Robert Rauschenberg and 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering
New York, October 1966. At the initiative of artist Robert Rauschenberg and engineer Billy Klüver, ten artists, dancers, and composers worked together closely with a group of engineers and scientists to develop projects at the interface of art, theater, dance, music, film, and technology. The results of this interdisciplinary collaboration were presented on nine evenings.
In addition to Rauschenberg, other artists included Öyvind Fahlström and Alex Hay. Also participating were the musician John Cage, the dancers and choreographers Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, and Lucinda Childs, composer and musician David Tudor as well as Robert Whitman, known for his theater works.
"At the first meeting between the artists and the engineers [...] I told the artists that they could ask for anything they wanted, and I asked the engineers to respond with suggestions on how to accomplish these ideas, if they could be realized at all", Billy Klüver remembers. The resulting performances were viewed by 10,000 audience members. For the first time, new technological achievements such as the infrared camera and video projection could be presented in an artistic context. Rauschenberg continued to be interested in the interdisciplinary exchange between artists and engineers. A year later he and Klüver together founded the organization E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology), which aimed to offer artists access to new technologies.
Hamburger Bahnhof presents a documentation of these 9 Evenings in the Kleihues Exhibition Hall. The exhibition is based on original film material, which remained buried in the E.A.T. archives for decades. Thanks to these films, which will be alternated on a monthly basis, it is possible to rediscover a seminal event of performance and media-based art from a variety of perspectives. Rauschenberg's works from the Marx Collection will also be presented in a fresh context.