when the WorldPool group (Norman White, Willoughby Sharp, et al) began experimenting with fax exchanges between Toronto and NYC in 1977 it was a truly exotic and magical medium. Even in 1981, when Tom Klinkowstein and I produced the first European fax project using group II machines (2 minutes or more for an A4 page) between Vienna and Amsterdam, people fell about in amazement as the blurry sheets of paper slowly emerged from the machine.


By the mid-80s all that had changed ... fax machines had become faster, cheaper and ubiquitous — every office had one — so the excitement of novelty was missing and the medium was not really capable of generating interesting content aside from the aspect of "telepresence": Of sharing a communication space. Fax had come to be viewed as simply another telephone peripheral and had become, like the telephone itself, invisible. Fax projects continued sporadically into the 90s but they were more or less exercises in nostalgia. link)

Jeremy Turner: In my interview with Robert Adrian he mentions how your WorldPool Collaboration in 1977 was at a time when experiencing the fax medium back then was equivalent to experiencing "magic". I think it was Arthur C. Clarke who felt that any good science was "indistinguishable from magic". Was the WorldPool '77 experience also "magical" for you? Do you feel that there is still "Magic" left in some of the newer technological experiences out there?

Norman White: The magic is still there, maybe more than ever, although one of the worst things that has happened to computers is that they've become household appliances. It's got to the point where checking my email is a chore. Instead, the magic is to be found in various tiny cheap components that bend ever more easily to perverse artistic vision... PIC chips, Basic Stamps, and the like.

Jeremy Turner: How exactly did you acquire the ROBOT VideoPhone for Bill Bartlett? How hard would it be for a Canadian Artist Run Centre to acquire the most cutting edge technology today for artistic use? What is your secret?

Norman White: "I never owned a ROBOT VideoPhone, nor do I remember getting one for Bill. Slow-Scan TV was never really my thing, although I can remember witnessing some brilliant uses of the medium while attending Worldpool events, where they used a borrowed VideoPhone (someone simply called up the distributor)."

Interview with Norman White, by Jeremy Turner, 2003: link)

Resources: link)

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Page last modified on Monday 17 of September, 2007 10:18:04 CEST by 1.1.