"Telephonic Arm-Wrestling" (1986 & 2011) is a work by Norman White and Doug Back.
A collaborative telecommunications project undertaken by myself and fellow artist, Doug Back. The idea was to allow contestants in two different cities to arm-wrestle, using motorized force-transmitting systems interconnected by a telephone data link. First successfully exhibited during a 1986 link-up between the Canadian Cultural Centre, Paris, and the Artculture Resource Centre, Toronto. Sponsored by the McLuhan Programme (Director: Prof. Derrick De Kerckhove), University of Toronto. Materials: Steel, Plexiglas, motors, custom electronics. Owned by Doug Back and myself.
Based on an idea by Doug Back, the Telephonic Arm-Wrestling device will enable participants located in Salerno or Paris to arm-wrestle with participants in Toronto using motorized mechanisms which transmit and receive kinaesthetic information via telephone modem signals. The concept has been engineered by Norman White.
Says Back, We wanted to send a tactile sensation over the phone. Adds White, I concentrated my attention on public building works which mimic simple organic systems. My ‘perception machine’, "Facing Out Laying Low" (1978-86) gleans information about its environment using a variety of sensors, and responds to perceived patterns of change with appropriate movements and sounds.
(from the SAI brochure, 1986)