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Tennis Racquets Equipped with Electronic Components
Tennis Racquets Equipped with Electronic Components Tennis Racquets Equipped with Electronic Components
Interview with Per Biorn
Interview with Per Biorn
Tool Identification

Name of tool: Racquet
Creation date: 1966
Designers: Bill Kaminski, Jim McGee

Historical Notice

Two racquets were created for Open Score by Robert Rauschenberg. The principle used was that of the wireless microphone, invented in the 1960s. This technology was primarily used in television studios, but it had not yet been marketed to the general public. Another difficulty involved miniaturizing the transmitters to allow them to fit into the wooden handle of the racquet. Bill Kaminski was able to achieve this. For the first performance of Open Score, only one racquet – that of Mimi Kanarek - had been completed. It was for this reason that a wire could be seen running from Frank Stella’s racquet to his trouser pocket; the non-miniaturized transmitter and preamplifier were attached to the player’s body and wired to the microphone affixed to the racquet.

Tool Description

Racquets modified to transmit ball impact data by FM waves to the control booth.

Summary of Materials

Tennis racquet, electronic components.


Microphone, FM transmitter, preamplifier.

Operating Procedure

A microphone attached to the racquet captured the impact of the ball against the racquet strings. The microphone was hooked up to an FM transmitter concealed in the handle. The transmitter sent the data (an antenna was attached to the racquet face) to an FM receiver discretely placed at the side of the stage and linked to the control booth.


Remote control of lights in response to the impact of the balls hitting the racquets.

Documents Consulted

Robby Robinson, What Really Happened at the Armory. Experiments in Art and Technology. Records, 1966-1993. Getty Research Institute, Research Library, Accession no. 940003. Box 2, file 16-17.

Manuscript, 1966 [1972-1973]: I Artists: H. Robert Rauschenberg, “Open Score” / Harriet DeLong; Julie Martin; Simone Whitman-Forti; Billy Klüver. Experiments in Art and Technology. Records, 1966-1993. Research Library, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, California (940003), Box 1, file 8.

9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering : Robert Rauschenberg : Open Score / [produced by Experiments in Art and Technology; directed by Barbro Schultz Lundestan] (1997), 1 videocassette (31 min., 59 s.): master copy, digital, b&w, col., sound, stereo, D 2 (Fudji). Film made from the footage shot by Alfons Schilling and the engineers of the Bell Telephone Laboratories (Murray Hill, N.J., États-Unis) in 1966. The Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology, 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering fonds. 9EVE VID00011887 / M.

Interview with Per Biorn / produced by the Daniel Langlois Foundation for Art, Science, and Technology; interviewers: Vincent Bonin, Éric Legendre, Julie Martin (Shot the 25 of August, 2004), 4 videocassettes (3 hr., 45 min.): master, col., sound, Mini-DV. Interview made the 25 of August, 2004 in Berkeley Heights (N.J., USA). VID 00031593 / M.

Vincent Bonin © 2006 FDL