OuterSpace Introduction

Project: Outerspace 2004

Collaboratory Research Archive Project - Open Space

Telecommunications Art & Other New Media Innovations



Historical Open Space Director - Bill Bartlett (1974-1978)

Current open Space Director - Todd Davis (1977-)

Digital Archivist and Historian - Jeremy Turner

Webmaster - Doug Jarvis

Open Space 1978


Gallery - openspace@openspace.ca

Archivist - jerturner536@yahoo.ca

Webmaster - douglasjarvis@hotmail.com 


THE STORY: 1977 was a landmark year for not only the Open Space Arts Society (Victoria, Canada) but for contemporary art practices throughout the world. Since his appointment to Director in 1974, Bill Bartlett and the Board of Directors at that time had been working towards a truly visonary project for Open Space that would result in some of the very first telecommunications experiments on behalf of the artistic impulse and the redefinition of what it meant to be a centralized arts institution in an increasingly networked world. 
Bartlett invented the word "COLLABORATORY" (Collaboration and Laboratory) for an ongoing New Media series to commence in the winter of 1977 with the Colour Xerox exhibition at the Eatons Centre in Victoria. The other Collaboratory events were to focus on: Sound, Light, Dance, Poloroids and the SAT-TEL-COMP (SATELLITE-TELEPHONE-COMPUTER) event which was to become one of Open Space's most ambitious and pioneering initiatives to date. It was one of the very first major arts initiatives on the globe that directly employed the use of cutting-edge telecommunications technology - this was long before the internet became a household name. 
Through the convergence of Satellite bandwidth, cable TV networks and this obscure Video-Conferencing unit called the ROBOT 530 Video-Transceiver, SAT-TEL-COMP placed Open Space Arts Society directly within the radar of the contemporary artworld's historical grand-narrative. 
It was through SAT-TEL-COMP that Open Space was mentioned alongside institutions in Vienna, London, Paris, Memphis, New York, Vancouver and many others. Bartlett, however, looked beyond the narrow confines of major metropolitan artworld centres to allow for the development of a truly global community that has brought such remote locales as Pender Island, Honalulu and Raratonga to the forefront of aesthetic innovation. Also, Peggy Cady, Chas Leckie and Jim Starck ensured that the general community of Victoria would have access to the resources acquired for Open Space as a result of the benevolence of the I.P. Sharp Telecomminications Corporation. Cady made resgular trips to show the potential of Slow-Scan Video-conferencing to elementary school students and other interested individuals.
Once Bartlett left as Open Space Director to focus on programming Initiatives and as Artist-in-Residence in 1979, Open Space was ready to embrace all sorts of New Mediums and conceptual approaches. Re-locating to Pender Island, Bartlett continued his SAT-TEL-COMP vision with his independent non-profit organization called the Direct Media Association. It was through this association that Bartlett was able to extend SAT-TEL-COMP's interstellar reach to educators and the general public. Such forward-thinking community planning became a direct historical prototype for the "Global Village" of the internet today.
Without Bartlett, Open Space was able to continue its COLLABORATORY with its forways into cybernetics and video. 
In 2003, Open Space hired an Archivist to dust off the vaults and begin the process of transferring this groundbreaking history to the World Wide Web.
Please view our timeline for additional research into the key players of SAT-TEL-COMP and some other representatives from our COLLABORATORY collection. With your input, we can evolve this timeline to include others who have participated in this uncanny historical era. We welcome any pix, text, quicktime movies, or web links that you might have available.