“Gemini Rising, Moon in Apollo: Attitudes on the Relationship between Art and Technology in the US, 1966-1970” presented by Shanken


Session Title:

  • History and Theory of the Art and Technology Interface

Presentation Title:

  • Gemini Rising, Moon in Apollo: Attitudes on the Relationship between Art and Technology in the US, 1966-1970



  • “In the history of human thinking the most fruitful developments frequently take place at those points where two different lines of thought meet.”

    -Werner Heisenberg


    My research examines the complex and often conflicted attitudes towards the relationship between art and technology held by artists, engineers, and art historians in the 1960’s, a time of intensive artistic experimentation with technology. In what follows, I shall analyze statements by artists John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg, engineer Billy Klüver, and art historian/curator Pontus Hulten (using philosopher Martin Heidegger’s The Question Concerning Technology a critical foil) in order to better understand what technology signified, and what signified technology, during this culturally, socially, and politically volatile period. Statements by Jack Burnham and Maurice Tuchman, who curated major art and technology events during this time, will also be considered for their insight into the potential conflicts between artists using technology and the corporations that sponsored exhibitions including their work. By exhuming the hidden presumptions buried in the 1960’s discourses about art and technology, I hope to increase awareness of the historical, ideological underpinnings of these practices. The rhetoric of art and technology in the 1960’s tends to be bifurcated into binary oppositions of reason and belief, so this paper slides between the same poles, revealing the limits of this critical method.


    Full text p.58-61

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