IBM Mathematics Peep Show
USA, 1961
Charles and Ray Eames

16mm film reel in canister
7¼ × 1”

Between 1950 and 1982, Charles and Ray Eames/Eames Office produced over 125 films, beginning with abstracted and poignant meditations on various kinds of toys and later delving into mathematical concepts, computers, architecture, history and corporate-sponsored branding films for the likes of IBM, Polaroid and Boeing.

Much like their furniture designs, the Eames films aimed to “get the best to the most for the least…to reach the greatest number of people,” and prioritized clarity, approachability, and idealism over any romantic notions of tradition or pure innovation within the medium of film. The films were meant to have wide appeal and distilled complex ideas into efficient and orderly maxims that fit into the Eames aesthetic of simplicity, integrity and beauty of form.

This film was commissioned by IBM in 1961 for the exhibition Mathematica: A World of Numbers...and Beyond at the California Museum of Science and Industry and the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago. It contains five short 'peep shows' that succintly and elegantly outlines a mathematical concept. Winner of Festival International du Film de Montreal Award, 1961 and London Film Festival Award, 1963.

Film run time: 12 minutes. Color.

(Photo: Wright)