Program 2 - Telepresence

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

The Ornitorrinco Project
With Ed Bennett, 1989, 04:45, U.S., color, sound, video

This video documents The Ornitorrinco Project, a telepresence artwork that pioneered the field of telerobotics and telepresence in art which lasted from 1989 to 1996. The Ornitorrinco Project was the first artwork that allowed users in public and private spaces to remotely access a fully mobile and wireless robot, and alter its remote
location via the telephone network and the Internet (teleoperation). This video documents the works Ornitorrinco in Copacabana (1992) and Ornitorrinco in the Eden (1994).

Essay Concerning Human Understanding
With Ikuo Nakamura, 1994, 00:38, U.S., color, sound, video

Video documenting and explaining the inter-species communication artwork entitled Essay Concerning Human Understanding. This is a live, bi-directional, interactive, sonic piece that promotes a dialogue between a bird and a plant in different locations. The work was first exhibited from October 21st to November 11th, 1994, simultaneously at the Center for Contemporary Art at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the New York Hall of Science, New York City.

Rara Avis
1996, 02:44, U.S., color, sound, video

Video documenting Rara Avis, a telepresence artwork in which participants interact with birds in the gallery space – locally and remotely – from the point of view of a telerobotic macaw located in a large aviary. The work was originally exhibited from June 28th to August 24th, 1996, at the Nexus Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta.

Teleporting an Unknown State
1994, 01:03, U.S., color, sound, video

Video presenting the artwork Teleporting an Unknown State through which the Internet becomes a life-supporting system to a living plant. In this work, remote participants send light from the sky of worldwide locations via the Internet, in real time, to enable the plant to photosynthesize and grow in total darkness. The work was first presented from August 4th to August 9th, 1996, at the Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans.

The Telepresence Garment
1995, 01:18, Russia/U.S., color, sound, video

Video documenting and explaining the artwork The Telepresence Garment, which allowed two different groups in distant places (A and B) to meet in a third space (C) through their remote bodies. While one group (at Place A) controls the body of the telebot Ornitorrinco, another group (at Place B) controls the body of the garment wearer. The garment wearer (i.e. the local participant donning the Telepresence Garment) and the telebot Ornitorrinco share the same physical space (Place C). Participants in place A and B used videophones to navigate the third space (Place C) through their remote bodies. The artwork was experienced on October 5th, 1996, at the IV St. Petersburg Biennial, Russia.

Darker Than Night
1999, 01:08, The Netherlands/U.S., color, sound, video

Video documenting the telepresence artwork Darker Than Night, which explores the human-robot-animal interface as a means of mediating relations of empathy. In this interactive piece, the participants, a telerobotic bat (batbot) and over 300 Egyptian fruit bats, share a cave and become aware of their mutual presence through sonar emissions and frequency conversions. The piece was shown from June 16th to July 9th, 1999, in a bat cave at the Blijdorp Zoological Gardens in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

1996–99, 03:32, Japan/U.S., color, sound, video

Video presenting the telepresence artwork Uirapuru, in which local and remote participants navigate a forest installed in the gallery space through a robotic flying fish that hovers above it. Audio and video from the flying fish’s point of view are streamed on the Web. Pingbirds (robotic birds) sing Amazonian bird songs in the gallery in response to the rhythm of Internet traffic (sampled as the Pingbirds send ping commands to a server in the Amazon). The work was shown from October 15th to November 28h, 1999, at the InterCommunication Center, Tokyo, Japan.