Friday, 14:00 – 15:30, De Balie
The connection of the arts and technology in the 1950s and 1960s spawned many events that by now are legendary, beginning with the Vortex Concerts of Jacobs and Belson, and ‘culminating’ in the Pepsi Pavilion of 1970. The radical approach to space and the utopian spirit of these events and works continues to inspire artists to this very day.
Branden W. Joseph
HPSCHD: Ghost or Monster?
HPSCHD—the multifaceted, multimedia performance created by John Cage and Lejaren Hiller with the use of the ILLIAC II supercomputer and first staged at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign on 16 May 1969—marks the culmination of the most experimental and challenging phase of Cage’s career. Allied with, and in some sense a response to, the notion of the artistic happening, HPSCHD produced an intensely spatialized audio-visual environment, one in which the audience members, as Anthony McCall put it, became their own ‘mobile mixer’. This talk considers the place of this work within Cage’s production, and particularly the implications of its technological and political engagements.
Branden W. Joseph (US) is Frank Gallipoli Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art at Columbia University and a founding editor of the journal Grey Room, a multi-disciplinary quarterly journal about architecture, art, media and politics. Joseph has published three books, the latest being Beyond the Dream Syndicate: Tony Conrad and the Arts after Cage (Zone Books, 2008).
Cyborg Ritual and Sentic Technology in the Vortex Concerts
Trace Reddell’s talk presents the Vortex Concerts of Henry Jacobs and Jordan Belson, which took place at San Francisco’s Morrison Planetarium between 1957 and 1959, as extensions of astronautic research and cybernetic space sciences. While considering the audiovisual content and new performance interfaces used by these artists, Reddell is most interested in how this space age ‘theater of the future’ plays out a cosmological agenda. The unique spatial structure of the planetarium dome represents the near atmosphere and distant outer space, but it also mimics the observatory and even the cramped interiors of spacecraft. Through this vehicular mechanism, the Vortex Concerts, according to Reddell, promoted a new understanding of the nexus of mind, mood, and body as these are integrated into highly technical cybernetic systems by means of bio-engineering and pharmaceutical regimes. These performances facilitate the emotional life and imaginative health of the cyborg-astronaut through ritual use of sense-altering technologies
Trace Reddell (US) is a digital media artist and theorist exploring the interactions of sound and the cosmological imagination. His live cinema performances and video works have screened at more than thirty international venues over the past two years.
On Experiments in Art and Technology
In his lecture Robert Whitman discusses the way that he has used space as part of the vocabulary of his installation and performance pieces. In 1966 Whitman was one of the New York artists who worked with Billy Klüver and more than 30 engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to create works for the now legendary 9 Evenings. Whitman was also one of the co-founders of Experiments in Art and Technology along with Billy Klüver, Fred Waldhauer and Robert Rauschenberg. And he was one of the core artists for the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ’70, in Osaka, a project administered by E.A.T. One of the main features of the interior of the Pavilion was the central performance space in a 90 feet diameter 120 degree spherical mirror made of aluminized reflective PET film, which produced real images of the visitors hanging upside down in space.