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Sensing the Future: Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.)

Available September 2024

Edited by Nancy Perloff and Michelle Kuo

In the 1960s and '70s, collaborations between artists and engineers led to groundbreaking innovations in multisensory performance art that continue to resonate today.  

In 1966, Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer, engineers at Bell Labs in Murray Hill, New Jersey, teamed up with artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman to form a nonprofit organization, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.). E.A.T.’s debut event, 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering, integrated art, theater, and groundbreaking technology in a series of performances at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan. Its second major event, the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ’70 in Osaka, Japan, presented a multisensory environment for the first world exposition held in Asia. At these events, and in the hundreds of collaborations E.A.T. facilitated in between, the participants—including John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, and David Tudor—imagined innovative ways for art and science to intersect and enrich society.

Sensing the Future tells the story of these collaborations between artists and engineers and how they led to new installations and technology-based artworks. Through the examination of films, photographs, diagrams, and artists’ records from the E.A.T. archive at the Getty Research Institute, this volume provides a new perspective on multimedia art in the 1960s and ’70s and highlights the ways E.A.T. pushed the role of the artist beyond the traditional art world.

This volume is published to accompany an exhibition on view at the Getty Research Institute at the Getty Center from September 10, 2024, to February 23, 2025.

Nancy Perloff is curator of modern and contemporary collections at the Getty Research Institute. Michelle Kuo is chief curator at large and publisher at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

“This book presents multifaceted scholarly investigations of an organization that was committed to collaborations among artists, engineers, and scientists, but it was also an organization that continued to reinvent itself as it seized new opportunities to change society and the future.”
—Julie Martin

128 pages
8 x 10 inches
28 color and 38 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-1-60606-923-3

Getty Publications
Imprint: Getty Research Institute