Local Report 2012 / Robert Whitman

Presented by Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts

Local Report 2012 is an international media and telecommunications work in which Robert Whitman will use live reports from approximately ninety participants in cities around the world to create a live sound and video performance and continuing installation, composing in real time what he calls "a cultural map of the world.” Local Report 2012 is the latest version of a performance concept that Whitman began in the 1972, in which reporters spread throughout New York City made calls over pay phones and the reports were broadcast on a local radio station. Over the years the performances have moved from pay phones to cell phones, to video cell phones coupled with the Internet; and the scope has expanded from one city to embrace the whole world. Though the scope is international, the title of the new work is Local Report 2012, as today the global is local. Local Report 2012 will be produced by Creative Time and will be performed on October 11, 2012, at Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in New York City. The Stanford Institute for Creativity and the Arts (SiCa) will host a satellite performance at Stanford University, receiving live transmission of the performance on the west coast. This performance will be part of the the ZERO1 2012 Biennial program, “Seeking Silicon Valley.” There are two parts to the performance Local Report 2012: the live real-time gathering of the news reports and the display of the sound and video work. The live performance lasts approximately one hour. During the performance each reporter makes two calls to the performance area. One call will be to make and send a 20-second video clip of something in their city they choose to record. A second call will be a brief verbal description of what the reporter sees at that moment. At the control/performance center Whitman will receive the video images and sound descriptions from the reporters and send them to multiple speakers and video projectors. The video clips will come in live, and will be limited to 20 seconds long. The voice calls will be answered live by Whitman, who will determine the length of the call by hanging up and going on to the next voice report. After the performance, the video segments will be looped and shown on the large screen installation along with the looped sound reports for several weeks at both Stanford University and Eyebeam. Up to ninety reporters or teams of reporters in cities around the world will be recruited to participate during the hour of the performance. Their video cell phones will be equipped with special Local Report software developed by Shawn Van Every of the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University in collaboration with students and faculty at Stanford University.

Local Report is the first step in a larger partnership between Robert Whitman and Stanford University marking Stanford's focus on Art and Technology.

The performance is part of ZERO1's 9 evenings performance series, and will be presented at 
Stanford University
550 Panama Mall
Stanford, CA 94305
October 11, 2012 at 3:45pm-5:00pm
Admission is FREE

Robert Whitman

lives and works in Warwick, NY


Robert Whitman is an outstanding American artist best known for creating non-narrative theater works rich in visual and sound images that incorporate actors, film, slides, sound, and evocative props in environments of his own making. Whitman was born in New York City in 1935. He studied literature at Rutgers University from 1953 to 1957 and art history at Columbia University in 1958. He began in the late fifties to present pioneering theater works like The American Moon (1960), Mouth (1961), and Flower (1963), as well as to exhibit his sculpture and installations in some of New York's more advanced galleries. Whitman’s interest in incorporating non-traditional materials into his work led to an increasing involvement with new technologies like lasers and advanced optics. With research engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg, Whitman co-founded, in 1966, Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), a foundation that promoted collaborations between artists and engineers and scientists and produced large scale projects like 9 Evenings: Theatre & Engineering (1966), and the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo ‘70, Osaka, Japan. Whitman has staged more than 40 theater pieces in the United States and Europe, including Moderna Museet, Stockholm (1987 and 1989) and Centre Pompidou, Paris (2001 and 2002),Museo Reina Sofia in Madrid (2010). He has had one-person exhibitions at, among others, the Jewish Museum, New York (1968), the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (1968), the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1973), Dia Art Foundation (1976 and 2003), Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto, (2004), and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona (2005). Whitman was visiting artist in the Drama Department at Stanford University in the spring of 2012, working with students on the recreation of one of his early theater works, The American Moon.