W I E N C O U V E R
A brief history of
WIENCOUVER
by Hank Bull, 1984

Wiencouver is an imaginary city hanging invisible in the space between its two poles: Vienna and Vancouver. Seen from Europe, both cities are at the end of the road, one on the Pacific rim of North America, the other just 65 km from the soviet bloc. They are each on the edge of the art world's magnetic field, able to observe from a distance, and equally able to turn the other way, one toward the far east and one toward the near east. Vienna and Vancouver are wealthy, regional cities with international perspectives. This, coupled with their linguistic and historical differences, makes them ideal correspondants.


WIENCOUVER I 1979
In 1979 I flew from Vancouver to Vienna to attend "Audio Scene 79", where I talked about radio by artists I said that radio, like other intermedia arts, removes the art world that normally mediates between the artist and the public. Radio, l said, was sculpture. l talked about an aesthetics of social action and international communication between artists, that we comprise an important network. l came back to Vancouver and began to correspond with artists in Vienna.


WIENCOUVER II 1980
Mail art, Slowscan Video; Computer.
We did a mail art exchange exhibition. Contributions from each city were shown simultaneously at the Modern Art Galerie/Grita Insam - as part of Robert Adrian's exhibition - in Vienna and the PUSH ART gallery in Vancouver. As a special event we took part in the global artists' telecom conference organised by Bill Bartlett. Our communication with Vienna was expanded to include a dozen cities around the world, all exchanging slowscan video and collaging an enormous text by computer.


WIENCOUVER III 1982
Telefax, Slowscan, Computer.
This took place as our contribution to Robert Adrian's "24 HOURS" project. On that day we used slowscan, computer and, for the first time, telefacsimile. We were beginning to feel at home in the medium. (Since the last exchange I had participated in a slowscan between the Video Inn in Vancouver and General Idea in Toronto, as well as Bill Bartlett's Pacific Rim Slowscan.)


WIENCOUVER IV 1983
Telephone Music, Slowscan.
To bring things full circle, Robert Adrian came to Vancouver, and so did Bill Bartlett. For the exchange we had several musical groups and performers in each city. The addition of a second telephone line to carry sound really brought the slowscan to life. Thanks to good technicians and excellent contributions this was our most successful exchange to date. Western Front Video produced a video document of the event.


from ART+TELECOMMUNICATION, Wien/Vancouver, 1984