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Projects Outside Art

1969 - 1971


Poster/Announcement from Projects Outside Art

E.A.T. grew out of the experience of 9 Evenings and the desire of the participants  to give  more artists access to the new technology. But the goal was not only to make new art possible, but E.A.T., as Klüver and Rauschenberg wrote in an early newsletter was based on  ”a deep commitment to the contemporary artist as an essential force in society and the strong belief that effective working relationships between artists, engineers and scientists could lead to new possibilities benefiting society as a whole.”


E.A.T.’s initial activities were to undertake projects that could involve engineers and scientists in working with artists  on the  artist’s individual projects, especially the matching system  for fining member engineers to work with artists.  However, As E.A.T. developed its own projects and explored forms of collaboration between artists and engineers and scientists,  goals or outcomes were not works of art. The first project was designing, building and programming the Pepsi Pavilion in the non-art environment of a World’s Fair, Expo ’70. The Pavilion was somewhat of hybrid, as several of the artists did contribute works of art to the project, but all of them participated in the larger goal of creating an rich visual and sound environment to engage the thousands of visitors who would pass through the Pavilion each day.


When in 1969, Billy Klüver met Vikram Sarabhai, Head of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission  who was in charge of educational programming for the  ATS-F satellite that the US was providing to India, he and the E.A.T. staff became more interested in the role of innovative communications technology in economic development. At the invitation of Dr. Sarabhai, E.A.T. assembled a team of American artists, engineers, scientists, and education specialists who in December 1969 traveled to India and worked with their Indian counterparts to developed proposals for educational programming for satellite broadcast in rural India.


Klüver and Whitman, who was increasingly active in E.A.T. projects in the early ’70s, together with the staff of E.A.T. focused on the projects in which artists could be part of a multi-disciplinary team that  addresses issues of social concern to the society.


The first such project titled be titled “Projects Outside Art"  was to organize  an exhibition of five “realizable projects in the environment to demonstrate the possibilities for society of the collaboration between artists, engineers, scientists and other professionals, in which the artist uses his insight, intelligence and energy to contribute to areas of society outside art; it is also to demonstrate how members of the technical community can become directly involved in physical projects of social concern."


E.A.T. began by requesting proposals from E.A.T. members and others on the mailing list in the form of drawings, ideas, and published articles. Projects for the exhibition, as outlined in the flyer, should ”deal with such areas as education, health, housing, environmental control, transportation, communication food production and distribution, leisure activities and entertainment.” On the basis of the proposals submitted, a committee would select broad project areas and for each project area a team of different professionals who would collaborate in developing the project.


The project areas and members of the selection committee were announced by letter, July 1, 1970, by Jacquelyn Serwer, E.A.T.'s exhibition coordinator for the project. The selection committee consisted of William Lambert, professor of psychology at Sir George Williams University, Montreal; John W. Pan, supervisor of digital techniques and systems studies at Bell Telephone Laboratories, Holmdel, New Jersey; Nicholas Quennell, architect practicing in New York City; and   Robert Whitman E.A.T. staff, including Billy Klüver, Julie Martin, Peter Poole, and Ritty Burchfield.


The exhibition would concentrate on the following three areas: “City Agriculture," a vegetable roof garden atop Automation House to be executed by E.A.T. in collaboration with the Environmental Research Laboratory at the University of Arizona in Tucson, coordinated by Peter Poole; "Children and Communication," an environment allowing children to interact with new communications equipment, in collaboration with Marcia Newfield, a researcher at Bell Laboratories, coordinated by Robert Whitman; “Recreation and Play”, using innovative approaches to the recreation experience in the natural environment, to be developed by E.A.T. Los Angeles and coordinated by Ardison Phillips.


The three projects that formally which made up Projects outside Art -- “City Agriculture," "Children and Communication," and "Recreation and Play" -- were considered demonstration projects, intended to find new ways of involving artists engineers and scientists and other professional in collaborative endeavors to make imaginative use of available physical, academic and intellectual resources in areas of social concern. They would ideally result in reasonable, workable models linking individuals to state-of-the-art technology in an environment where it was considered hard to do things, whether using technology to expand the experiences of school children in urban American or incorporating local input into instructional television programming in rural India.

00262 City Agriculture sm.jpg

City Agriculture

Childern and communication

Children and Communication

183. Experiments in Art and Technology, Los Angeles. E.A.T.-LA Survey. No. 5.jpg

Recreation and Play

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