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Experiments in Art and Technology Records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Biographical/Historical Note
  • Administrative Information
  • Separated Material
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Experiments in Art and Technology records
    Date (inclusive): 1966-1993 (bulk 1966-1973)
    Number: 940003
    Creator/Collector: Experiments in Art and Technology (Organization)
    Physical Description: 205 Linear Feet (237 boxes, 2 rolls, 12 flat file folders)
    The Getty Research Institute
    Special Collections
    1200 Getty Center Drive, Suite 1100
    Los Angeles 90049-1688
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/askref
    (310) 440-7390
    Abstract: Records of the organization Experiments in Art and Technology, generated and collected by its president, Billy Klüver, and other staff members, the bulk from 1966-1973. Materials include project files, correspondence, proposals, reports, photographs, posters, audiovisual materials, minutes, clippings, printed matter, and other items.
    Request Materials: Request access to the physical materials described in this inventory through the catalog record   for this collection. Click here for the access policy  .
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Biographical/Historical Note

    E.A.T., an organization devoted to promoting the interaction between art and technology, developed from the collaboration between Billy Klüver and Robert Rauschenberg. E.A.T. founders, Billy Klüver, Robert Rauschenberg, Robert Whitman and Fred Waldhauer, believed that collaboration between artists and scientists would greatly benefit society as a whole. The organization was created after the landmark event "9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering," 1966, and sought to continue the artist / engineer relationship forged during those performances. E.A.T.'s primary goal was to give artists access to new materials, such as plastics, reflecting materials, resins, video, and technologies, such as electronics and computers, which would have been otherwise inaccessible. Staff and participants explored or experimented with these and the precursors of many technologies that are now commonplace: chat lines, fax machines, lasers, cable television, and digitized graphics.
    By the early 1970s, E.A.T.'s artist and engineer matching service, called the Technical Services Program, boasted 6,000 members. Through this matching system approximately 500 works were created, the most effective being in the areas of sculpture and performance. E.A.T. considered the collaborative process between artist and engineer of greater import than the aesthetics of the end result. Additionally, E.A.T. helped to organize many exhibitions in order to display the finished products of collaborations. Other E.A.T. activities focused on educational programs designed to inform the public about new telecommunications technologies. Research was conducted in order to locate inexpensive equipment and methods with which to bring TV programming to wider audiences, including underdeveloped countries.
    Project Descriptions:
    9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering
    A series of performances held in October 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City, by John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Öyvind Fahlström, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor and Robert Whitman. The artists worked in collaboration with more than 40 engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to develop technical equipment that was used as an integral part of the performances. The original intent was to participate in a Stockholm festival of art and technology, but the Armory site was selected when negotiations with Stockholm organizers collapsed.
    A small catalog was printed containing statements by the participating artists, photographs, drawings and technical diagrams. Harriet DeLong's draft manuscript for a book was never published. She collected all possible documentation for each artist's work, including artists' statements, engineers' technical work and diagrams, descriptions of performances, scores and press reaction. Additionally, she conducted interviews with some of the artists and engineers.
    "9 Evenings" was extensively photographed by Peter Moore, Robert McElroy, Herbert Migdoll and Steve Schapiro. A 25 minute, 16mm sound, black-and-white film was made by Alfons Schilling of the performances.
    Technical Services Program
    E.A.T.'s matching service began shortly after "9 Evenings" in 1966. Artists with technical requests were matched with engineers and scientists who produced information and assistance or participated in longer collaborations. The system for providing information and matchings was expanded several times after its inception, including a proposal to develop a computer-based directory of artists, scientists, engineers, researchers and other professionals. One of the first innovations in the system was to use edge-notch cards to hold information on the technical specialties of over 1,000 engineers. A computer database of engineers and scientists was compiled which artists could refer to as they needed specific expertise.
    In 1967 and 1968, EAT began recruiting engineers to work with artists. This was achieved through visits by artists to technical laboratories like Bell Labs in Murray Hill, N.J. or IBM Labs in Armonk, N.Y.; a booth at the yearly Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineers (IEEE) where artists made a pitch to involve engineers; weekly open houses at the E.A.T. loft at 9 East 16th Street, where artists and engineers could meet and talk informally; publication of a newsletter, "E.A.T. News"; and a compilation of a list of technical libraries in the New York City area open to artists. In general, E.A.T. did not monitor the resulting contact and collaboration between the individual artists and engineers. E.A.T.'s intent was to act as liaison during the introductory phase of contact to facilitate an artist's awareness of new and quickly developing technologies. Other services to artists included loan of equipment, consultation on safety of works, helping artists obtain permission from the New York City Health Department to exhibit works that used lasers and other potentially hazardous materials, and approaches to industry for support of artists' projects. The program was essentially discontinued in 1973.
    Lecture-Demonstration Series
    In the spring of 1968, E.A.T. organized a series of lecture-demonstrations by engineers and scientists for artists held at the E.A.T. loft. They covered such technical subjects as lasers and holography, computer generated sound and images, color theory, paper, television and new Hexcel materials. Speakers came from academic, industrial and government laboratories: e.g., Bell, MIT and National Bureau of Standards.
    E.A.T. Competition
    In the fall of 1967, E.A.T. announced a competition for the best contribution by an engineer to a work of art made in collaboration with an artist. It called for works incorporating technology to be selected for an exhibition organized by Pontus Hulten, "The Machine as Seen at the End of the Mechanical Age," held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in the fall of 1968. E.A.T. offered to match all interested engineers and artists. The judges for the competition were all engineers.
    Some More Beginnings
    One of the first major art and technology exhibitions, held at the Brooklyn Museum from November 1968 to January 1969. The E.A.T. competition for MOMA's exhibition generated more than 140 submissions. The decision was made to show all these works at the Brooklyn Museum. The catalog was designed by Billy Klüver, Julie Martin and Robert Rauschenberg, and contains photographs and technical descriptions of 145 works.
    Pepsi-Cola Pavilion at Expo '70, Osaka, Japan
    E.A.T. organized and administered a large-scale international collaboration to design, build and program the Pepsi-Cola Pavilion at Expo '70, Osaka, Japan. It was initiated in October 1968 by four core artists: Robert Breer, Forrest Myers, David Tudor and Robert Whitman. As the design of the Pavilion developed, engineers and other artists were added to the project and given responsibility to develop specific elements. Twenty artists and 50 engineers and scientists contributed to the design of the Pavilion. A full-sized model of the mirror dome was built by Raven Industries in an old Marine Corps dirigible hangar in Santa Ana, California. The Pavilion opened Mar 1970.
    Thirty-four Japanese and American artists were invited by E.A.T. to design performances for the live programming of the space. Strains in Pepsi-Cola's and E.A.T.'s relationship began to occur when a disagreement ensued over the content and cost of the live programming. Pepsi-Cola officials wanted to showcase young rock bands by inviting them to compete in a contest that would be performed in the Pavilion. E.A.T., on the other hand, believed that the acoustics of the Pavilion were too sensitive and exacting for nonprofessionals to perform in, and had planned for artists such as Red Grooms, Ann Halprin, Allan Kaprow, Gordon Mumma and La Monte Young to perform music compositions, events and poetry readings. E.A.T. presented a live programming budget to Pepsi officials, which they rejected citing E.A.T.'s lack of cost control. By late April, relations between E.A.T. and Pepsi-Cola completed deteriorated.
    A book, Pavilion, edited by Billy Klüver, Julie Martin and Barbara Rose, was published by E.P. Dutton in 1972, and contains essays by Elsa Garmire, Billy Klüver, Nilo Lindgren, Fujiko Nakaya, Barbara Rose and Calvin Tomkins, all the artists proposals for the live programming of the Pavilion and photographs by Shunk-Kender.
    Anand Project
    In October 1969, the Nehru Foundation for Development and E.A.T. assembled a group of Indians and Americans with specialties related to instruction and television, including both artists and engineers. The group met in India during December 1969 and developed a proposal for local input towards the development of instructional software for television. The project was centered in the rural villages in the Anand Dairy Cooperative and concentrated on information and instruction for the women who raise and tend the milk-producing buffalo. The proposals for using 1/2 inch video cameras to collect material for testing and to be used as the basis for the final instructional programs have been adopted and widely used during the SITE television satellite project.
    American Artists in India
    E.A.T. initiated a project in 1970-71, funded by the John D. Rockefeller III Fund, for American artists to travel and work for a month in India. The following artists participated: Jared Bark, Trisha Brown, Lowell Cross, Jeffrey Lew, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Kate Redicker, Terry Riley, La Monte Young, and Marian Zazella.
    Projects Outside Art
    On December 8, 1969, E.A.T. requested proposal submissions for an exhibition of realizable projects in the environment, which was funded by a $25,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Approximately 75 proposals were submitted by artists and engineers, of which four were selected: Children and Communication (see below), City Agriculture, Esthetics Symposium, and Recreation and Play.
    In collaboration with the Environmental Research Laboratory of the University of Arizona and Automation House, a closed-environment nutrient-feeding vegetable greenhouse was designed for the roof of Automation House in 1970. E.A.T. also carried out a feasibility study for a greenhouse on the roof of the artists' housing complex, Westbeth, and developed a proposal for an experimental greenhouse in the interior courtyard of the U.N. International School in New York. Consecutive exhibitions were held at Automation House from Jan 4, 1971, and the Esthetics Symposium was held during this time.
    The Recreation and Play assignment was given to a team of Los Angeles artists (including Allan Kaprow) and engineers based on geographical proximity, not on compatibility. "Cubic Mile" was formulated by the participants to encompass the differing interests of the group. The participants became conflicted as to the aims and directions of their work, leading to a collapse of this portion of the project.
    Children and Communication
    Working with educational specialists from New York University, two environments, designed by Robert Whitman, were set up at the E.A.T. loft, 9 East 16th Street and Automation House, 49 East 68th Street. They were linked by 14 dedicated telephone lines and terminal equipment including Xerox and Magnavox facsimile machines, electro-writers, telexes and telephones. From February through May 1971, more than 500 children, ages 6-13, visited the two locations and used the equipment to communicate with each other.
    Multi-Dimensional Scaling
    In cooperation with psychologists at Bell Laboratories, several research studies using multi-dimensional scaling techniques were conducted to study perceptions in 1971-72. (Multi-dimensional scaling is a type of mathematical modeling which entails analyzing responses to questionnaire word juxtapositions regarding their degree of relatedness, then plotting the results onto correlation graphs.) One of the studies was to correlate national problems with technical and scientific resources applicable to these areas in order to devise solutions; another was a cross-cultural study of object words, which were selected by artists from different countries. Questionnaires for a study similar to the latter were posted at "Telex: Q&A" sites, described below.
    Telex: Q&A
    This project was organized in conjunction with the exhibition "Utopia & Visions 1871-1981" held at Moderna Museet, 1971. During August 1971, four telex terminals were established in New York at the E.A.T. offices at 49 E. 68th Street; in Stockholm, at the exhibition at Moderna Museet; in Ahmedabad, India, at the Design Institute; and in Tokyo, at a large public exhibition space in the Sony Building, organized by Fujiko Nakaya. The public in all four countries was invited to submit questions concerning 1981, which were telexed to the other three terminals. Scientists, artists, subject experts, students and members of the general public were asked to formulate answers that were then telexed to the originator. Over 400 questions were sent and answered during the month.
    The type of questions were limited to eliminate anything one could find out by going to a local library. It was hoped that the telexes would act as a "Utopian News Service," so questions such as "How large will the population be?" were filtered out. The questions and answers were compiled in a document E.A.T. had hoped to publish.
    In August 1981 E.A.T. collected the New York Times for one month for later study on how the world of 1981 differed or resembled the predictions, guesses and feelings people had made about it in 1971.
    Artists and Television
    In the winter of 1971, a large-scale proposal was made to the National Endowment for the Arts for E.A.T. to organize the cablecast of artists' video tapes over the newly opened cable television channels in New York City. As E.A.T.'s new office was located at Automation House, a head-end for one of the New York cable companies, the organization had ready access to the medium. The project was based on the premise that artists programs should be broadcast, and proposals were requested from artists like Claes Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, John Chamberlain and others.
    E.A.T. held a fund-raising event called "Artcash Benefit for Television Programming" at Automation House, 1971. Participants could buy "artcash" bills designed by Rauschenberg, Warhol, Marisol, Jeff Davis and Whitman, then redeem them for prints, which were donated by artists and galleries. The prints were also sold and exhibited at Automation House.
    Projects in Central America
    In January 1972, E.A.T., at the request of the Division of Culture of the Ministry of Education in El Salvador, conducted a feasibility study on mobile broadcast television production equipment and formulated a plan for producing cultural programming on educational channels.
    Billy Klüver also participated in an United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) mission to Guatemala on using television for rural agricultural education. In cooperation with the Guatemalan Government, and under contract with the USAID, the Academy for Educational Development studied the feasibility of an experimental, low unit cost program of information and education for the rural adult, especially isolated Indian tribes, in Guatemala. The hope was that new multi-media educational techniques would enhance the economic development of the rural population. The group wrote a final report on its findings and also conducted a multi-dimensional scaling study.
    New York Collection for Stockholm
    Beginning in January 1971, E.A.T. undertook a large-scale effort to assemble a major collection of 30 works by New York artists of the 1960s, chosen by Pontus Hulten, and to raise funds for the purchase of the collection to be donated to Moderna Museet, Stockholm. Thirty artists donated prints to a portfolio in order to support the project. A showing of the print portfolio collection was held at the Castelli and Sonnabend Galleries. A dinner with Princess Christina of Sweden at Robert Rauschenberg's house was held in October 1972. The collection opened at Moderna Museet in October 1973 with 105 American guests attending the opening.
    Klüver initiated and supervised the design and feasibility study for a large screen outdoor television system for the Plaza of Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 1976-77, for the opening of the Pompidou. Although the project was unrealized, E.A.T. organized a charter flight for Americans to attend the opening.
    Artists for New York Benefit at Xenon Discotheque
    Benefit for the Institute of Art and Urban Resources held February 26, 1979 with a performance by Tudor, Lowell Cross, and Carson Jeffries using a sound-activated laser display system first developed for the Pepsi Pavilion.
    Island Eye Island Ear
    David Tudor conceived a collaborative project/concert to be held on an island, which was to utilize and reveal the nature of the island. Parabolic antennas would have been placed in configurations around the island to create sound beams and sound reflections. The sound input would have been sounds of the island recorded over the course of one year. Fujiko Nakaya would have installed cloud sculptures and Jacqueline Monnier would have flown the kites she designed. Extensive tests were made on Knavelskär Island in the Swedish archipelago (1974), and later Bluff Island in the Adirondacks in New York State was researched as a possible site for the concert (1978-79). The project was never realized because of strong resistance from local residents.
    Cloud Sculpture for Trisha Brown Dance Company
    E.A.T. supervised the testing and installation of a cloud sculpture by Fujiko Nakaya as a set for the dance "Opal Loop," first performed at 55 Crosby Street, June 10, 1980, and performed later that year at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. A full-scale model of the stage at Brooklyn Academy was built to test the fog made for this performance.
    Archive of E.A.T. Documents
    In 1980, E.A.T. put together an archive package of 360 documents produced by the foundation: reports, catalogs, newsletters, information bulletins, proposals, lectures, announcements, and reprints of major articles produced by E.A.T. in the course of its activities. Complete sets of this archive were distributed to major libraries in New York, Washington, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow, Ahmedabad, India, London, Toronto and Australia. A master list of these documents is contained in the publication by Billy Klüver, "E.A.T. Bibliography 1965-1980." In most cases early E.A.T. publications were designed by Rauschenberg and subsequently by other artists; posters and announcements were also designed by or in collaboration with artists.

    Administrative Information


    Open for use by qualified researchers.

    Publication Rights

    Preferred Citation

    Experiments in Art and Technology records, 1966-1993, The Getty Research Institute, Los Angeles, Accession number 940003.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1994 (Accn. no. 940003, 940037), 1996 (Accn. no. 960013).

    Processing History

    Lynda Bunting unpacked, processed, organized and cataloged the collection from September 1994 to Mar 1996. Natalia Costea and Vanessa Walker-Oakes helped unpack, process and describe sections of Series I, II, V and VI from December 1994 to June 1995. From September 1995 to February 1996, Kelly Nipper removed rusty staples and revised a few of the project descriptions in Series I. Melissa Piper described the artists proposals in the Technical Services project in December 1995. Audio-visual materials processed 2004.

    Digitized Material

    Selected audio and video recordings from Experiments in Art and Technology records Series VII. and VIII. have been digitized and are available on-site: http://hdl.handle.net/10020/940003av 

    Separated Material

    Thirty titles were transferred to the library's general and rare book collections.
    E.A.T. News vol. 1, no. 1 Techne vol. 1, no. 1 New York Collection for Stockholm. Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1973. Pavilion, 1972. Exakte Asthetik - Methoden und Ergebnisse empirischer und experimenteller Asthetik - 3/4/1966. Grèce, Michel de. Andronic: ou les aventures d'un empereur d'orient. Paris: Olivier Orban, 1974. Grèce, Michel de. La Crète épave de l'Atlantide. Paris: Julliard, 1971. 2 copies. Cultural Affairs. New York: Associated Councils of the Arts (Spring 1970). New York State Council on the Arts Annual Report . 5 vols., 1967-1972. Film Library Quarterly (Spring 1971). Filmmakers Newsletter. 6 issues from 1969. Video from Tokyo to Fukui and Kyoto. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1979. Jornal de letras e artes. vol. 7, no. 257 (Nov 1967). Avatar Tågarp, no. 1 (1971). Psychopolis de Vrije Academie , ca. 1971. Other Scenes vol. 5, no. 2 (Summer 1971). Arata Isozaki: Works, 1960-64. Tokyo: Seidoh-sha, 1965. Arata Isozaki: Works, 1965-66. Tokyo: Seidoh-sha, 1967. Another Isozaki title in Japanese. Burroughs, William. "C" Press edition entitled "Time," 1965. Radical Software. vol. 1, nos. 1-4, (1970-71); vol. 2, no. 1 (1972). Haute Société. no. 2 (Sep 1960). Centro de arte y Comunicación. Henri Cartier-Bresson. Galerie le Zodiaque. Toche , 1968. Centro de Calculo de la Universidad de Madrid. Ordenadores en el arte: Generación automática de formas plásticas, 1969. Beaux Arts. Summer 1972. Kosice: La cuidad hidroespacial. Anzilotti Avda: Buenos Aires, 1972. Knoedler & Co. Holograms Conceived by Dali . New York, 1972. Celant, Germano. Eugenio Carmi: SPCE. A. Cordani, Milan: 1966.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The Experiments in Art and Technology archive documents E.A.T. as an organizer, fund-raiser and facilitator of collaborations between artists and engineers, dating from 1966-1993 (bulk 1966-1973). The material was generated and collected by Billy Klüver, President, Julie Martin, Klüver's assistant and second wife, and other E.A.T. staff members. The collection does not contain correspondence with Robert Rauschenberg, Chairman, but does make many references to the artist and includes numerous photographs of him performing and three posters by him.
    The bulk of the archive consists of project files with various materials such as correspondence, proposals and reports pertaining to approximately 20 large-scale projects and numerous smaller ones. Substantial photographic, cassette tape, reel-to-reel tape, film and video holdings provide audio and visual documentation of E.A.T. sponsored performances, lectures and events. Posters in the archive, primarily published by E.A.T., were designed and signed by a number of noteworthy contemporary artists or were created by engineers using experimental computer scanning and data compression processes. The collection also contains board of directors' meeting minutes, book and newsletter production material, clippings, and accounting records.

    Arrangement note

    The archive is arranged in 9 series: Series I. Project files, 1966-1992, bulk 1966-1973 Series II. Correspondence and administration, 1966-1980 Series III. Publications, ca. 1967-1980 Series IV. Clippings, 1965-ca. 1980 Series V. Financial, 1966-1986, bulk 1966-1974 Series VI. Photographs, 1966-1990 Series VII. Audio tapes, 1966-1993 Series VIII. Films and videos, 1974-1997 Series IX. Posters, 1966-1996

    Indexing Terms

    Subjects - Corporate Bodies

    Expo '70 (Osaka, Japan)

    Subjects - Topics

    Art and electronics
    Art and science
    Technology and civilization
    Television and the arts
    Kinetic art
    Performance art
    Corporate sponsorship -- United States
    Fund raising -- United States
    Art and technology -- Periodicals
    Art and technology -- Societies, etc.

    Genres and Forms of Material

    Photographs, Original
    Photographic prints
    Slides (photographs)
    Motion pictures (information artifacts)


    Cross, Lowell M.
    Childs, Lucinda
    Cage, John
    Brown, Trisha, 1936-2017
    Breer, Robert
    Davis, Douglas, 1933-2014
    Tudor, David, 1926-1996
    Tomkins, Calvin, 1925-
    Whitman, Robert, 1935-
    Waldhauer, Fred D.
    Rainer, Yvonne, 1934-
    Pearce, John
    Shunk, Harry
    Rauschenberg, Robert, 1925-2008
    Moore, Peter, 1932-1993
    Nakaya, Fujiko
    Paik, Nam June, 1932-2006
    Paxton, Steve
    Kender, Janos
    Klüver, Billy, 1927-2004
    Martin, Julie, 1938-
    Minujin, Marta, 1943-
    Fahlström, Öyvind, 1928-1976
    Garmire, Elsa M., 1939-
    Hultén, Pontus, 1924-2006
    Kaprow, Allan
    Experiments in Art and Technology (Organization)
    Experiments in Art and Technology Los Angeles (Organization)