"9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering" was held October 13-23, 1966 at the 69th Regiment Armory in New York City. Artists included John Cage, Lucinda Childs, Öyvind Fahlström, Alex Hay, Deborah Hay, Steve Paxton, Yvonne Rainer, Robert Rauschenberg, David Tudor and Robert Whitman. The artists worked with engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to develop innovative technical equipment that enabled these performances.

The ten artists and their "9 Evenings" works >
Steve Paxton:Physical Things. A polyethylene air-inflated structure occupied most of the Armory floor. The audience could walk through the structure freely, encountering projections, sounds and performers. Outside the structure, wire loops suspended above the audience generated sounds of music, screaming jungle birds and a discourse on fishing the audience heard through small pick-up devices.

Alex Hay:Grass Field. Hay wore a backpack of specially designed differential amplifiers and FM transmitters, which picked up brain waves, muscle activity, and eye movement from electrodes placed on Hay's head and body. These sounds were broadcast to the audience as Hay carefully laid out 64 numbered pieces of cloth. Then he sat facing the audience, with his face being projected on a large screen behind him, while two performers systematically picked up the pieces of cloth.

Deborah Hay:Solo. A tightly choreographed performance utilized dancers and carts. Eight formally dressed, seated players controlled the movement of the carts. The dancers entered, either walking or riding on a cart, and then walked or rode on the vehicles in solo, duet or trio formations, filling the large Armory floor with changing patterns of movement, light and sound.

Film still from Open Score

Robert Rauschenberg:Open Score. The first movement was a tennis match between the artist Frank Stella and a tennis professional. A specially built FM radio transmitter fit in the handle of each racquet. Each time the ball hit the strings of the racquet, a contact microphone picked up the "BONG," which was amplified through 12 speakers around the Armory. One stage light went out with each "BONG." When the area was completely dark, a crowd of 300 people entered. Infra red television cameras picked up the group's movements and projected these images to three large screens seen by the audience.

Yvonne Rainer:Carriage Discreteness. On the floor were spread out cubes, planks, sheets and beams of different materials: masonite, wood, styrofoam, rubber, and so on. Seated in a high balcony, Rainer transmitted instructions to the performers to carry objects from one place to another. Accompanying these movements were "events"
pre-programmed on ACTAN drum switches, which included film and slide projections, a super ball and pieces of foam rubber dropped from the ceiling, and a collapsing screen.

John Cage:Variations. Thirty photocells were mounted at ankle level around the performance area. The cells activated a variety of sound sources as the performers moved. These sounds came from contact microphones placed on a blender, juicer, fan, and toaster, 20 radio channels, and two Geiger counters. In addition Cage had ten open phone lines to sites in New York City like Luchows restaurant, the Aviary, and the 14th Street Con Edison electric power station.

Lucinda Childs:Vehicle. A 70kHzDoppler sonar system, especially designed for this piece, was activated by three red fireman's buckets Childs took from a performer in a Ground Effects Machine and hung from scaffolding. As she swung the buckets around inside the ultra-sonic sound beams, the reflected signals from the buckets mixed with the original 70 kHz signal, and the resulting beat frequency fell in the audible range. These sounds were transmitted to the twelve speakers around the Armory.

Robert Whitman
:Two Holes of Water – 3. Seven cars, carrying film and television projectors, drove out onto the Armory floor and parked facing the back wall covered with white paper. On the balcony, television cameras shot performances: two girls moving slowly in front of a curved mirror, a girl typing. A small fiber optic camera showed the inside of a coat pocket. Whitman fed images of these live performances and off-air television images to television projectors in the cars. He also cued the drivers to turn on the films of nature subjects and other films he had made.

David Tudor: Bandoneon! As Tudor played the bandoneon, ten contact microphones picked up the sound and distributed it to four processing devices. The output of a forty- channel filter was fed to 12 speakers, and controlled the spotlights on the balcony. An audio processing and modifying circuit fed four transducers attached to wood and metal structures and horn speakers on the Armory floor. Another device controlled images on three television projectors.

Film still from Kisses Sweeter than Wine

Oyvind Fahlstrom
: Kisses Sweeter than Wine. Kisses was a complex theater performance incorporating live actors, elaborate props, slides, film and television projection. Characters and images included Jedadiah Buxton, an idiot savant who could multiply large numbers in his head, played by Robert Rauschenberg; Space Girl, dressed in silver, who descended in a winch hoist from the ceiling; a girl in a plastic swimming pool of Jello, and a remote-controlled mylar inflated missile circling the Armory.

After "9 Evenings" > Experiments in Art and Technology >
Official mandates for E.A.T. organizations founded in 1967 in the aftermath of "9 Evenings" included:

Maintain a constructive climate for the recognition of the new technology and the arts by a civilized collaboration between groups unrealistically developing in isolation.

Eliminate the separation of the individual from Technological change and expand and enrich technology to give the individual variety, pleasure and avenues for exploration and involvement in contemporary life.

Encourage industrial initiative in generating original forethought, instead of a compromise in aftermath, and precipitate a mutual agreement in order to avoid the waste of a cultural revolution.

Immediately after E.A.T. was founded, expressions of interest and requests for technical assistance came from all over the United States and from abroad: Europe, Japan, South America. Artists were encouraged to start E.A.T. local groups and about 25 were established. In 1968 a conference for these local groups was held at E.A.T. headquarters in Manhattan.

E.A.T.'s activities took two principal forms: a technical services program and projects the organization initiated and administered. The ongoing technical services program provided artists with access to new technology for their work by matching them with engineers or scientists for a one-to-one collaboration. A major objective of this effort was to acquaint the technical and business communities with the needs of artists.

E.A.T. was not committed to any one technology or type of equipment and never established a laboratory or workshop. Artists were encouraged to work directly with engineers in the industrial environment where the technology was being created. The Technical Services were open to all artists and no judgment was made about the esthetic value of the artist's project or idea. An effort was made to match each artist with an engineer or scientist who could assist her/him.

The range of artists' interests was enormous. The geographic, technical, and artistic diversity of these contacts with E.A.T. document a vital and important moment in the history of post-war art, as well as artists’ continuing involvement with new technology in the 20th century.

E.A.T. initiated and organized a variety of events and exhibitions, among them "Some More Beginnings" at the Brooklyn Museum (1968-1969); Pepsi-Cola Pavilion at Expo '70, Osaka Japan (1969-1970) and The New York Collection for Stockholm (1971-1973).

During the 1970s the emergence of new hardware in communications, data processing, and command-and-control instrumentation led to new generations of software systems, which were of great interest to artists. E.A.T. realized that artists could make a significant contribution to the evolution of these software systems and generated a series of projects in which artists participated in technological development. E.A.T. undertook interdisciplinary initiatives that extended the artists' activities into a variety of social settings: Projects Outside Art (1969-1971); American Artists in India (1970-1971); Telex: Q&A (1971); Children and Communication (1971); City Agriculture (1971) and numerous projects involving artists and television in this country and abroad, of which the Anand Project in India (1969) is a prominent example.