The World in 24 Hours

Die Welt in 24 Stunden / The World in 24 Hours

Ars Electronica, Linz, 27-28 september 1982

A world-wide 24 hour telecommunications project organised by Robert Adrian.

"DIE WELT IN 24 STUNDEN was the most ambitious project using low tech (telephone-based) communications equipment to be attempted untill that time. It involved setting up a global network of participating artists and groups that would each organise a contribution from their location using any or all of SSTV, Fax, Computer mailbox/ conference or telephone sound. The cities involved were: Vienna, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Bath, Wellfleet, Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Honolulu, Tokyo, Sydney, Istanbul and Athens. Each location was called from Linz at 12:00 local time - so the project began at 12:00 noon Central European Time on Sept.27 and, following the midday sun around the world, ended at 12:00 noon C.E.T. on Sept.28. In Linz I was assisted by Waltraut Cooper, Norbert Hinterberger and students from the class of Prof. Ortner at the Hochchule fur Gestaltung. In Wien the organisation was by Helmut Mark and Zelko Wiener at the Österreichische Kultur Service (ÖKS) Studio."

Source: Robert Adrian: Art and Telecommunication 1979-1986: The Pioneer Years link)

Vienna, December 9, 1982

It is now just over 2 months since "THE WORLD IN 24 HOURS" project took place and this report completes, finally, the documentation. (...)

The strain of 24 hours of non-stop activity on people and equipment is obvious in the uneven quality (and quantity) of the enclosed material ... some things didn't get recorded or photographed ... the sound recording equipment broke down ... the person with the camera went home to bed, with the camera! ... we ran out of video tape in the middle of the night when everything was locked ... one telephone died and another got very neurotic in the early morning ... we all forgot and lost things, including telephone numbers.

But on the whole it was a successfull experiment. We learned a lot ... for one thing, we learned that most things, including people are not designed for non-stop, 24 hour, activity. But we also learned that such a project is possible and that the next one will be even better given the experience we now have.

There are, of course, many things we would do differently if we had to do it all again but three things stand out:

1. More time for preparation. We had 9 months but it needed at least a year.
2. Better audio recording equipment. The ORF (Austrian Radio/TV) supplied excellent sound equipment but the wrong tape deck. We should have paid a lot more attention on this point.
3. More telephones. We had 3 lines but needed 5. For a total telecommunications experience you need all the media working at once ... plus a communication line for emergencies.

Telecommunications, by artists or anybody, only gets really exciting when carried out on a global scale. But the price of global scale telecommunications projects is all the pain and problems of language and cultural differences, time zones, networking and night-working. On balance I think it is worth it ... looking through the material we received one can feel a new kind of art developing, a new medium. Its a very exciting feeling.

Lets do it again soon!

Robert Adrian X

Source: link) link)

Robert Adrian
Communication Art

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