Peter D'Agostino was born 1945 in New York. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York. After having received his B.F.A. in 1968 he studied at the San Francisco State University and received his M.A. in 1975. He did a vast number of exhibitions of which the most important are: "Festival des Arts Eléctroniques", Rennes, France; "17. Bienal de São Paulo: New Metaphors / Six Alternatives", São Paulo, Brazil 1983; "Whitney Biennial", Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 1981; "Space/Time/Sound — 1970s: A Decade in the Bay Area", San Francisco Museum of Modern Art 1980; "Projects XXIX: California", Museum of Modern Art, New York 1979.
"In the Well", from a series called "Transmissions", is conceived as an enclosed symbolic space to entomb an almost fable-like tale of a boy who falls into a well. The installation explores a number of universal themes: myths of falling (Icarus) and the underworld (Orpheus); stories of Mother Earth and emergence, rebirth, and resurrection.
The mediation of the tale (based on an event broadcast live on Italian television) through the interactive videodisc installation allows the viewer to become a participant in the story, an "interactor" able to intervene from different physical and metaphorical viewpoints. Contained in a closed kiva-like circular space are several mechanisms that provide insights into the piece. A peephole, with obvious references to Duchamp's "Etant donné", contains the image of an idealized landscape leading to "an eternal city", while a reflexive eye continually gazes back at the viewer. The touch screen permits metaphorical entry into the well, where the "interactor", like Orpheus, begins the search.