Ars Electronica 1982
Festival-Program 1982
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Festival 1979-2007


Sky Events

The sky events demonstrate a cultural phenomenon: artists who have hardly known each other in the past share a new medium and show some of its possibilities. Before the first SKY ART Conference, 1981 at CAVS/MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts, there was one place where several sky artists first met—Paolo Soleri's Arcosanti (Arcosanti Festival) in Cordes Junction, Arizona.

The sky events are ephemeral but they involve large spaces, nature's elements and a general public. Thus they are environmental art become event. To reach for the stars is becoming a physical gesture.

Charlotte Moorman/Otto Piene "SKY KISS“

Tal Streeter

Howard Woody

Dale Eldred

Vera Simons

Anders Holmquist

Steve Poleskie

Jose Maria Yturralde

Tom Van Sant

Lisa Van Sant
Charlotte Moorman:
The very best performance of "Sky Kiss" was in Sydney, Australia in 1976 around the Sydney Opera House. John Calder had invited Paik and me to perform and we did the "TV Bra", the "TV Cello", the "TV Bed", all those things … It was the week before easter and they were doing Bach's "St. Matthew's Passion" inside and I did the best version of "Sky Kiss" outside. They came out for intermission of the St. Matthew's Passion and they really thought they were seeing visions as I was floating by outside.

When he said he was going to do a "Sky Art Conference", I said I must do "Sky Kiss". I called Jim McWilliams because they needed a statement for the catalog and I asked him, "Why do you call this 'Sky Kiss'". Jim thought that was a silly question and said because the kiss is the most recorded of erotic experiences … He said that when my body goes into the sky, my cello and I are kissing the sky.

Interview recorded August 6, 1982, New York City
My collaboration with Charlotte Moorman has happened in many ways for many years: at my own festival, at the Center's for her New York Avantgarde Artists Festival, etc. We have had each other on our personal "world's best artists lists" for a long time. Charlotte is a most important woman of our time—brains, guts, sex, initiative and radiant energy. I am kissing her in the sky and into the sky—the best place to be with plenty of good air in some parts, splendid views, promise, the future and uncorrupted molecular life. In Charlotte's unforgettable words: I love you.

Otto Piene
ps: SKY KISS is dedicated to Howard Wise

Tal Streeter:
My kinetic, durational wind /sky works have revolved around what may be generally described as Sky Towers, large-scale kites and free-flight or tethered hot air balloons—all with a prominent "red line" aspect.

Aspects of the towers, kites and balloons will be combined in a minimal art format for "Linz Line". The Linz Tower will be 25–feet high, pre-fabricated in a knockdown version for shipment. The pneumatic element will be a red line cylinder, reaching up into the sky, lifted by a Jalbert-style parafoil kite. I will also launch a number of 8–foot high red kites at different times during the Festival in conjunction with the "Linz Line".
Howard Woody:
Linz, Sky Launch Description

A set of 5 unmanned free-flight, helium-inflated balloons to be launched, each irregularly shaped, of a 1.5 meters diameter; made from mil polyester or nylon silver/colored films; weight under 240 grams; volume approx. 700 liters of helium; lift 150 grams; sections of the same film for radar echo surfaces; no payload.
Ascent rate begins at 90 meters per minute; anticipated height of 1,500–2,500 meters; time in air 1–2 hours-drift distance of 8–50 kilometers in relation to wind velocity.

I am planing to use rental aircraft to track flight until landing.
Dale Eldred:
My piece for the SKY ART Conference '82 in Linz will be called "Line of Fire". Across the Danube from the Brucknerhaus, just above the water line, I will build a 100–meter long by 0.5-meter high diffraction "line" which will be activated from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This joining of the sky and earth via river will be visible from the Brucknerhaus.
The thought fascinates me that from our western perspective we usually pack ourselves tightly into a piece of ground which could be as big as MIT If all is well tonight in Guatemala, all is well tonight in Jaipur. Believe me, the sense of time that we relate our art to usually revolves around our western thought. At the same time, as I was thinking about the area where you pass out of Port Piraeus and go past Cape Sounion. You look up at the Temple Sounion and it is still working very well. It comes from history, but it is still there.

If you were at Sakkara today about noon the sun would be playing its rhythms across all the architecture. If you were at Pagan today the wind might have been blowing and the chimes at the top of the temples would be ringing very loudly. Some of these temples are four thousand years old; history, but still alive. Imagine if you had observed the time instruments of Jaisingh. I'm sure it was a sunny day in India; if you were in Jaipur or Delhi you would give thought and consider these. On November 1st, the Day of the Dead, kites in Guatemala would be flying, bigger than man, bigger than automobiles, bigger than trucks. Sky drawing is going on near Las Vegas. I was there not too long ago and they were advertising Budweiser. Las Vegas does it beautifully. At night it sends out messages clear as anything I've ever seen. These are the icons of American culture. The Sandia project which I just visited recently is outstanding. It can't deliver all the megawatts we need, but it's a very beautiful, beautiful site. Fireworks in the villages of Chi-Chi Chastenango are waking up the dead. In Guatemala you can experience this celebration again on the Day of the Dead, when the fireworks will call back to the souls of the deceased.

Finally, the thought struck me as the 747 was taking off at O'Hare Field—the concept is way too much. I feel very insignificant in the light of all this. Everything I have learned has come from those places. I hope you have a chance to see a piece that I am working on which is from the Cambridge side (of the Charles River) to the Boston side. What I'm involved in relates to a time incident and to a light incident. It works on a very, very accurate set of time—so if you're there at 12:07 you've missed it. You'll see on the back of the mirror boards the time set, and the far side is the receiver. That's a retro-reflective field. You must stand on the Cambridge side to see this. It's one mile in distance. Reacing the Boston skyline is a very difficult task, but I think it works.

Excerpt from "The History, Present and Future of Sky Art", panel, "SKY ART Conference '81 ", September 25, 1981
Vera Simons:
I use a manned gas balloon to visualize the Austrian wind as it courses over Linz and beyond. The aerostats' lift-off calls attention to the beauty of the sky. To further enhance the manifestation of flight, small air sculptures called "SkyTets" will be carried aloft on board the balloon for subsequent release. The registered balloon—an Austrian aerostat —will be flown by an Austrian pilot, Peter Moll, and myself as co-pilot. It is planned to launch from the Donaupark, with the flight path or drift pattern most likely being to the East following the Danube towards Vienna. The flight duration is estimated at between two and four hours.

As soon as the aerostat reaches its equilibrium or float altitude over Linz, the "SkyTets" will be released. These sky sculptures will be five feet in height, made of polyethylene and pre-inflated with helium. Each will carry a brightly colored marker for easy visibility. This little flotilla of "SkyTets" will be untethered from the balloon and will fly freely in tandem with the "Mother" balloon or according to their own patterns based on the capricious minor wind current moving within the prevailing wind.
Anders Holmquist:
On a recent sabbatical to New Mexico I became acquainted with rituals of the Hopis and Navajos. These Native American Indians believe that the wind is the breath of the spirit and serves as a carrier and transporter of natural energies and messages directly related to life's processes; thus their practice of wearing head-dresses of feathers, which interact with the wind as antennae, sending impulses to the wearer. Unfurling my flags on the mesas of that monochromatic world with its panoramic view was a spiritual experience for me.
Steve Poleskie:
Using an aircraft trailing smoke I propose to execute a large Ziggurat (3,000-feet high) over the Danube River between the Nibelungen Bridge, Untere Donaulande, the Eisenbahn Bridge and Ferihumerstrasse. The piece would begin 500 feet above the ground and the apex of the triangle created would be 3,500 feet above the Danube River opposite the site of Brucknerhaus.

I would prefer to fly the piece using an aerobatic biplane such as a Pitts Special. However, the Bücker Jungmann or Jungmeister, types more common in Europe, would also be acceptable, as well as the Czechoslovakian monoplane, the Zlin. The tight turning radius of these airplanes would enable the piece to remain in the confines of the area I have stated.

As an alternative the piece could be flown using shallower banks (of less than 30 degrees) at the corners by any light plane that could be modified to trail smoke.