Roy Ascott


Roy Ascott . 1992 © Jan Sprij

Born 1934-10-26 in Bath, UK.

Roy Ascott is a British cybernetic and telematics arts pioneer, experimental educator, and an influential author. Frank Popper said of him: “Ascott is one of the most outstanding artists and theoreticians in the field of telematics.”

It is hard to precisely identify the kind of art he has contributed to. It is not wrong to list the fields of interactive computer art, electronic art, cybernetic art, and telematic art.

He was the Director of the ‘Groundcourse’ at the Ealing and Ipswich Schools of Art, London, during the 1960s. This course was influential because of its radical approach to teaching art. Ascott described it as ‘a microcosm of a total process of art education’. ^

He is the Director of Planetary Collegium, a transdisciplinary centre for research in art, science, technology and consciousness, based jointly in the University of Wales College Newport, and in the School of Computing, University of Plymouth. He is also visiting Professor in Design|Media Arts at UCLA.

He has published numerous influential books on the convergence of Art, Media and Technology. He has contributed over 150 articles and academic papers to journals and magazines in many countries.

A small excerpt describing his ideas on Telematics can be viewed here.

Another essay ‘Turning on Technology’ was featured in the catalogue of the exhibition “Techno Seduction”, from 17 January through 15 February, 1997, at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York.

1955-59. BA (Hons) Fine Art . King’s College, Newcastle, University of Durham. Studied painting under Victor Pasmore and Richard Hamilton, and Art History under Sir Lawrence Gowing and Quentin Bell.

Roy Ascott has seved as the Dean at San Francisco Art Institute, Professor for Communications Theory, University of Applied Arts, Vienna and Principal of Ontario College of Art, Toronto.

He is on the board of several journals including Leonardo, Convergence, Digital Creativity, IDEA, and is also involved as an advisor to various arts councils and media centers.

His publications include:
Engineering Nature(2006)
Telematic Embrace: Visionary Theories of Art Technology and Consciousness Technoetic Arts(2002),
Art, Technology, Consciousness(2000)
Reframing Consciousness (1999)
Art & Telematics: toward the Construction of New Aesthetics (1998).

Some of his early publications: “Behaviourist Art and the Cybernetic Vision”. In: Cybernetica: Journal of the International Association for Cybernetics(1966/7), and “The Construction of Change” (1964).

A list of exhibitions

1960 Univision Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne

1961 St.Johns Gallery, York

1961 Artists International Association Gallery, London

1963 Molton Gallery, London

1964 Gallerie Suzanne de Conninck, Paris

1965 Queen’s University, Belfast

1965 Hamilton Galleries (Annely Juda), London

1968 Laing Art Gallery & Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne

1968 Ikon Gallery, Birmingham

1969 Exe Gallery, Exeter

1970 Angela Flowers Gallery, London

1972 University of Guelph, Ontario

1978 Anna Gardner Gallery, Stinson Beach, California

1980 Dartington Hall, Totnes

1980 Terminal Art, First International Artists’ Computer Conferencing project, USA – UK, Bristol (directed by Roy Ascott)

1982 Four Wings (Planetary I Ching), International Telematic project, Ars Electronica Festival, Linz (Austria)

1983 La Plissure du Texte (A Planetary Fairy Tale). Telematic project between artists in Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Bristol, Sydney, Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco, Honolulu, Alma; Musée d’Art Moderne, Paris (directed by Roy Ascott)

1985 Organe et Fonction d’Alice au Pays des Merveilles. Interactive videotex project (Minitel); Les Immateriaux at Centre Pompidou, Paris (directed by Roy Ascott)

1985 Sonart: l’image à distance par son. Slowscan TV by short wave radio transmission, Alma – Québec, Pittsburgh. Alma, Québec: ANNPAC/RAC (directed by Roy Ascott and Robert Adrian)

1986 Planetary Network: Laboratory UBIQUA. Artists in three continents interacting through computer networks, videotex, slowscan TV, fax. Venice: XLII Esposizione d’Arte La Biennale di Venezia (directed by Roy Ascott, Don Foresta and Tom Sherman)

1987 Digital Body Exchange. Digital image network between artists in Gwent, Perth, Sidney, Vienna, and Pittsburgh. Vienna: Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst (directed by Roy Ascott)

1988 Making the Invisible Visible. Telematic image/text exchange between artists at University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Carnegie-Mellon University and University College London. Vienna: Hochschule für angewandte Kunst (directed by Roy Ascott)

1989 Aspects of Gaia: digital pathways across the whole earth. Interactive art installation and telematic project with artists in three continents. Linz: Ars Electronica Festival of Art and Technology (directed by Roy Ascott)

1991 Texts, Bombs and Videotape. (Slowscan TV, digital image and fax exchange between artists in Vancouver, Pittsburgh, Vienna, and Bristol. Bristol: Watershed Media Centre (directed by Roy Ascott)

1991 Virtuelle Werelden. Documentary exhibition of computer communication projects by Roy Ascott (also works by Peter Beyls and Hugo Heyrman), Antwerp: Internationaal Cultureel Centrum

1992 The Geometry of Silence. Distributed sound installation. Vienna and Innsbruck: Museum Moderner Kunst and Ferdinandeum (directed by Roy Ascott)

1992 Telenoia: a global networking project for the eighth day of the week. Telematic project using vidphone, fax, BBS, EARN. s-Hertogenbosch: V2 Organization (directed by Roy Ascott)

1993 Three works made by Roy Ascott in the 1960s were included in the exhibition The Sixties Art Scene in Britain at the Barbican Art Gallery, London

1994 Gasflow. Telematic project, Internet and walkie-talkies in a text/sound interchange. Amsterdam: Mission Impossible, Gashouder (directed by Roy Ascott)

1995 Roy Ascott’s telematic art projects from 1984-94. Video documentation. Milan: Triennale di Milano

1996 Identity in Cyberspace: WorldWideWeb and CD ROM project between artists in Newport, Barcelona and Dublin. Newport: CAiiA (directed by Roy Ascott)

1996 Apollo 13. Interactive elevator (Televator), permanent installation. Concept design by Roy Ascott. Linz: Ars Electronica Center.

1999 Art-ID/Cyb-ID. Identities in Cyberspace. WWW project. Biennal do Mercosul. Porto Alegre, Brazil

2003 New Technologies. Ascott, Bolognini, Forest, Kriesche, Mitropoulos. Museo del Sannio Benevento, Italy


Roy Ascott . 1992 © Jan Sprij