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Fiche de veille (Document) :

Catalogue - 9 Evenings Reconsidered: art, theatre and engineering, 1966

Information bibliographique complète
O'Doherty and interview with Herb Schneider
Type de document
Mode de participation
2- Documentation des arts médiatiques

Veilleur : Tagny Duff

"These records tend to be more impressively imaginative than the events themselves: the historical audience, seeking text-book photos, will regret they were not there." - Brian O'Doherty (75)

The catalogue, 9 Evenings Reconsidered: art, theatre and engineering revisits the process of collaboration, creation and public reception of the experimental performance event staged at the 69 Regiment Armory in New York City 1966. It accompanies the exhibition of archival documents from the event currently displayed at the Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery at Concordia University in Montreal. Two essays published by Lucy Lippard and Brian O'Doherty shortly after the event are featured in the catalogue along with three contemporary essays by curator Catherine Morris, writers Clarisse Bardiot and Michelle Kuo. An interview with Herb Schneider is also featured among a number of reproduced colour slides, B & W photos, and diagrams of performances.

Documents printed in the catalogue include artist sketches, handwritten notation and technical diagrams, photographs of artists posing for staged photo ops, publicity material (posters etc), and snapshots of artists and engineers planning and in rehearsal. Details of artist statements by key iconic members of the New York avant guard including John Cage, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman among others, are included with references to the technical and creative engineering by Billy Kluver, Herb Schneider and other engineers. These are intermingled with full-page reproductions of blurry and underexposed slides and still photos that evoke nostalgic melancholy.

The documents in the catalogue (and exhibition) are presented as representational artifacts of the now (in)famous event. However, the documents may experienced as seductive aestheticized images that are, in and of themselves, performative of nostalgia for a past that seeps through the excess of its present display. Catherine Morris suggests that 9 Evenings is "a historical model of how technology and art can interact as catalysts for creative intellectual development." However, I take a more cautious reading of the context and desires upon which such a history is re-activated. The repetitious appearance of military contexts and interests (the armory and the interest by MIT as a funder of the project -a military funded educational centre), and similar affectations propelling experimentation and technological innovation fueled by war time measures, (The Vietnam War and the War in Iraq/The War on Terror), reflect a disconcerting continuity in the relation between technological experimentation and innovation in North American history.

Liens :

The Leonard and Bina Ellen Gallery, Concordia University - 9 Evenings Reconsidered Exhibition
Online (Page consulted March 30, 2007)
Website publication (Fondation Daniel Langlois): 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering by Clarisse Bardiot
Online (Page consulted March 30, 2007)
E.A.T - 9 Evenings: theatre and engineering
Online (Page consulted March 30, 2007)

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