[Internet Art & Culture] Research Critique – Hole in Space

by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz

In Hole-in-Space, which envisioned and demonstrated video chat in 1980, live satellite communications were used over three days to connect unsuspecting pedestrians in Los Angeles and New York. The artists, Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, created a networked space in which people in each city were able to encounter and converse with one another.

Hole in Space (Los Angeles Location) (1980)  l  Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowitz
From the collection of Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz

Life-size transmitted video projections were displayed to each group on the screens. However, no self-view monitors were used in this public communication sculpture as the main aim was to bring people together to create an environment in which people could do whatever they wished to in the social space without the visibility or distraction of technology.

.. we created a context and we stepped away, and then they completed the work. We created situations that allowed people to own this with their imaginations where they could encounter it, sort of rock it for awhile. At least for a period of time we triggered or instilled that kind of behaviour, that kind of dynamic.

– Kit Galloway

The artwork will only be successful if one person in Los Angeles has a real conversation with another person in New York and it was done due to a sense of curiosity and real wonder.

A woman in Los Angeles conversing with a man in New York.
Hole in Space (1980). Sherrie Rabinowtiz and Kit Galloway.

“You’re in New York? Are you in New York?”
It was interesting how humans were able to figure out what was going on simply by creating a conversation. We have always been looking at screens as a barrier when talking to another person in a Second Space but in this artwork, the screen acted as a platform which brought them together. This is the wonders of a Third Space.

I was impressed by how this project was created more than a decade before we even saw the first, simple version of World Wide Web. It demonstrated that electronic communication could convey presence and emotion, and more than anything, connect people across a great distance.

We have come to a point where we regularly interact with people across the globe, but frequently ignore those who are right around us simply due to this increasing racial and economic segregation. Today, video conferencing is everywhere, but our video chats are on small screens. It would be cool to punch a lot of holes in space. There are a lot of possibilities for this artwork to be the starting point of world peace. How about installing screens in both Gaza City and Jerusalem? North Korea and South Korea?


Biggs, Simon. “Public image unlimited : the transformative affects of interactive public screens” Screencity journal, no. 4, pp. 1-6, 2014.

Chandler, Annmarie. At a Distance: Precursors to Art and Activism on the Internet. Massachusetts: MIT Press, 2005. https://books.google.com.sg/books?id=ri36wNZoqVkC&source=gbs_navlinks_s

Electronic Cafe. “Kit Galloway & Sherrie Rabinowitz : Overview of a Quarter Century of Pioneering Artistic Achievements 19750-2000.” Accessed September 6, 2017. http://www.ecafe.com/museum/history/ksoverview2.html

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Believes in creating works that someone can not only see or touch but be part of, to be within them.

One thought on “[Internet Art & Culture] Research Critique – Hole in Space”

  1. Very good! This was a particularly interesting comment:

    We have always been looking at screens as a barrier when talking to another person in a Second Space but in this artwork, the screen acted as a platform which brought them together. This is the wonders of a Third Space.

    The idea that we are both separated and joined by our screens is a very astute observations. What transforms the screen from a barrier into the connector is the network, plus as you point out, the ability to converse and/or interaction from behind our respective screens.

    And why don’t we punch more holes in space? imagine if the projection screen in ADM were a window into the lobby of an art school in the US or Europe or Africa? We should open up our first space environments with third space conjoining windows. That would be the great takeaway from Hole in Space by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz!

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