Computer Communication Conference

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Computer Communication Conference


Bartlett Bill , Robert Adrian


1979 d.c.




La Computer Communication Conference è stato uno dei primi esperimenti ad aver coinvolto direttamente artisti nella sperimentazione dell'arte telematica. Fu organizzata da Bartlett Bill nel 1979 a Toronto con la partecipazione di Robert Adrian e di altri artisti canadesi, australiani, statunitensi, giapponesi e austriaci tra cui l’artista Robert Adrian. L’evento era realizzato grazie alla tecnologia messa a disposizione da un’azienda timesharing, l’I.P. Sharp Associates ( IPSA), di cui facevano parte Richard Kriesche e Gottfried Bach e che forniva tempo gratis per connessioni on-line tramite computer in occasione di Interplay, un progetto di arte e telecomunicazione all’interno del programma Computer Culture Canada. Per l’occasione, l’IPSA aveva aperto una succursale a Vienna.

Segue un estratto da una mailing list riguardante una descrizione fatta direttamente da Adrian Robert relativa alla C.C.C. ed all'Interplay indirizzo originale : : Nettime mailing list archives

robert adrian on 19 Mar 2001 16:18:54 -0000

Re: <nettime> Qx2 Bartlett/Interplay

To: nettime-l {AT} Subject: Re: <nettime> Qx2 Bartlett/Interplay From: robert adrian <rax {AT}> Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2001 12:44:23 +0100 Reply-To: robert adrian <rax {AT}> Sender: nettime-l-request {AT}

Moges Abebe wrote: ... I need a visual description of Bartlett's 1979 work "Interplay." I know the technology that they used and all the cities across the globe that were involved in it but I don't know EXACTLY what it was they did and why it is ART rather than just communication. Could someone please assist me?

A visual description of a computer communication conference is basically just a description of people sitting in front of computer terminals.

In Toronto, Interplay took place in the context of the first Computer Culture Exposition during the 1979 Toronto Super8 Film Festival. In the catalogue to 'Computer Culture 81', Richard Hill wrote:

"The term 'Computer Culture' was sparked in a lively conversation between Richard Hill, Sheila Hill and Willoughby Sharp while brainstorming about a small computer-related art exhibition to accompany the 1979 Toronto Super8 Film Festival. The ideas quickly blossomed into having displays and demonstrations coupled with an eight day workshop program ranging from education and robotics to networking and computer imagery."

Bill Bartlett's contribution was the 'networking' part, presumably with the help of Norman White with his contacts at I.P. Sharp Associates (IPSA) who provided the computer network. Bartlett invited artists in cities around the world with an IPSA office to join the project: a computer conference in the framework of a public networking workshop. Each of the invited artists went to the IPSA office in their city and asked for free access to the IPSA network for the project as promised by IPSA HQ. This usually meant working from the local office - except for those lucky enough to have access to a private computer terminal.

So Interplay was basically an 'on-line chat' and its 'product' was the printout that scrolled from the terminal/ printers around the world (computer monitors were costly and rare in 1979).

I organised the Vienna location and worked from the IPSA office while the local IPSA manager took a terminal to a radio station (ORF) and used it to provide input for a live radio broadcast on Kunst Heute, a weekly art programme. I have no idea how it looked at other locations but Bill Bartlett might have some data. I have an email address for him if anyone is interested.

The interesting thing about the Computer Culture 81 text is the fact that "networking" was thought to be an appropriate topic for an arts workshop in 1979. Even more interesting is the fact the CC 79 exposition jumped from film to digital without including video - no mention of video in the CC 81 catalogue! Why?

Was it art? I include such events in my CV as art projects so obviously I think it was. One of the motivations for artists to work with telecommuni- cations was the growing awareness that political, military, commercial and financial power was migrating to communications networks. Penetration of these networks by artists could perhaps make them visible and maybe even begin to map their growing social and cultural influence (proto-hacktivism?).

robert adrian <>

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