pat O’Neill, Kenneth Anger, John and James Whitney, Ernie Pintoff and Patricia Marx - to our collection.
The interactive timeline of the iotaCenter can be found here
Who We Are
Board of Directors
Jeremy Speed Schwartz
Murtha Baca|| Dennis Miller|
Adam Hyman|| Noel Palazzo|
Seth Kaufman|| Vibeke Sorensen|
Janet Keller|| Mark Toscano|
Victoria Meng|| |
Judith Meriens|| |
Gina Marie Napolitan
Victoria Meng (UCLA)
Amy Sloper (UCLA)
Keren Albala (USC)
Ryan Lovelace (USC)
Dan Racusin (Calarts)
Mary Beth Reed (Calarts)
Michael Ward (USC)
David Wishard (USC)
Janeann Dill, Ph.D, MFA
Amy Alexander (2013)
Become a Member
iotaCenter is proud to launch our Membership Program. After soliciting feedback from the members of our Advisory Council, we have formulated a plan to drive forward our by creating a tiered set of membership options tailored to the needs of our current community. For more information on the different levels and how to join, please visit our Membership Page.
The iotaCenter Email Discussion List
Established in 1999, the iota email list now has over 400 members.
Subscribe to our discussion group list and join the dialogue.
Send a blank email to:
You can explore the archive of our discussion group online here:
10401-106 Venice Blvd #330
Los Angeles, CA 90034
310 842 8704
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The iotaCenter is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation.
Music is the supreme example of movement become pattern. Music is time given sublime shape.
If for no other reason than its universality and its status in the collective
mind, music invites imitation. A visual art should give the same superior
shape to the temporal order that we expect of music.