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Aesthetic Research in Telecommunications

By Rhizome

Aesthetic Research

Between 1975 and 1977 artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz developed a series of projects under a heading they called Aesthetic Research in Telecommunications (image above):

Among these projects was the Satellite Arts Project that addressed a multitude of telecollaborative arts and virtual space performance issues that had never been genuinely tested or even experienced. Central to the Satellite Arts Project idea was an aesthetic inquiry that would apply the performing arts as a mode of investigating the possibilities and limitations of various technologies to create new contexts for art, including the emergence of telecollaborative arts on a global scale. In a time when satellites were the only viable means of transmitting full-motion video across oceans in near-realtime (the global context), the artists focused equally on transmission delays over long distance networks, and performed a number of telecollaborative dance, music, and performance scores to determine what traditional genres could be supported, while exploring new genres that would emerge over time as intrinsic to these new ways of being-in-the-world.

A Space With No Geographical Boundaries

As part of this Satellite Arts Project they performed A Space With No Geographical Boundaries (image above) in 1977. The purpose of this performance was:

To demonstrate for the first time, that several performing artists, separated by oceans and geography, could perform together by seeing themselves occupying the same live image - “The image as place.” Everyone would see themselves standing next to each other, able to talk with each other, and ultimately perform together — “A virtual performance space with no geographic boundaries”.

You can find an article entitled Defining the image as place, a conversation with Kit Galloway, Sherrie Rabinowitz & Gene Youngblood here which discusses some of these ideas and was originally published as part of High Performance #37 - 1987. More information on artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz telecollaborative arts projects is available here.

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