Sonic Acts is a biannual festival at the intersection of arts, science, music & technology.

In his lecture Robert Whitman discusses the way that he has used space as part of the vocabulary of his installation and performance pieces. In 1966 Whitman was one of the New York artists who worked with Billy Klüver and more than 30 engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to create works for the now legendary 9 Evenings. Whitman was also one of the co-founders of Experiments in Art and Technology along with Billy Klüver, Fred Waldhauer and Robert Rauschenberg. And he was one of the core artists for the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ’70, in Osaka, a project administered by E.A.T. One of the main features of the interior of the Pavilion was the central performance space in a 90 feet diameter 120 degree spherical mirror made of aluminized reflective PET film, which produced real images of the visitors hanging upside down in space.

Robert Whitman (US) is best known for the more than forty seminal theatre pieces he produced during the early 1960s that combined audio, actors, film, slides and evocative props in environments of his own making. Since the late 1960s he has collaborated with engineers, scientists and artists on installations and works that incorporate new technology: laser sculptures, optical reflector systems, and more recently, cell phones.

This lecture was part of Sonic Acts XIII within a session called Utopian Spectacles. This session was about the following: The connection of the arts and technology in the 1950s and 1960s spawned many events that by now are legendary, beginning with the Vortex Concerts of Jacobs and Belson, and ‘culminating’ in the Pepsi Pavilion of 1970. The radical approach to space and the utopian spirit of these events and works continues to inspire artists to this very day.

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