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Stan Vanderbeek Stan VanDerBeek in front of his environmental movie theatre Movie-Drome at Stoney Point, New York, c. 1966

Stan VanDerBeek (January 6, 1927 – September 19, 1984) was an American experimental filmmaker known for his collage works. [1]

A pioneer in the development of experimental film and live-action animation techniques, Stan VanDerBeek achieved widespread recognition in the American avant-garde cinema. An advocate of the application of a utopian fusion of art and technology, he began making films in 1955. In the 1960s, he produced theatrical, multimedia pieces and computer animation, often working in collaboration with Bell Telephone Laboratories. In the 1970s, he constructed a 'Movie Drome' in Stony Point, New York, which was an audiovisual laboratory for the projection of film, dance, magic theater, sound and other visual effects. His multimedia experiments included movie murals, projection systems, planetarium events and the exploration of early computer graphics and image-processing systems.[1]

VanDerBeek wrote: It is imperative that we quickly find some way for the entire level of world human understanding to rise to a new human scale. The scale is the world' The risks are the life or death of this world. The technological explosion of this last half-century, and the implied future are overwhelming, man is running the machines of his own invention… while the machine that is man… runs the risk of running wild. Technological research, development, and involvement of the world community has almost completely out-distanced the emotional-sociological (socio-'logical') comprehension of this technology. The 'technique-power' and 'culture-over-reach' that is just beginning to explode in many parts of the earth, is happening so quickly that it has put the logical fulcrum of man’s intelligence so far outside himself that he cannot judge or estimate the results of his acts before he commits them. The process of life as an experiment on earth has never been made clearer. It is this danger — that man does not have time to talk to himself — that man does not have the means to talk to other men. The world hangs by a thread of verbs and nouns. Language and cultural-semantics are as explosive as nuclear energy. It is imperative that we (the world’s artists) invent a new world language…'[1]

From Art & Electronic Media:

In 1956, Philips engineers helped Nicolas Schöffer create CYSP I, which employed an “electronic brain” connected to sensors that enabled the human-scale kinetic sculpture to respond to changes in sound, light intensity and colour, and movement, including that of the audience. The whole sculpture moves on four rollers and its sixteen polychrome plates, which pivot and spin at different rates depending on external stimulus. It premiered in a performance with the Maurice Bejart dance company, interacting with the dancers on the roof of Le Corbusier’s Cité Radieuse, accompanied by concrete music composed by Pierre Henry. This early responsive, robotic sculpture is perhaps the first work of art to explicitly incorporate the principles of cybernetics (CYSP is an acronym formed from the first two letters of the words cybernetic and spatiodynamic). It has had an extensive exhibition history and the sculpture survives in the artist’s estate.

From Leonardo Archive:

The whole is set on a base mounted on four rollers, which contains the mechanism and the electronic brain. The plates are operated by small motors located under their axis. Photo-electric cells and a microphone built into the whole catch all the variations in the fields of color, light intensity and sound intensity. All these changes occasion reactions on the part of the sculpture consisting of combined travel and animation.

For example: it is excited by the color blue, which means that it moves forward, retreats or makes a quick turn, and makes its plates turn fast; it becomes calm with red, but at the same time it is excited by silence and calmed by noise. It is also excited in the dark and becomes calm en intense light.

Inasmuch as these phenomena are constantly variable, the reactions are likewise ever changing and unpredictable, which endows the mechanism with an almost organic life and sensitivity.

From Whitney:

As the preeminent institution devoted to the art of the United States, the Whitney Museum of American Art presents the full range of twentieth-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works by living artists. The Whitney is dedicated to collecting, preserving, interpreting, and exhibiting American art, and its collection—arguably the finest holding of twentieth-century American art in the world—is the Museum's key resource. The Museum's signature exhibition, the Biennial, is the country's leading survey of the most recent developments in American art.

Innovation has been a hallmark of the Whitney since its beginnings. It was the first museum dedicated to the work of living American artists and the first New York museum to present a major exhibition of a video artist (Nam June Paik in 1982). Such figures as Jasper Johns, Cy Twombly, and Cindy Sherman were given their first museum retrospectives by the Whitney. The Museum has consistently purchased works within the year they were created, often well before the artists became broadly recognized. The Whitney was the first museum to take its exhibitions and programming beyond its walls by establishing corporate-funded branch facilities, and the first museum to undertake a program of collection-sharing (with the San Jose Museum of Art) in order to increase access to its renowned collection.

Designed by architect Renzo Piano and situated between the High Line and the Hudson River, the Whitney's new building vastly increases the Museum’s exhibition and programming space, providing the most expansive view ever of its unsurpassed collection of modern and contemporary American art.

References: 1. https://whitney.org/about