Directed by Barbro Schultz Lundestam
Produced by Billy Klüver for Experiments in Art and Technology
Edited by Ken Weissman
Filmed by Alfons Schilling
In 1966 ten artists worked with more than thirty engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to create works that incorporated new technology for 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, a series of performances presented at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York. The artists included, John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Öyvind Fahlström, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, David Tudor, Robert Whitman and Robert Rauschenberg
Rauschenberg’s work, Open Score, was a performance that started with Frank Stella playing tennis using wired rackets that produced an accompanying score and switched the stage lights off around the Armory. When completely dark, a crowd of 300 entered, the groups movements were projected onto three large screens only visible to the audience via infra-red cameras.
“Tennis is movement, put it in the context of theatre it is a formal dance improvisation. The unlikely use of the game to control the lights and to perform as an orchestra interests me. The conflict is not being able to see an event that is taking place right in front of one except through a reproduction is the sort of double exposure of action. A screen of light and a screen of darkness”
– Robert Rauschenberg, 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, original program
Open Score by Robert Rauschenberg is a documentary produced using raw film and sound material from 9 Evenings that had been untouched in the E.A.T. archives for more than thirty years. In 1996 E.A.T. initiated a project to preserve this footage and use it to make films that reconstruct each of the ten artists’ performances as faithfully as the material permits. Open Score and 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering marked a significant shift in the relationship between art and new technology, with a lineage and historical relevance that can be traced to many of today’s current art practices and their engagement with new technologies.
Curated by Tim Steer.
Barbro Schultz Lundestam is a well-known Swedish journalist and independent documentary filmmaker, specializing in art and cultural subjects.
Experiments in Art and Technology was founded in 1966 by Billy Klüver, Robert Rauschenberg, Fred Waldhauer, and Robert Whitman.
With kind permission from E.A.T., ARTPIX and Microcinema International.
Open Score (Still)
Installation View, 2011
Open Score (Still)