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E.A.T. — The Story of Experiments in Art and Technology

E.A.T. — The Story of Experiments in Art and Technology, 2003
Klüver, Billy ; Martin, Julie. — E.A.T. — The story of experiments in art and technology 1960-2001. — Tokyo : NTT InterCommunication Center, 2003. — 173 p. — Includes a bibliography. — ISBN 4757170211.

Catalogue published for the exhibition E.A.T. — The Story of Experiments in Art and Technology, NTT InterCommunication Center (ICC), Tokyo, Japan, April 11-June 29, 2003, curator: Hisanori Gogota. Texts in Japanese and English.

In this exhibition, the InterCommunication Center (Tokyo, Japan) presents a sample of works with technological components that were created by American artists since the middle of the 1960s thanks to the support of the engineer Billy Klüver and Experiments in Art and Technology. Founded in 1966 by Klüver and mostly active in the beginning of the 1970s, E.A.T. matched representatives from different scientific fields to artists whose project conception called for specialized technical knowledge that was not easily accessible at that time. The exhibition of projects by Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor, Andy Warhol, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Breer, Robert Whitman and Trisha Brown, which resulted from the collaboration with scientists, is accompanied by documentary films, as well as a thematic presentation by Billy Klüver and Julie Martin that recounts the activities of Klüver and E.A.T. between 1963 and 1990.

This presentation, which is made up of texts and photographs, is reprinted in the catalogue that also includes fact sheets on the exhibited works, a chronology of the activities of Billy Klüver and E.A.T. since 1959 (not translated into English) and authors' contributions that deal with the challenges raised by artistic practices in the wake of E.A.T.

Yoshitomo Morioka examines the social climate of the 1960s which promoted closer collaboration between scientific, artistic and industrial disciplines. He describes the projects to which Klüver and other engineers contributed from 1960 onwards (the kinetic sculptures by Tinguely and Rauschenberg, the acoustic experiments by John Cage and David Tudor), the premises of 9 Evenings of Theatre and Engineering in 1966 (a series of events initiated by Klüver, which integrated technological components with the stage) as well as the establishment of E.A.T. as a pairing organization in the same year. Fujiko Nakaya, an important participant in E.A.T., gives an account of the organization's activities in Japan with the construction of the interior of the Pepsi Pavilion and its technological components at the 1970 Osaka universal exposition. From the perspective of someone who participated in the project as an artist and coordinator, she relates the salient events of the conception of a hydraulic system that could generate a cloud of mist to enshroud the Pavilion dome. Nakaya also bears witness to the projects created by the Japanese division of E.A.T. in Tokyo. Kikuko Toyama places the 9 Evenings of Theatre and Engineering events within the context of the emergence of hybrid art forms that were precursors of performance art, such as Fluxus' actions, Alan Kaprow's happenings, John Cage's aesthetic of randomness as well as the choreographic language of the Judson Group (of which several members participated in 9 Evenings).

Minoru Hatanaka treats the technological complexity of the acoustic and musical exploration undertaken by John Cage and David Tudor who were associated with E.A.T. in the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s. He describes the acoustic apparatus conceived for the diffusion of Cage and Tudor's works during the 9 Evenings, as well as the components of the speaker system that was directly integrated into the dome of the Expo '70 Pepsi Pavilion. In a text that was first published in 1961, Billy Klüver comments on his contribution to Jean Tinguely's kinetic work Destructive Construction no. 1 (1960), all the while exposing his views on the theme of the self-destructing machine in this artist's work.

The authors' contributions are followed by artist biographies and a bibliography (partially translated into English) on E.A.T.

Vincent Bonin © 2003 FDL