Cornell University Moments in Media Art

Items exhibited in “Signal to Code” provide a special window onto the influential role played by artists and institutions in Ithaca, Cornell, and the Central New York region in the past 50 years of media art. Three events at Cornell University, featured here, are particularly significant for their impact on the exhibition and preservation of media art.

1972: The Andrew Dickson White Museum, located in the A. D. White House, hosted a memorable performance by the Korean video artist Nam June Paik, and the cellist and performance artist Charlotte Moorman. The poster for this event, which took place in Willard Straight Hall, is displayed as a decal in the Kroch staircase. Paik and Moorman developed two of their early 1970s collaborative performances in the studio of the Experimental Television Center in Binghamton, New York, as Paik describes in the letter in the adjacent case.

1999: The Cornell Library partnered with the Society for the Humanities, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, and Cornell Information Technologies to host the world’s most extensive exhibition of art created for and on CD-ROM. Exhibited on iMac computers at seven locations across the Cornell campus, the program featured works by 110 artists from 19 countries. The exhibition then toured across the East Coast and to Mexico, France, and Canada, and became the prototype for smaller exhibitions in Macau and Johannesburg. In conjunction with the exhibition, Cornell Information Technologies designed and produced the first bilingual (English/Spanish) online exhibition catalog. The poster for this exhibition is displayed as a decal in the Kroch staircase. Two of the exhibition’s original iMacs and CD-ROM programs are exhibited in the Hirshland Exhibition Gallery.

2002: Cornell Professor Timothy Murray founded the Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art in the Cornell Library, which he continues to curate today in the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections. Signal to Code documents the growth and international influence of the Goldsen Archive. Its institutional partners include the New York State Council of the Arts, New York; the Rockefeller Foundation, New York; Experimental Television Center, Owego, NY; Dongtai Academy of Art, Beijing; Jing & Kai, Ltd., Beijing & Taipei;, Boston & New York; Taishin Arts Award, Taipei; Centro de Cultura Digital, Mexico City; and Anarchive, Paris.

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