Eduardo Kac, Dialogical Drawing, network diptych, 1994, 28 x 11.2 in (71 x 28.5 cm).
What is the condition of the art object in the age of networking and telematics? The piece entitled Dialogical Drawing, 1994, by Eduardo Kac, addresses this question by presenting two identical objects simultaneously at two distinct exhibition venues at two geographically remote locations. At first the viewer contemplates the piece in the same manner that she normally looks at wall-mounted works of art. The viewer stands at a comfortable distance and sees a composition of lines, circles, and rectangles created with circuit boards, wires, microphone, and speaker embedded on a vertical mahogany piece. Because the viewer does not see antennae or external wires, she considers the piece a discrete art object, like a painting or sculpture. Soon, however, the viewer notices that sounds are in fact coming from the speaker. The viewer moves closer to the piece and listens more closely. Surprised, the viewer realizes that the sounds are human voices coming live from another location. Ceasing to contemplate the object, the viewer now engages the other viewer co-present in a remote location. Both viewers start an improvised dialogue which constitutes, in essence, the "drawing" alluded to in the title of the piece.
Dialogical Drawing was realized as a point-to-point connection between the Center for Contemporary Art, University of Kentucky, Lexington, and the Museum of Brazilian Art, Fundação Armando Alvares Penteado, São Paulo, Brazil (October 21-November 11, 1994).
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