MIT Fellow at CAVS

From 1976-84, Aldo was a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Visual Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. There, he conducted courses and workshops and participated in events in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. His Media and Communication work was exhibited at the Bienale ?Sao Paolo, Brazil and at the Sogetzu, Japan.

Aldo found himself in a fertile environment where his interactive ideas could be actualized. In 1980, he founded Communicationsphere – a network to develop channels among artists, technician, engineers and performers and all concerned with the impact of tele-communications on contemporary society.

“He now sees these global events as his canvas … 'Today, given the level of technology, artists shouldn’t be making tapes and showing them to 20 people in a gallery,’ he says. ‘Instead, they should be thinking of satellites, two-way cable, and large networks — art versions of Monday NFL Football or Ted Turner’s all-news network. That’s what we should be looking forward to.' …'The important thing about this experiment,' according to Tambellini, 'was that it wasn’t orchestrated or timed like broadcast television. Television is high pitched because it has to sell things, The continuity and all that hammering away will make us buy the product. In the machine age, machinery was made to replace the strength of people; now, in an era of mass communication, television is replacing not the muscle but the parts of people that make them think: This is serious'.” – D.C. Dennison, Phoenix Newspaper, August 18, 1981

communicationsphere logo
"Technology and culture are interrelated from an industrial-electronic society we are moving to a communications-information society – telecommunications brings the world screen to screen and we become one with the new perception of the world –the electromagnetic spectrum is to be considered a natural resource for creative activity.  Transmitted information is the new form of art – this is the age of mass media & technology – this is the age of satellite and instant global communications this is the age of networks – the age of interactive media. The human system is in the process of globalizing itself. We live in a reality defined by the structural invention of the mass media-printed & electronic images are the building blocks of our cultural evolution.  New imaging systems are being invented – new storage capabilities are being invented – reality is being constantly reinvented. The age of Communicationsphere brings art into a new parameter – the age of Communicationsphere dissolves the line between life and art potentially the globe & solar system become a huge artifact & one big thought Communicationsphere created a new electronic organism-- Communicationsphere is the new environment --  its invisible processes take place through waves in the sky satellites – cable—antenna & cables form a reality -- Affecting all social & human interaction as we have previously known it to be -- the telecommunications media experience replaces & mediates the natural experience."Aldo Tambellini, statement, 1980 CAVS, MIT published in “Centervideo,”  February 1981

The Communicationsphere group with Aldo Tambellini as coordinator, in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and Educational Video Resources, M.I.T undertook the following projects:

PICTUREPHONE EVENT – Illinois Bell Picturephone System, June 8, 1977.
This was the first Picturephone, two-way live event by artists.  The Illinois Bell Telephone Company made two spaces available which were Picturephone conference sites.  The company disrupted the order of the “system” by making the Picturephone available to two artists, Aldo Tambellini, visual and media artist and Sonia Sheridan from the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, Illinois.  The goal was to see what new applications these artists would bring to the technology currently used by businesses to communicate.

“Picturephone meetings evolved from years of experience with regular
picturephone service which is basically a person to person medium of communication.  Utilizing the latest in advanced telecommunication
equipment and technique, we have expanded so that a group of people
in one city can have face to face business meetings in another city without
having to be there in person.  You can show slides, charts, view graphs and videotapes; work on an erasable board.  At the touch of a button, on master control, the hard copy machine will deliver a paper copy of any picture on the incoming monitor within seconds” –from Picturephone Meeting Service Plan Guide, Bell Telephone

Aldo Tambellini gave a two week workshop prior to the Picturephone Event where he became the catalyst for new ideas and activities to be undertaken in the hour long event.  The two groups of eight students each, in two separate spaces where going to interact in real time.  Neither space knew what the other was going to do.  All the media used was instant. The room was equipped with cameras that were voice activated which focused on the speaker and images of the participant speaking were transmitted from one site to the other.  Anything on the screen could be instantly printed out and participants could print an image write on it, distort it and rebroadcast it.  There was constant improvisation on the material being exchanged.  Polaroid images of the screen were taken and words added to the pictures and then transmitted to the other space.  There was constant reprocessing of images and verbal communication.  The images were generated so fast that often the picture captured had distortions in it.

During the span of the hour event, Sara Dickinson started from one space and moved to the other.  As she walked from one space to the other she would stop on the street and perform a mime.  These mini performances were taped by one of the participants.  The tape was then transmitted across the spaces via the existing camera in the picturephone site in real time.  Participants printed frames as the tape was being broadcast.

Aldo Tambellini, Center for Advanced Visual Studies, MIT
with Sonia L. Sheridan and participants from the School of the
Art Institute of Chicago


PACIFIC RIM: SLOW SCAN – Vancouver Art Gallery- May, 1979
A visual communication link between members of the PEASESAT users group in the Pacific — using the ATS—l satellite (NASA). Participation in slow scan link connecting ATS—l stations in Rarotanga (Cook Islands), Santa Cruz (California), Wellington (New Zealand) and Vancouver via the terminal at Simon Fraser University Communication Studies Department utilizing a telephone link.

Aldo Tambellini and Antonio Muntadas, Center for Advanced
Visual Studies, M.I.T. Organized by Bill Bartlett, coordinator, Direct Media Association, Bender Island, British Columbia


TWO-WAY LIVE – Boston Film Video Foundation May 19, 1979
Two-Way Live used a closed circuit television system allowing audience participation and consisted of video monitors two cameras, microphones and audio amplifier. Video and audio were exchanged between two different locations - indoors and outdoors. Participants engaged in various forms of interpersonal communication.


TV TO TV – December 14, 1979
This project was an extension of Two-Way Live.  Using the facility and the creative and technical staff of M.I.T. as well as Communicationsphere Group, Aldo Tambellini created an interactive community event.  Flyers were distributed to members of the community soliciting participation from performers and interested individuals.  This very popular event created a level of excitement within the community and brought out the importance and meaning of interaction among people. “M.I.T. had a bidirectional 300MHZ Bandwidth cable system which distributes television campus-wide. When video and audio are assigned to a frequency between 0—108 MHZ and modulated on the cable it travels to the control center or hub of the system. A camera, microphone and audio amplifier at each location was coupled with modulators in this 0—108 MHZ range and the signals traveled to the control center where the frequencies were converted to the 175—300 MHZ range which travel from the hub to everyone connected to the cable. This enabled both locations to see and hear each other.”  Anthony (Skip) Tenczar, M.I.T. Cable


Aldo Tambellini coordinator of The Communicationsphere group in
cooperation with the Center for Advanced Visual Studies and
Educational Video Resources, MIT Atlanta College of Art, and Kunstverein Hamburg


The Communicationsphere group in collaboration with artist Berud Kracke as part of Kracke’s installation “Translocation — Ornament der Masse”. The German part was executed by the group AG horizont and Steffen Wernery.


ARTISTS' USE OF TELECOMMUNICATIONS – February 16, 1980 [insert video clip]
Aldo Tambellini with the Communicationsphere Group, in cooperation with the Center for Visual Studies, Educational Video Resources and the Architecture Machine Group, M.I.T. created this event which utilized a live international audio and video link.  Communication was via standard telephone lines.  Each location had two separate lines.  Each location had two separate lines-one coupled to a computer terminal-the other to a slow scan transceiver (Robot 530).  All computer terminal lines were connected to the I.P. Sharp Electronic Mail Service central computer in Toronto, Canada which accommodated communication among all locations.  The slow scan lines were linked to the Kellogg Conferencing Center in Denver, Colorado.  Denver transmitted images to all locations.  When one location sent slow scan images, all other locations received them. “Artists’ Use of Telecommunications utilized a live international audio and video link. Communication was via standard telephone lines. Each location had two separate lines — one coupled to a computer terminal — the other to a slow scan transceiver (Robot 530). All computer terminal lines were connected to the I.P. Sharp Electronic Nail Service central computer in Toronto, Canada which accommodated communication between all locations. The slow scan lines were linked to the Kellogg Conferencing Center in Denver, Colorado. Denver transmitted images to all locations. When one location sent slow scan images, all other locations received them.” Anthony (Skip) Tenczar, M.I.T. Cable

The Communicationsphere group in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Educational Video Resources and the Architecture Machine Group, M.I.T.


Aldo Tambellini joined artists Bill Bartlett in Vancouver, British Columbia and Tom Klinkowstein in Holland for this event.  Each of the three locations used a Robot 530 slow scan transceiver coupled to a standard telephone line. The telephone service in Amsterdam, Holland provided the three-way conference link which enabled one location to talk or send slow scan, while the other two received.

The Communicationsphere group in cooperation with the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Educational Video Resources and the Architecture Machine Group, MIT,


INTERFACE EVENT [ insert video clip] – February 1981
This was a transatlantic event sponsored by the Center for Advanced Visual Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Otto Piene, Director).   The event used two spaces, one at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts and the other, at the American Center for Artist and Student in Paris, France. The sites were supervised by two artists who had traveled to the sites for the transmission.  The MIT site was supervised by French artist, Roland Biladi who had come from Paris for the event and the Paris site was supervised by artist, Aldo Tambellini, the creator of the idea and a Fellow at CAVS.  The event was to create a simultaneous “exchange” of leadership by creating two large ten feet by fourteen feet murals, one at each of the sites. The pictures transmitted were of the “Heads of State”, President Reagan of the United States and French President, Giscard d’Estaing. Specific photos of the Presidents were chosen and divided into 16 sections.  Each section was transmitted via slow scan by transatlantic telephone cable at a rate of eight seconds per frame, each frame being a part of the picture.  Each frame was photographed as it was received by the site by a Polaroid camera and the negative was brought to a darkroom to be printed.  The pictures then were assembled in front of an audience and became part of the mosaic mural.

“The editing process of our culture takes place continuously every night in front of the TV screen---and bits of information we call news…images and words we call information. In the regeneration of old icons, the making of new ones---in a digested format, the world is defined.—we connect for a moment over the air in isolated spheres we called homes. Years from now we will remember that art was swallowed by media—that media was the language of communication---that interactive media brings the process to a live response.”
Aldo Tambellini, June 13 1981

In the continuous discharging of media in the environment the flow of information jams in the biosphere—it’s the continuous consumption consuming you---the atmosphere of media and telecommunications that forms a communicationsphere.

You breathe media from the electromagnetic spectrum from your brain cells and the electromagnetic fusion.

Put on your contact lenses---your hearing aid
Get blood transfusions and x-rays to detect the media process
invading your system
You are a yesterday Felix the cat toy image on a rotating table transmitting breadlines.

felix the cat