Early Telecommunications Work

Program 1 - Early Telecommunications Work

available on Eduardo Kac: Telepresence, Bio Art & Poetry [1980-2010]


1987, 04:13, Brazil, color, silent, video

Conversations is a live Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) work realized at the Centro Cultural Três Rios [Três Rios Cultural Center], in São Paulo, on November 17th, 1987. SSTV allowed the transmission and reception of sequential still video images over regular phone lines. It took from eight to twelve seconds to form each image. Instead of considering each picture as a final form or the sequence of images as illusion of movement, Kac is concerned with the live process of image formation.

1990, 11:05, U.S., color, sound, video

Interfaces is a live Slow-Scan Television (SSTV) exchange between two groups of artists in different locations. Interfaces established a visual dialogue between the participants in a way that was purposefully similar to a verbal exchange between two people — bringing the improvised and spontaneous feedback loop of a personal conversation to the realm of video. This visual conversation explored the characteristic top-to-bottom, vertical rendering of SSTV to produce unexpected faces in real time, dynamically exploring the formation and dissolution of identities online. The piece was conceived and organized by Kac, and took place on December 10th, 1990, simultaneously at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Center for Creative Inquiry at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.

Elasticfax I
1991, 11:41, Brazil, b&w, silent, video

Elasticfax I
is a fax artwork created from a sequence of images transmitted by artists worldwide through fax in order to form a self-editing fax-film. The entire 99ft (30m) roll of thermal fax paper is displayed uncut in one piece on a wall at the gallery space. The viewer animates the fax-film strip as they walk by this telematic scroll. The resulting Elasticfax I video recreates the experience of walking by the scroll. The piece was realized at the Museu de Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1991.

Elasticfax II
1994, 00:20, U.S., b&w, silent, video

Elasticfax II is an artwork created from a sequence of images transmitted through fax by artists worldwide in order to produce a self-organizing fax-film. The fax machine was placed above eye level, to create the feeling of a large projector as the images were received. As the images hit the floor, they formed wavy patterns, thus creating the feeling of a waterfall. As the piece evolved, viewers could explore the sequential images in any order by handling them. This project started with artists being invited through the Internet and images being received by physical fax throughout the show. Once the fax scroll finished, the fax machine was turned off, and the piece became an installation. At the end of the show, the images were scanned in the order received, compiled into a movie and made available for viewing through the Internet, where the project started. The piece was realized combining a digital network (the Internet), an analog network (the telephone system), and a physical space (the gallery space), in the context of Kac’s 1994 solo show Dialogues at the Center for Contemporary Art, University of Kentucky, Lexington.