“Art challenges technology, and technology inspires art.”
– John Lasseter, Chief creative officer of Pixar Animation Studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios.
In 1980, a live art instillation situated in both New York and California simultaneously is considered one of the earliest forms of live networked media art. This instillation titled, “Hole-in-Space” was launched by artist Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, founders of the Electronic Cafe. These two artists dabbled in the advancing technological side of art that began soon after the introduction of the World Wide Web. The two artists created a digital bridge that connect the physical distance in our reality. This bridge is located in a place called the “third space”, a space that is not physical where ideas coexist. The bystanders are thrusted into this third space, their own little world, without any previous knowledge or expectation of what this instillation would do.
The instillation required two screens, one in the Lincoln Center in New York City and the other in Century City in Los Angles, that were connected by one satellite. Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz created the first live telecast that functioned on realtime between the two different coasts. This live art instillation can be dubbed in today’s society as one of the “first Factime or video call”.
The beauty of the video linked above is that it allowed me to see the candid and genuine reactions of the people who experienced this phenomenon. To us, those who were born and raised in the age where smartphones and LTE (4G Data) is a social norm, the idea of freaking out seems overly dramatic and silly ( 2:40 Audience in LA realizes that the other audience is from New York City). However, society at that time never in their wildest chance believed that this could happen. These people lived their lives thinking that they couldn’t see the uncle who moved to West Coast to pursue his career as a director until he made enough money to come back for Thanksgiving. The audience even believed that the screen was just a prerecording of actors acting as if it was real time (3:03). This was time in our modern history where everything felt so pure and untouched by harms of the World Wide Web. Everyone was just having fun and reveling at the wonders of the third space.
“Heinekin! Here! You got it! You got it! You got it!… Here you go baby!”
“One for me!”
- – The audience enjoying themselves and interacting with one another (by passing a beer) through the third space
This Iive art piece, contrary to other live performances where the audience merely watches the artist in his or her element, requires the help of the unsuspecting and curious audience. Granted, by the last telecast, many people made plans to meet each other at the two locations. Specifically a The unclear nature of the project allowed the artwork to be completely be run by the audience by letting them interpret the work in their own way. Certain people used this project to see the face of loved ones who they haven’t seen in a while, while others as seen in the video, started to treat this as a chance to bring about their flirty side. This in a sense makes the audience, the artist and the artist, the audience. The intended audience becomes the artist because they have total control and paint the essence of the artwork on the blank screen. While the original artist becomes the audience as they witness how the “new” artists choose to pursue the artwork.
Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz’s “Hole-in-Space” is a revolutionary piece of art that has continued to influence future generations of artists. Such as the artistic duo, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, who perform live art from different places in the world. Specifically, their “Limitless Distances” performance, which is about longing, distance, and connection. The artists performed this at “Meno Parkas” gallery in Kaunas, Lithuania and artist residency “Route-Art-Rageous” in Lutherstadt Wittenberg. Technology has influenced our society in many ways, from education to leisure and art. Art no longer pertains to traditional mediums such as painting and sculpture but it has expanded to ready made objects and technology.
One Reply to “A Hole in Space Stitched by Two Screens”
Excellent piece and very well researched. Don’t forget to make use of the essay to help support your arguments. One of the things I was most impressed with in your essay is the shift between artist and audience: how the audience becomes the artist and the artist becomes the audience. This is very true. I would like to add an additional role of the artist, and that is the role of the “interaction design.” The artists in this case design a system of communication for audience interaction and enabled the members of the audience to communicate across the distance, and essentially compose their own experience. THAT, in essence, was a very new idea in 1980. Excellent work.