Robert Adrian (AT)

The Art of Being Everywhere - Art and Telecommunications, early projects (1982-1984)

Robert Adrian started to work with telecommunication networks in 1979. In 1980 he initiated a project on the I.P.Sharp network called Artex, a small but global network of artists who used a file sharing network for art and communication projects. In the early 1980s Robert Adrian initiated or took part in art and telecommunication projects which have become widely recognised as seminal early examples of artist's use of telecommunications.

The exhibition Fields presents a documentation of those works in the shape of three videos, five folders and a book. The videos are based on the events The World in 24 Hours, at Ars Electronica 1982, Wiencouver IV, Vancouver and Vienna, 1983, and Telephone Music, Vienna, Berlin and Budapest, 1983. In addition to those videos, the folders cover two further events, La Plissure du Texte, 1983, and Kunstfunk, 1984. The book Art+Telecommunication, which is itself an important early document, edited by Heidi Grundmann, 1984, with texts by Eric Gidney, Roy Ascott, Tom Sherman and Robert Adrian will also be on show. 


World-wide 24 hour telecommunications project conceived by Robert Adrian for Ars Electronica'82, Linz. Artists and groups contributed from 15 cities around the world (Vienna, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Bath, Wellfleet, Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Honolulu, Tokyo, Sydney, Istanbul, Florence and Athens). 


Media: 3 telephone lines (including 1 control line) were available in Linz so that, in principle, the remote locations could use up to 3 telephone-based media in any combination - in reality this meant slow-scan TV, Fax, computer network and/or telephone audio. 


Program: The project ran for 24 hours beginning and ending at 12 noon in Linz (CET). Following the mid-day sun around the world, each location was called from Linz at 12:00 local time and exchanged material with the Linz location for about one hour. But, because the world of electronic communications only included capitalist industrialised countries, vast areas were blank - which meant that in some cases several locations were crammed into the same time zone (i.e. CET and EST) while zones in Asia, India, Eastern Europe, Africa and South America are empty.

WIENCOUVER IV (1979-1983)

Slow-scan TV and telephone music project between Vancouver and Vienna, conceived and organised by Robert Adrian and Hank Bull. On Dec. 4, 1983 sound and Image from live performances by artists in Vancouver and Vienna were sent and received on 2 phone lines - one line for sound and one line for Video (slow-scan). The event - a low-tech interactive TV program - lasted for about 3 hours. Due to the time difference the event in Vancouver took place at 11:00 as a Sunday brunch while in Vienna it was an evening event starting at 20:00. In Vienna a preliminary Telephone Music exchange  with Warsaw and Berlin took place between 18:00 and 20:00. 


Live telephone concert between artists in "western" Vienna, divided Berlin and "eastern" Budapest. The concept was to simply ignore the political borders and use the electronic territory of the telephone network to produce a collective artwork. No permission was asked and no problems encountered. Blix used the small budget provided by the Österreichische Kulturservice to call the other partners who just connected their equipment (illegally) to the telephone and sent their sounds. 

Organisation Vienna: Blix. Location: ÖKS studio 

Organisation Budapest: Artpool (Gyorgy& Julia Galantai), 

Organisation Berlin: AufbauAbbau (Reinald Schumacher).


Robert Adrian 1935, Toronto. Lives since 1972 in Vienna.

Works with different media including installation, model-making, painting, sculpture, and radio.

Began working with telecommunication technology in 1979 and organised a number of projects involving fax, slow-scan tv, amateur radio, BBSs etc. during the 80s and 90s. In April, 1995 initiated KustradioOn Line, the web-site of the radio-art programmeKunstradio, and managed the site untill April 2000. In 2009 he received the Nam june Paik Centre prize and, in  2011, the Austrian state prize for Media Art.




RIXC comes out with two new publications


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Tickets for the upcoming “Art+Communication'2014” festival audiovisual performances and electronic music concert are now available!


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