n°5 – April 19, Sound, Theater, Video

Utopias and market: the role of artists in technological innovation

Copertina del catalogo della mostra «9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering». Pontus Hultén e Frank Königsberg ( a cura di), «Experiments in Art and Technology», The Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, New York 1966. Fondo Daniel Langlois Foundation, 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering. Per gentile concessione di Experiments in Art and Technology, e Daniel Langlois Foundation.


The essay analyzes three cases of collaborations between artists and companies considered particularly emblematic since in the first half of the twentieth century led to the invention of sound/light devices and the establishment of joint research departments between artists and engineers: the meeting in 1927 between the Dadaist Raoul Hausmann and the engineer Daniel Broido of the berliner electric company AEG which leads to the patent of the Otophone, a device for converting light into sound and vice-versa; the collaboration between the director Modest Altschuler and the engineer Preston S. Millar of the Electrical Testing Laboratories which leads to the realization of the Chromola, a keyboard for light; the exhibition Nine Evenings: Theater and Engineering, curated in 1966 by the artist Robert Rauschenberg and the engineer of the company Bell Telephone Laboratories Billy Klüver, which leads to the establishment of E.A.T. (Experiments in Art and Technology), a research and development center for artists and engineers. The aim is to highlight the role that artists have had during the twentieth century whitin the field of innovation and development of technical-cultural artefacts, and also of discursive practices and methodologies of creation and sharing of knowledge.

This article is available in ITA


Flavia Dalila D'Amico is a scholar and curator in the field of performing arts. Her research interests address the intersections of bodies, political subjectivities and technologies in the field of performing arts. In 2016 she got the title of PhD in Music and Entertainment at Sapienza University of Rome, with a thesis that investigates the relationship between disabilities and the theater, which merged into the volume Lost in Translation. Disabilities on stage (Bulzoni, 2021). She takes care of the communication of the Teatro Biblioteca Quarticciolo in Rome and of the Fuori Programma International Dance Festival.