July 25, 2009
Theory of Telephony in new media

I’ve just been reading some telephony (and related) theory by Adriana de Souza e Silva, Assistant Professor at the Department of Communication at North Carolina State University, which I stumbled on via an article she published in Leonardo that mentions Art by Telephone, Art by telephone: From static to mobile interfaces published in the Leonardo Electronic Almanac (LEA). It seems that Art by Telephone can probably be traced back to Laslo Moholy Nagy:

Laslo Moholy Nagy, considered one of the first artists to create a telepresence piece, experimented using the telephone to transmit directions for fabricating enamel tile paintings. He wrote: In 1922, I ordered by telephone from a sign factory five paintings in porcelain enamel. I had the factory’s color chart before me and I sketched my paintings on graph paper. At the other end of the telephone, the factory supervisor had the same kind of paper, divided into squares. He took down the dictated shapes in the correct position. (It was like playing chess by correspondence.) One of the pictures was delivered in three different sizes, so that I could study the subtle differences in the color relations caused by the enlargement and reduction [3]. Eduardo Kac suggests that nobody knows whether Moholy-Nagy’s story is true or not, because his wife stated that in fact she ordered the paintings in person. Moholy-Nagy’s work, however, whether actual or apocryphal, demonstrates that the artist could be removed from the location of artmaking.

Adriana’s website has a mass of theory worth reading, her publications page is worth a visit, the following caught my attention:

Also in the appendix of Art by telephone: From static to mobile interfaces there is a link to Stephen Wilson’s online appendix for Information Arts: Intersections of Art, Science, and Technology. Even though many of the links to older works and research seem to be broken, the list of names and artists is useful for further research.

    Posted by: Garrett @ 1:05 pm

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