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Billy Klüver, co-founder of the landmark Experiments in Art and Technology project, will give a talk about the Experiments photography exhibition at Lafayette 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 20, at the Williams Visual Arts Building.

A reception will follow the talk, which is free and open to the public. The events are being held in conjunction with the exhibition of Experiments in Art and Technology at both the Visual Arts Building and Lafayette’s Alumni Hall of Engineering through Monday, April 1. The exhibit in AHE is in the west hallway, which is serving as the main entrance to the building during renovations of Lafayette’s entire 90,000-square-foot engineering complex, which will be renamed Acopian Engineering Center.

The Lafayette displays represent the only time that Experiments in Art and Technology has been shown outside New York, according to Robert S. Mattison, Marshall R. Metzgar Professor of Art History at Lafayette.

“E.A.T. is a pioneer project of inestimable value, bringing engineering expertise to major artists,” says Mattison. “It serves as a model for the involvement of artists with technology in the late modern era.”

The exhibition begins in the Visual Arts Building with Klüver’s 1960 work with Jean Tinguely for Homage to New York, a giant mechanical sculpture that was activated and destroyed itself in the Museum of Modern Art Sculpture Garden. This part of the show ends in the period of nationwide E.A.T. chapters being formed.

The AHE portion begins with pictures of a 1967 competition involving works by engineers and artists that were selected for a Museum of Modern Art exhibition. It continues through E.A.T.’s sponsorship of the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, a building entirely covered by a water vapor cloud, and continues to recent E.A.T.-assisted projects, such as aiding Robert Rauschenberg in designing portable light and music towers for the Trisha Brown Dance Company’s “Astral Convertible,” which was performed at Lafayette in the mid-1990s.

Working in collaboration with such artists as Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and Robert Whitman, Klüver was at the forefront of the “Art and Technology” movement of the late 1960s. In an attempt to bring artists and engineers together, Klüver – who holds a Ph.D. in electrical engineering — formed Experiments in Art and Technology with Rauschenberg, Whitman, and Fred Waldhauer in 1966. He is still directing the project.

“Artists provide non-artists — engineers or whomever — a certain number of things which non-artists do not possess,” said Klüver in Coretext, an on-line magazine. “The engineer expands his vision and gets involved with problems which are not the kind of rational problems that come up in his daily routine. And the engineer becomes committed because it becomes a fascinating technological problem that nobody else would have raised. If the engineer gets involved with the kinds of questions that an artist would raise, then the activities of the engineer go closer towards that of humanity.”

Born in Monaco in 1927, Klüver graduated from Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He came to the United States in 1954, earning his engineering doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1957. He served as assistant professor of electrical engineering at Berkeley in 1957-1958 and went on to work on the technical staff of Bell Labs for the next decade. He holds ten patents.

In the early 1960s, Klüver collaborated with artists on works of art incorporating new technology, including Rauschenberg, Warhol, Jean Tinguely, Jasper Johns, Yvonne Rainer, and John Cage. Since then he has given numerous lectures in the U.S. and abroad on art, art and technology, and social issues to be addressed by the technical community. He also has published articles on these subjects. He has curated or been curatorial adviser for 14 major museum exhibitions in the U.S. and Europe.

Klüver became president of E.A.T. in 1968. The nonprofit established a technical services program to provide artists with technical information and assistance by matching them with engineers and scientists who can collaborate with them.

In addition, E.A.T. initiates and administers interdisciplinary projects involving artists with new technology. These include “Nine Evenings: Theatre and Engineering” in 1996, where ten artists worked with more than 30 engineers to produce performances incorporating new technology; artist and engineer collaborations to design and program the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ’70; The New York Collection for Stockholm; methods to produce instructional programming for educational television in India, 1969; a pilot program to develop methods of recording indigenous culture in El Salvador, 1973; and collaboration with artists Fujiko Nakaya (1980) Rauschenberg (1989) to design sets for Trish Brown Dance Company.

Klüver’s visit is sponsored by the Leonardo Society for A.B. engineers, the A.B. engineering program, and the art department.

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