Satellite Arts Project

Satellite Arts Project, by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, 1977

West Coast location: a collaboration with NASA Aims, and the Educational TV Center located on the grounds of the Catholic Archdiocese in Mountain View, California.
East Coast location: the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.


"Being unable after many attempts to access satellite time in Europe in 1976 — we actually got all our proposals and our basic foundation work done in 1975 — then we found out that in the United States, NASA was opening up, accepting proposals to use satellites to do social experiments, because congress was cutting the funding, and they were no longer in the business of building experimental communication satellites, so they turned to the public to get some "goodwill"... (...)
So, we worked with NASA for a year, and we did our first tests in June 1977, and then in November 1977 we had a series of days, in which we did a number of performative tests. You know, dance and theatre and music are a bit "mundane" as art forms to take into these new spaces, it's like "a new medium imitates the old medium"... But we were actually using those as investigative tools, you know — "If you can do this that's good, if you can't, why not", and then to understand not only the possiblites, but the limitations of any tele-collaborative environment or system. But we also knew that the more time we "lived" in these spaces, and the more time that we clocked, that there would be a process of discovery, which would discover new genres, "new content for the new context"...
So, we did in 1977 a series of projects, over a series of days, that looked at "the image as a place", the experience of people being far apart, but occupying the same space. And there we discoverd a lot of the problems that still persist today. We looked at performance, in fact we used dance and the performing art as a "mode of investigating" the technology's ability to deliver other goods...
Source: Video conference by Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz, Waag Society, Amsterdam, November 12 2003


"In 1977 (the year of the documenta 6), Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz produced the «Satellite Arts Project» in which two groups of dancers interacted at two different locations. The images were put together on screen in such a way that people three thousand kilometers apart looked like they were dancing together. Galloway and Rabinowitz' satellite project «Hole in Space» followed in 1980."
Source: Inke Arns, link)

From 1975 through 1977 artists Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz developed a series of projects under a heading they called "Aesthetic Research in Telecommunications". Among these projects was the "Satellite Arts Project" that addressed a multitude of telecollaborative arts and virtual space performance issues that had never been genuinely tested or even experienced. Central to the "Satellite Arts Project" idea was aesthetic research that would use the performing arts as a mode of investigating the possibilities and limitations or technologies to create and augment new contexts, environments, and scale for telecollaborative arts.

In a time when satellites were the only viable means of transmitting live TV quality video across oceans (the global context), the artists focused on transmission delays over long distance networks, and performed a number of telecollaborative dance, performance, and music scores to determine what genres could be supported, and determine what new genres would emerge as intrinsic to this new way of being-in-the-world.

Ressources: link) link) link) - First project proposal, January 1977

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Page last modified on Sunday 30 of September, 2007 19:00:03 CEST by 1.0.