“The Museum Inside The Telephone Network” was a 1991 exhibition that was not based upon any physical space.
The show was only accessible to home users through networked communication devices such as the telephone, the fax, and computer networking, this latter being obviously very limited at the time.
The show, organized by the Project InterCommunication Center (ICC), founded by the Japanese telecom NTT, investigated the possible ways communication networks could have an impact on the museum institution.
Five channels could be accessed by the public. The audience could listen to talks and readings on the theme of communication through the telephone-based “Voice & Sound Channel”. The public could push the telephone buttons to create musical tunes through the “Interactive Channel”.
In the “Fax Channel” novels, artworks, comics, and essays could be transmitted.
A live transmission with performances by artists and live calls between intellectuals could be accessed by the telephone through the “Live Channel”.
Finally, visual material could be downloaded by modem and seen through a personal computer monitor.
A set of renowned contributors (artists, cultural figures, writers) was invited for the project. Among them: Laurie Anderson, J.G. Ballard, Laurie Anderson, Pierre Boulez, Ryuichi Sakamoto, John Giorno, William Forsythe, Enki Bilal, Robert Longo, William S. Burroughs, Merce Cunningham, John Cage, Jacques Derrida, Allen Ginsberg, Philip Glass, Félix Guattari, Pontus Hultén, Derek Jarman, Jeff Koons, Steve Reich, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Paul Virilio, John Zorn.
This “invisible museum” format was followed four years later by another ICC exhibition titled “The Museum Inside the Network” (1995).
Here follows a selection from the visual material contained in the catalog, accessible at Monoskop.org.
All images © to the respective authors and copyright holders.