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Art/Science Forum Edited by Susannah Gardiner P.U.L.S.E.Exhibit, 1987 Providing continuity with the past, Duchamp's Rotorelief (Optical Disks, 1935, 1953), a mesmerizing group of whirling Chinese lantern disks, was a reminder of the Dada artists' intriguing experiments with mechanical movement and machine imagery. Jean Tinguely's anticsculpture TokyoGaI(Fig. l),a playful mechanical female made of radio parts and powered by an electric motor that frenetically waved a twirling feather while a loudspeaker transmitted the squawk by Julie Wosk It has been a little more than 2o Years sincethe art world witnesseda series of events reflecting a renewed interest in the creative interactions of art and technology. The year 1966 marked the founding in New York of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), an organization bringing together artists and engineers for collaborative projects which later constructedand designed the Pepsi-Cola Pavilion at Expo '70 in Osaka, Japan. The series Nine Evenings: Theatre and Engineering was produced by Billy Kliiver of Bell Labs and the artist Robert Rauschenberg also in 1966. In 1967 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art launched itsArt and TechnologyProgram, in which 23artists spent a year or more in residence at the laboratories of major California corporations, including I.B.M., Lockheed, Philco and Teledyne, where they produced technological sculptures. And in 1968 New York's Museum of Modern Art held the exhibit TheMachine at the End of the Mechanical Age, which provided a thoughtful overview of art with mechanical and technological imagery; the exhibit also included nine winnersof a competition forart-and-technology projects sponsoredby E.A.T. (the other entries, which numbered over 130, were exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art's show Some New Beginnings). Providing an illuminating tribute to and extension of those experimental projects of the 1960sand early 1970s,an exhibit titled P.U.L.S.E.was presented in April and May 1987at a gallery space in New York, offering viewers a chance to reevaluate art and technology's past and present. P.U.L.S.E., whose name is an acronym for People Using Light, Sound, and Energy, featured works by 14 artists ranging from such familiar names as Marcel Duchamp to young, contemporary artists. Julie Wosk (educator). State University of New York,MaritimeCollege,Department of Humanities, Bronx. NY 10465, U.S.A. Fig. 1. Jean Tinguely, Tokyo Gal, electric motor, flywheel, radio parts and feather, 29 X 10.5 X 5.5 in, 1967. 0 1988 EAST PergamonPressplc. Printed in Great Britain. 0024-094X/88 $3.0010.00 LEONARDO, Vol. 21,NO.3,pp. 318-321,1988 York:Self-constructing andSelf-Destroying Machine, which set itself on fire in the courtyard of New York’s Museum of Modern Art on 17 March 1960. The P.U.L.S.E. exhibit sculptures also reflected a continuation of 1960sexperiments with neon light, electromagnetism, and interactive and autokineticsculptures. Takis, known for his electromagnetic sculptures of 20years ago,wasrepresented by Signal, which with the aid of magnets plucked a guitarstring. High abovein the air were the twirling neon rods of Alejandro and Moira Siga’s electronic sculpture Helicoil (1987). James Seawright, who since the 1960shas been noted for his computer-programmed, viewer-responsive metal sculptures, presented two recent works that linked the natural and mechanical worlds. House Plants (1984, 1986) consisted of four mechanical ‘flowers’programmed to raise and lower at random their metal ‘petals’, which were lined with flashing rows of lights and flapping green disks that moved in response to changes in room light. One of the show’s most popular works was George Rhoads’s sculpture WallPiece (1986), which added a note of charm to previous experiments with autokineticsculpture. Resembling a large pinball machine hungsideways, Rhoads’s sculpture sent balls propelled by gravity sliding down ramps and setting off bells, while fascinated viewers tracked and traced its fully visible mechanism. In the midst of these more familiar configurations of technology and art was evidence of a striking change of direction. While artists of the 1960sand 1970swere engaged in exploring new applications of technology to art, working out technical problems and experimenting with computers , video, electronics, sound and light, several of the...


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