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The Ever-changing Art of the Screensaver

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This story was originally published in 2019 in the “Distraction” issue of Eye on Design magazine.

 

In 1983, a computer programmer named John Socha created what is considered by most to be the first screensaver. The program, called SCRNSAVE, was barely a program at all—after three minutes of inactivity, it turned the screen into a blank, black square.

At the time, Socha developed SCRNSAVE for a mostly utilitarian purpose. He was the creator of Norton Commander, a file management program that gave computer users a way to interact with their files on early disk operating systems more easily. In