Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.)

Mirror Dome Room at the Pepsi Pavilion, at Expo ’70, Osaka Japan, Photo Shunk-Kender
Mirror Dome Room at the Pepsi Pavilion, at Expo ’70, Osaka Japan, Photo Shunk-Kender

Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) was launched in 1967 by the engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and the artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman. These men had previously collaborated in 1966 when they together organised 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a series of performance art presentations that united artists and engineers. 10 New York artists worked with 30 engineers and scientists from the world-renowned Bell Telephone Laboratories to create groundbreaking performances that incorporated new technology.

Artists involved with 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering include: John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Öyvind Fahlström, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor and Robert Whitman. Notable engineers involved include: Bela Julesz, Billy Klüver, Max Mathews, John Pierce, Manfred Schroeder and Fred Waldhauer.

E.A.T. was an organisation established to develop collaborations between artists and engineers. The group operated by facilitating person-to-person contacts between artists and engineers, rather than defining a formal process for cooperation. E.A.T. initiated and carried out projects that expanded the role of the artist in contemporary society and helped eliminate the separation of the individual from technological change.

In September 2016, Arts Catalyst presents an exhibition chronicling the history of E.A.T. called Arts Catalyst presents Experiments in Art and Technology (Thu 22 September – Sat 29 October 2016). Alongside the exhibition, Arts Catalyst has commissioned Robert Whitman to produce a new performance Side Effects, to be showcased as part of an event 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering Revisited, 1966/2016 (Friday 7 October 2016).