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Clarisse Bardiot

9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering diagrams


9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering
9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering web publication's navigation interface

The texts and other documents that you are about to see are the products of a research project that focused on the technological aspects of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering, a festival that took place in New York in 1966 and that brought together 10 artists and some 30 engineers from the Bell Telephone Laboratories in Murray Hill, NJ.

This study grew out of, and around, diagrams (1) that were published in the program for 9 Evenings. On the cover, a veritable palimpsest of all the diagrams superimposed over one another, a tangle of lines hints at a dense weave of electronic components and stage directions. Presenting documents of this sort in a theatre program is not a very common practice. Completed by Herb Schneider, a Bell Labs engineer, between the end of September and the beginning of October 1966, the diagrams give visible form to the presence of technology in the performances, without, however, going so far as to explain how it was used. (2) They are above all a visual affirmation of the festival’s mandate, the symbol of an encounter between the artist and the engineer.

Clarisse Bardiot © 2006 rev. 2019 FDL

(1) Diagrams for 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering / Herb J. Schneider, 1966, 10 sheets: paper with pencil; 16 x 11 inches (41 x 28 cm). Collection Robert Rauschenberg. Courtesy: Robert Rauschenberg.

(2) In this respect, the diagrams are emblematic of the lack of explanations bearing on the use of technological procedures in 9 Evenings. This was the direct result of a decision taken by Bill Klüver, one much debated by the engineers and artists involved.