“Interface” was the first network event I was involved in, an exchange between the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at MIT and the American Center in Paris. The event took place in February, 1981. Press photos of the respective presidents were cut into 16 pieces and transmitted by slowscan between the cities over phones lines connected with a machine which allowed the transmission of images converted into sound.
This was the event which led me to understand the potential importance of the network and to shift my own emphasis to the network as a tool for artistic performance and experimentation.
“Interface“, the video tape by Vin Grable et al. can be seen over the MARCEL web site under MARCEL-TV and the rubric Network Art History in the pulled down menu.
I have posted some stills from the tape here :
The slowscan technology involved capturing an image over video, which was then analysed and transformed into sound signals, one representing a range from gray to black, another from gray to white and a third, the sync. The sounds were sent over a normal phone line to be reconverted into an image on the other end.
The machine was clipped directly into the open mouth piece of the phone seen here wrapped in a scarf to avoid other interference.
The machine used was called Robot and was initially invented to send images of checks between banks for verification.