Strategic Arts Initiative 2.0

InterAccess and V2_ present "Strategic Arts Initiative 2.0", a re-installation of the seminal 1986 telepresence exhibition "Strategic Arts Initiative" (SAI).

Strategic Arts Initiative 2.0

Original program 1986

Nov 2011
Nov 2011
location: V2_, Eendrachtsstraat 10, Rotterdam

Featuring artworks by Doug BackLaura Kikauka and Carl HamfeltDavid Rokeby, Graham Smith and Norman White.


Thursday November 3rd  - 20:00 - 23:00:  SAI 2.0 exhibition open and connected live to InterAccess, Toronto.

Friday November 4th - 14:00 - 23:00: SAI 2.0 exhibition open and connected live to InterAccess, Toronto.

Saturday November 5th - 14:00 - 20:00 and 21:30 - 00:00: SAI 2.0 exhibition open and connected live to InterAccess, Toronto. Closing party with custom cocktail begins at 22:00.

This exhibition marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the initial exhibition and coincides with the centenary of the birth of Canadian philosopher and media theorist Marshall McLuhan, whose writings informed and influenced much of the work in the original SAI exhibition. SAI 2.0 is presented as a three-day event in which visitors are invited to interact with their counterparts in Toronto through works of telepresence art. While telepresence has become ubiquitous in the 25 years since the original exhibition (as it predicted it would) many of these works display possibilities that still seem radical today. Instead of merely communicating visually across great distances, the works in the exhibition insist on even more intimate forms of telepresence such as communicating through touch, feats of strength, and actual physical presence across networks.

Strategic Arts Initiative was originally conceived by McLuhan scholar and SAI curator Derrick de Kerckhove as a sort of foil to the American Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars”, created by President Ronald Reagan. The exhibition represented an opportunity for artists, rather than industry, to imagine the future of telepresence. This aligned with McLuhan’s conviction that artists represented a DEW line or Distant Early Warning system that would tell a culture what was beginning to happen to it.

Telepresence Robot 2Displaced Perspectives

Graham Smith: Displaced Perspectives

The artists involved with SAI were brought together in large part because of a shared interest in the work of McLuhan and a desire to explore the artistic possibilities of communication media such as telephone, radio, television, video, and telematics. As the original exhibition’s program notes stated:

Communications technologies are putting us in touch with the whole planet, but most of us are not aware of how this situation can change our sensibility. We are all trapped in an invisible mesh of electronic talk. We still use communications to transport information. We have not yet understood that the new technologies are also transforming relationships. One of the roles of the artist in this context is to reveal these relationships. 

Far from the slow, erratic, and problematic medium of communication that it was in the late-1980s, telepresence technology is now unquestionably part of our lives.


Norman White: Telephonic Armwrestling

Exhibition Schedule:

Thursday November 3 

20:00 - 23:00: Opening of Strategic Arts Initiative (SAI) 2.0 exhibition, five telematic artworks connected live with InterAccess in Toronto, Canada. Featuring artworks by Doug BackLaura Kikauka and Carl HamfeltDavid RokebyGraham Smith and Norman White, the exhibition is a re-creation and evolution of the original 1986 exhibition curated by Derrick de Kerckhove.
Welcoming remarks and short talks by the artists at 20:30.

Friday November 4 

14:00 - 23:00: SAI 2.0 exhibition open and connected live to InterAccess, Toronto.

Saturday November 5 

14:00 - 20:00 and 21:30 - 00:00: SAI 2.0 exhibition open and connected live to InterAccess, Toronto. 

Closing party with custom cocktail begins at 22:00.

Admission € 5,- pass for events on all three days.
Free entrance for students (college card). 

Events will be streamed live at http://live.v2.nl

Part of McLuhan in Europe 2011, a year-long celebration of Marshall McLuhan's impact and legacy on European art and media culture during the centenary of his birth. http://mcluhan2011.eu. The exhibition in Toronto is part of the Dew Line Festival.

The Strategic Arts Initiative 2.0 exhibition is supported by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Toronto Info:

Strategic Arts Initiative 2.0 is a parallel exhibition taking place at InterAccess, Toronto, and V2_Institute for the Unstable Media, Rotterdam.

Location: InterAccess, 9 Ossington Avenue, Toronto
Date: November 3 - 5, 2011

More, see this video:


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