Skip navigation

Otto Piene

Otto Piene, project director for "Centerbeam" and director of MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies, continues to explore the many interfaces of art, technology, and the environment.

Titles by This Author

Otto Piene opens up new horizons in both art and art education. His book is a plea for more scope, more space for art—for making public property artful and making art public property—for freeing the arts from the tight economic bonds that give the curators and collectors a monopoly. He writes, "The artist-planner is needed. He can make a playground out of a heap of bent cans, he can make a park out of a desert, he can make a paradise out of a wasteland, if he accepts the challenge . . . . In order to enable artists of the future to take on planning and shaping tasks on a large scale, art education has to change completely. "

The first part of More Sky covers "things to do" arranged alphabetically A-M—including city planning, clothing, collaboration, electronic music, engineering, government, graffiti, graphics, and green toad jelly. (Piene will take up N-Z some other time.)

The last part of the book, "Wind Manual," gives a practical demonstration of things to do in one area—the whole sky, making use of the wind. This section consists almost entirely of illustrations of some of the things the artist can do to purify the skies polluted by man—including flags, banners, ribbons, wind socks, wind sculptures, riggings, and kites.

Titles by This Editor

Laser-projected images on moving steam screens, solar-tracked holograms, a 144-foot water prism and helium-lifted sky sculptures are some of the features of "Centerbeam," a kinetic performing group work exhibited at documenta 6 in Kessel, Germany (1977) and on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. (1978). Its production involved the participation of 22 artists at MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies—as well as science and engineering consultants. These illustrations, essays, and biographical profiles of the contributors provide a history of the work, documenting the unusual collaborative process that brought it into being.