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Institutions for Digital Art

There have been several institutions put into place to showcase digital art such as the ZKM in Karlsruhe, Germany, the ICC in Tokyo or the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz, Austria which are produced with support from organizations such as the Banff New Media Center in Canada, Canon Artlab in Japan, or V2 in the Netherlands (Paul 71).

Dan Graham's Two Consciousness Projection

In Two Consciousness Projection (1973), Dan Graham has begun to explore the active viewer vs. the passive viewer. Two people are asked to speak about the other while being videotaped in front of an audience. Their faces are projected on live video screens. While one speaks of the other, the other's reaction is shown, and vice-versa. They create the performance, while simultaneously view the performance (Goldberg 162).

Vito Acconci Claim

In his piece, Claim, Acconci sits in the basement of a gallery, blindfolded with a crowbar, while he is being recorded on a live feed to the gallery above. He recites, "I don't want anybody to come down here, I want to believe this, I have to believe this." He must defend the space and himself, while at the same time, he cannot, as his eyes are obstructed. Like Abramovic and John Cage, he places the piece in the viewers' hands.


Guy Debord/The Situationists

Guy Debord was one of the founders of the Situationists, and published The Society of Spectacle in 1967, describing the state of influence that media and pop culture had taken over the general populace. The Situationists looked to blur the lines between art and life and construct situations within the everyday placing value in interaction.

Sony Portapak

The Portapak was introduced by Sony in 1967. "The first Portapaks were entirely in the hands of the military and they were used basically to check where their napalm or bombs had gone. Like virtually everything in our society, the driving force is actually conquest" (Meigh-Andrews (61). However, the Portapak made video art available to the masses, placing it directly in the hands of the artist (9). Namely artists working against pop culture and mass media. A growing number of homes had televisions in them, and what was being viewed on the television was being filtered. The artists could now choose what was being recorded and projected, as well as manipulate that transmission. Significant events that were broadcast, such as Abraham Zapruder's recording of the Kennedy Assassination in 1963 demonstrated the power of what a camera could record.


Nam June Paik's Random Access

Nam June Paik has been called "the founding father of video art" after purchasing the first available Sony Portapak (Meigh-Andrews 16). His work investigates the formal quality of the medium of video and sound recording, dissecting it piece by piece, in order to reassemble it in new ways.
In Paik's piece, Random Access, he takes cassette tapes apart, places them flat against a wall, and provides the spool for listeners to rub against on the tape and listen to what these fragments sound like.


Allan Kaprow's 18 Happenings in 6 Parts

In 1959, Allan Kapprow, like John Cage, wished to place more responsibility on the observer. He sent invitations stating, "you will become a part of the happenings; you will simultaneously experience them." This paralleling the simultaneity of the Dada movement. Upon arrival to this mysterious event, "some guests received envelopes containing paper, photos, wood, and other media." There were three rooms in which events were to take place, including some acting. Chairs were placed facing each other, forcing a sort of dialogue. Each happening in each of the rooms was begin and end with the sounding of a bell, and each group would rotate from room to room with some direction. The performance piece was placed on the observers. Kaprow warned, "the actions will mean nothing clearly formulable so far as the artist is concerned." This early happening would influence future events of this nature.



The launch of Sputnik by the USSR in 1957 during the Cold War prompted the United States to take action to be the leader in technology. The Advanced Research Projects Agency was formed within the Department of Defense. The RAND corporation developed a concept for a self-governed Internet. By 1969 it was created and named ARPANET, formed by four supercomputers at UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, Stanford Research Istitute, and the University of Utah.


In 1946, the University of Pennsylvania presented the world's first digital computer known as ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) and in 1951, a patent was written for the first commercially available computer called UNIVAC (Paul 9).

The Cold War

The Cold War extended between the years of 1947 and 1991 and was a continued state of political and economic tension between the Soviet Union and the United States.

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