ART PROJECTS OF ECI FOUNDERS
GALLOWAY AND RABINOWITZ, 1977 TO PRESENT
|SATELLITE ARTS PROJECT '77||HOLE-IN-SPACE '80||ART-COM '82|
|ELECTRONIC CAFE '84||LIGHT TRANSITION ->||ECI HIGHLIGHTS '89 ->|
SATELLITE ARTS PROJECT '77 "A Space With No Geographical Boundaries". Objective: To demonstrate (for the first time), that several performing artists, all of whom would be separated by oceans and geography, could appear and perform together in the same live image (The image as place). Everyone would see themselves all together, standing next to each other, able to talk with each other, and alas, perform together -- "A performance space with no geographic boundaries".
From 1975 through 1977 artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz developed a series of projects under a heading they called "Aesthetic Research in Telecommunications". 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 aesthetic research that would use the performing arts as a mode of investigating the possibilities and limitations or technologies to create and augment new contexts, environments, and scale for telecollaborative arts. In a time when satellites were the only viable means of transmitting live TV quality video across oceans (the global context), the artists focused on transmission delays over long distance networks, and performed a number of telecollaborative dance, performance, and music scores to determine what genres could be supported, and determine what new genres would emerge as intrinsic to this new way of being-in-the-world.
Sponsored by NASA, with seed funding from the National Endowment for
the Arts, and the Corporation For Public Broadcasting. See "Satellite Arts
Project Credits" for the list of other supporters and artistic collaborators.
HOLE-IN-SPACE '80was a Public Communication Sculpture. On a November evening in 1980 the unsuspecting public walking past the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and "The Broadway" department store located in the open air shopping center in Century City (LA), had a surprising encounter with each other.
Suddenly head-to-toe, life-sized, television images of the people on the opposite coast appeared. They could now see, hear, and speak with each other as if encountering each other on the same sidewalk. No signs, sponsor logos, or credits were posted -- no explanation at all was offered. No self-view video monitors to distract from the phenomena of this life-size encounter. Self-view video monitors would have degraded the situation into a self-conscience videoconference.
If you have ever had the opportunity to see what the award winning video documentation captured then you would have laughed and cried at the amazing human drama and events that were played out over the evolution of the three evenings. Hole-In-Space suddenly severed the distance between both cities and created an outrageous pedestrian intersection. There was the first evening of surprise discovery; the second evening was populated by word-of-mouth and long distance telephone calls; and after the television coverage of the second evening, the third was like a mass televisual migration of families and trans-continental loved ones, some of which had not seen each other for over twenty years.
Created and produced by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz. Funded
in part by by grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and The Broadway
Department Store, with support from Avery Fisher Hall, and the support
of many companies including Western Union, General Electric and Wold Communications.
ART-COM '82 was a credited multi-disciplinary laboratory at Loyola Marymount University in which graduate students used performance as the mode of investigation to study and comment on their experiences of "living in" a composite-image space. Students also explored performing everyday tasks, and collaborative problem solving, and theatre skits mimicking life situations with their fellow students who were at a remote site on campus.
This "life in virtual space" lab extended the notion of "the image as
place,"and as a "virtual performance space" as developed in the Satellite
Arts Project (1977.) Final live public performances of the findings of
the ART-COM lab were performed at Loyola Marymount University, and for
an audiences at the American Film Institute. Created and produced by Kit
Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz; supported with equipment donations from
Sony Corporation and the facilities of Loyola Marymount University, Los
ELECTRONIC CAFE '84 In 1983 artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz began refining a concept for a telecollaborative network connecting informal public multimedia communications venues. The Electronic Cafe network was to be the artists offering as a replicable social model and proposed antidote to the approaching Orwellian year of 1984. It was thought that by integrating multiple-media telecollaborative technologies with the culturally diverse creative communities throughout Los Angeles that a powerful new context for cultural sharing and interaction would emerge -- a breakaway context that would establish an important dialogue about the role such technologies can play in fostering the invention of a new cultural interaction, and scale of artistic collaboration and inquiry. Thus the world would be safe from the Orwellian prophecy:-)
Electronic Cafe was about integration: Integrating community, art, technology, and cross-cultural communications. The technical mission was to define the basic human requirements to facilitate creative conversations between people even if they did not speak the same language. The technical installation used a hybrid of computer-based communications; Keyword searchable text and pictorial databases "Community Memories"; Videoconferencing: Audioconferencing; Realtime collaborative telewriting/drawing, including the ability to collaboratively add annotations to still-video images: High resolution image printers so that activities could be documented and mounted on the wall for public view; And, the ability of any venue to broadcast sight and sound to any, or all, of the others venues. The network was operational for seven weeks during the 1984 Olympic Arts Festival.
The Electronic Cafe '84 Network included:Commissioned by the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Arts Festival. Additional funding, corporate support, and full staff & people/artist credits available at EC '84 webpage.
LIGHT TRANSITION ->, developed in 1981, is as yet unrealized. Light Transition is about remote viewing and observation. Throughout the day, a series of live composite-image compositions of both the Atlantic and Pacific shorelines of the U.S., concluding with the observation of a simultaneous moonrise over the Atlantic Ocean and sunset into the Pacific Ocean. Designed as a high definition satellite broadcast over a national cable television network, and/or a low resolution version cybercast over the internet. Light Transition uses live multi-site remote imaging as a poetic observation and homage to one aspect of the sidereal dynamics. It was through the observation of the night time sky that inspired the invention of the calendar, and astral navigation that started western civilization on a never ending technological binge. Cameras are positioned at the beach on both coasts, bringing the oceans together in a live split-screen image. Transmission begins when the light is even over both coasts. Each transmission builds incrementally upon those previous, disclosing to our gaze those great cyclical patterns of shadow and gravity that marks the aspect and orbit of our planet through its circle of hours. When the project reaches its dramatic conclusion it becomes obvious that all the technology has been synchronized to observe a simultaneous moonrise over the Atlantic Ocean and sunset into the Pacific Ocean. With the help of computer scientists and astronomers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Light Transition was precisely calculated to capture in its final transmission the celestial event. Supported by National Endowment For The Arts, Western States Media Award.
Light Transition is a spin-off project of a larger Solstice Observation
project that would broadcast the solar alignments and light projections
at sacred sites and ancient stone observatories around the world.
ELECTRONIC CAFE HIGHLIGHTS '89 -> After the opening of The Electronic Cafe in 1984 we felt that we had reached "the limits of models." All of our previous work begged to be developed. The next step was "community," a permanent multimedia collaborative public network. In 1988 ECI opened with its first international link with Paris.
-- ECI creates a networked lab, to support collaboration and co-creation between people in different cultures, countries and language groups.
Creative Integration--technically, socially, artistically. ECI operates simultaneously and interactively on many levels. On our web site check out "Highlights." All of these Highlights have some off-line video recorded and, in some cases site documentation, paper documents, drawings, and photos. Many Highlights were technological firsts and many of them represent different collaborations with different venders. They represent original telecollaborative projects, many already have spin-offs and have been copied. Look for the telecollaboration of artists; look for the collaboration between artists and technology-technicians; think of the telecollaborations required to co-produce activities like these across a network. Look for the public inclusive environs. Look at the number of telecollaborative events performed publicly, or that involved public participation.
Each of the events and activities over the years at ECI have opened up new opportunities for experiment and development -- Art genres like Tele-poetry, and The Musical Conversation between geographically separated performers work quite well using both internet-based and non-internet technologies. Most ECI performances and activities incorporate the visions of several geographically dispersed collaborating artists. Patrons around the world participate in interactive events. Popular culture is explored. Analog telephone lines, digital ISDN lines, and Internet networking capabilities are often used in concert to create a hybrid multimedia network not available from any one service provider, thus enabling us to model emerging telecom environments years before they are alleged to arrive in our homes.
All of the public ECI events and activities are video & audio cybercast
using a JAVA-based technology requiring no plug-ins to view, thanks to
our strategic partner, Graham Technologies Solutions, Inc. ECI-Santa Monica
was the first to have ISDN installed here in Santa Monica thanks to the
assistance of Byron Wagner (also our ISP). The VRML-ECI, and Multi-user
VRML-ECI was made possible by Pascal Baudar of the LAVUG. Tod Foley and
the artists at Hands of Time Productions created ECI's Palace site. The
websmiths working on the ECI website have been many, but the main contributions
were first made by Steve Arbuss, and at present all kudos go to the beautiful
and talented Carol Sumler.