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Hole in space

Hole In Space was an early display of Telepresence featured as a Public Communication sculpture created by artists Kit Golloway and Sherrie Rabinovits.

It was installed, without an announcement to the public, at New York’s Lincoln Center and at the Broadway department store in Century City, Los Angeles. Hole in Space employed the use of two large screens in the two cities linked via a two-way satellite to show the video feeds from New York in L.A. and vice versa. Staying up for three consecutive days, it was intended to connect people via a life-sized video feed with either random people or ones they knew from the other city.

Viva la Revolution

To us, the idea of doing a “Hole in Space” link between two museums where people are standing there, holding cake and wine and looking at each other, and you know, they’ve got their invitation cards, and everyone shows up with the expectation.This is not what we’re talking about as practitioners.

What I felt happened here is one of the many sparks in redefining the boundaries of art. As a very reluctant student of art history, I akin it to a repeat of the ideology behind the realism movement only this time in interactive and technology driven art. From what i understand, realism began after the french revolution , naturally it was a protest against romanticism, rejecting its exotic subject matter and the idealised classicism of academic art in favour of down to earth concepts and the depiction of the common man. 

In essence the same holds true to some extent, where Kit Galloway and Sherrie Rabinowitz removes the boundaries of high art. Taking it out of the display of a museum onto a public street exposed to the masses, and rightly so; as the piece was never meant to be analyzed by the academia nor be ogled by the rich or the educated. It was meant to experienced by the world, the very people that in time were to be the ones that had to accept and adapt to the changes of technology and with it connectivity, it was the rehearsal for web whether they knew it or not and also the staging point for the Gesamtwerk- the collective artwork.

Rehearsal for Web

And so, “Hole in Space” had a day of discovery, and then a couple of other days. So it grew and grew, people phoned each other and started meeting intentionally, but it was organized by itself. So we created the context, as artists, or authors, then walked away, and then the people sort of finished the work.

The significance of this piece, is that it wasn’t just a window between two locations, LA and New York. It was a window into the future, a step towards hyper-connectivity, It was from this work that we started to understand how the relationship between space and community was being rewritten by technology. This was the first publicly shown evidence of the 3rd space. The space no longer governed by distance, or even actual physical space for that matter.

The Hole-in-space was thought to the crowning achievement in closing the boundaries of space and even time.  At that point even the creators did not forsee the rise of the internet, or even the possibilities of public telecommunications. Who knew that in a few short years our world had advanced to a point where the distance we close through connectivity goes well into the unfathomable. Coupled with the mobility of the technology and the evolution of the many-to-many paradigm we have eroded any semblance and boundaries of distance and time. We have created whole communities within virtual spaces. The 3rd space, is not longer an impossible goal or lavish dream, is has become part of our culture. To most of us, It’s just another hole in the wall.

If you’re hungry for more! Check out Scribbles of a Mind in Stasis.

Join us next week where we discuss the shifting role of the artist. And with it the redefinition of the role of the viewer. 

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