Art’s Birthday: Celebration and Protest

The 1,000,030th celebration of the birthday of art. The first day was used to send messages to the government to protest budget cuts to the arts. On the second day, Matt Rogalsky and Dan Scheidt connected with Seppo Grundler and others a the Zero Project in Innsbruck, Austria, for a live MIDI jam. Ken O’Heskin demonstrated The Juggler/Le Jongleur, a multi-process, event-driven control and coordination system for artists that can schedule digital devices in performance and production environments. Broadcast live on WENR Radio.

Art’s Birthday is an annual event first proposed in 1963 by French artist Robert Filliou. He suggested that 1,000,000 years ago, there was no art. But one day, on the 17th of January to be precise, Art was born. According to Filliou, it happened when someone dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water. Modest beginnings, but look at us now.

Filliou proposed a public holiday to celebrate the presence of art in our lives. In recent years, the idea has been taken up by a network of artists and friends around the world. Each year the Eternal Network evolves to include new partners who work with ideas of exchange and telecommunications-art.

Artists have celebrated Art’s Birthday with lavish parties and gatherings, correspondence and mail art, and through Telematic networks using Slow Scan TV, Videophones, music composed for telephone lines, modem-to-modem MIDI connections, early bulletin board and chat systems, and Internet streaming.

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Digitized video documentation of this event is available through the Western Front Archives upon research request.