9 evenings reconsidered at Tesla Berlin

Though Berlin is known for its creative potential and thus seduces a lot of artists to move here – but I guess still more for the still very obvious possibilities of an unfinished city environment in constant development, than because of stimulating exhibitions of the art scene. All those who came here, might have learned that the ‘poor, but sexy’ slogan, which the major Wowereit proclaimed some time time ago, also has its downsides when it comes to substitute and support up-to-date developments. Besides the offering of relatively cheap spaces the financial situation for advanced experiments in arts and culture is still very limited, and the future looks even a bit bleaker. During this summer the state of Berlin decided to shorten the substitution for almost the only considerable art space dealing with new media.

the state of berlin is discontinuing the only institution that consistently focuses on work with art and media across the genres, after an experiment of just over two years (beginning in april of 2005). during this time, tesla has developed into an internationally recognized laboratory, in which art is produced, experienced, and reflected upon. here, important new productions are shown in berlin for the first time. in cooperation with numerous local and international partners, tesla’s media art program enriches the cultural landscape of berlin. the residence program makes a variety of probing and researching art-works possible. the tesla salon offers a unique platform in berlin for intense discourse about current artistic practice. >>> link
call for action (for english scroll down)
Currently there is one good chance to see some of the work done by Tesla, as since last saturday one of their last shows presents 9 evenings reconsidered, the legendary event from 1966 (see also earlier post):

9 evenings reconsidered: art, theatre, and engineering, 1966
exhibition by the mit visual arts center
curated by catherine morris

this mit exhibition recalls the ‘9 evenings’ festival in october, 1966, in new york’s 69th regiment armory hall. that event marked the first project conceived to bring artists and engineers to cooperate in the creative process. it was also the birthplace of interactive performance. participants included painter and choreographer robert rauschenberg, composer john cage, dancers and choreographers lucinda childs and deborah hay, dancer steve paxton, and film-maker and choreographer yvonne rainer, among others.

billy klüver, the electrical engineer at bell labs who initiated the legendary ”experiments in art and technology” (eat), was the driving force behind the event. he paired each artist with a bell labs engineer to create a performance. this process made the participating artists – many of whom later deeply influenced their students and other colleagues – aware of the significance that technological advances would have for their artistic work. klüver wrote:

”the 9 evenings were the liberating attempt by ten artists to find out whether it is possible to work together with engineers. to achieve their goal, they dared to delve deep into the realm of the unknown…”

link to 9 evenings archive on Langlois Foundation
9 evenings DVD

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