An Unfinished Communications Revolution

I was a grad student at CalArts when Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz staged their masterwork Hole-in-Space at Century City in LA, simultaneously connecting Lincoln Center in New York. As I was explaining to Kit while preparing for his upcoming interview on the next installment of Networked Conversations, if only I had known this historic event was happening just a few miles away. His response was that no one knew, no one expected it, it was never announced. One of the earliest (if not the first) satellite art installations, Hole-in-Space, just spontaneously appeared out of nowhere.

The Distributed Artists Network

“The program concept was to link up the world, to demonstrate that we are all part of “our world”… the ground rules for the show included everything had to be live, and that no politicians or heads of state must be seen.” – Our World, 1967

Since the first satellites were launched into space in the 1950s, interconnecting the globe and establishing the planetary locational grid that is GPS, systems of human communications, interactions, enterprise, entertainment, commerce, warfare, and terrorism, have all become increasingly decentralized and distributed.

A History of Optimism for Dark Times

“…this is bigger than about our work… [it’s about] all that needs to be healed to go forward towards an aesthetic of occupying cyberspace… what we want as a cyber world before we hand the keys over to the robots to save us.” – Kit Galloway, February 24, 2017

I had the great pleasure of Skyping with Kit Galloway this week, a stream-of-consciousness conversation that covered everything from the early histories of global satellite spectacles; to the radical social communications events Kit and Sherrie Rabinowitz staged with the Electronic Café; to the dire times we now face in the age of TRUMP. This was in advance of Kit’s interview coming up on April 24 as part of our new series, Networked Conversations, a project of the Third Space Network.

Social Broadcasting

Despite the surging interest in Internet broadcasting – Facebook Live, Twitter Periscope, Livestream, UStream, et al – this emerging phenomenon is still, almost, the same one-to-many paradigm as good old-fashioned network television. There is one essential difference though: you no longer need a television network, a stable of reporters, studio trucks, satellite dishes, high-end cameras, and a corporate budget. No, you can transform yourself into a mobile global broadcaster, using only your iPhone and an Internet connection to beam live images around the

The Collapse of the Real and the Imaginary

“There is no real, there is no imaginary except at a certain distance. What happens when this distance, including that between the real and the imaginary, tends to abolish itself.” – Jean Baudrillard

It all seemed like a dream, at that moment, January 20, 2017, 12 noon, when Donald TRUMP took the oath of office through his allegiance to the Constitution. It was also at that moment that we entered into a phantasmagoria, a surreal chapter in the annals of American history, in which we have seen the collapse between the real and the imaginary.

Made-for-Media Moments

What is going on in this picture? On the surface, it appears to be a fairly innocuous photograph of TRUMP and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the golf course during a pristine day in the Florida sunshine. All is casual, all is relaxed, as both leaders signal a friendly high-5 in their golfing getups. On the right appear to be the caddies, no secret service in this picture, really, it’s just an ordinary Saturday golf game that could be any country club in America where the 1% go about their leisure.