20 Ames Street Building E15
Cambridge, MA 02139
Olympia Regenbogen/Olympic Rainbow (1972), Dir., Muri Selle, approx. 20 minutes, color
The film Olympia Regenbogen/Olympic Rainbow (1972) was first intended by Piene as a means to both document his eponymous work of “Sky Art” for the 1972 Munich Olympics and provide an entry to the aesthetic and experience of the live event. Unexpectedly, the film also documents the audience’s experience, who had days earlier witnessed the mediatized deaths of 11 Israeli athletes being held hostage. The artwork was a multicolored helium-inflated sculpture installed for the closing ceremony of the Games, consisting of five horizontal, parallel polyethylene tubes and with each tube appearing in one of the five colors of the Munich Games. When fully inflated, the sculpture formed an arch 2000 feet long, the rainbow stretching over the Gunther Behnisch-designed Olympic Stadium. As the stadium’s structural form–acrylic glass canopies secured by metal ropes–was architectonically pioneering, Piene’s Olympic Rainbow is the largest and most difficult work of art the artist has created. Its success was made possible in part by Walter Lewin, an MIT physics professor and authority on balloon-born X-ray astronomy.
The Medium is the Medium (1969), 30 minutes, Produced by WGBH. Executive Producer: David Oppenheim. Producers: Ann Gresser, Pat Marx. Director: Fred Barzyk
Produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, The Medium is the Medium is one of the earliest and most prescient examples of the collaboration between television and the emerging field of video art in the United States. WGBH commissioned six visual artists: Allan Kaprow, Nam June Paik, Otto Piene, James Seawright, Thomas Tadlock and Aldo Tambellini to create original works for broadcast television. Piene’s “Electronic Light Ballet” featured a young woman levitated with hot-air balloons against a backdrop of video feedback and colorful designs. In pursuing their individual aesthetics, these artists produced works that explored the parameters of the new medium, from image processing and interactivity to video, dance, and sculpture.
This special screening of The Medium is the Medium is courtesy of the WGBH Media Library & Archives.
Lichtspur im Haus der Sonne (1975), 43 minutes
Lichtspur im Haus der Sonne (Light Trail in the house of the Sun) is a film documentation of several one-time, environmentally specific events created by Otto Piene in Hawaii. The film includes Piene’s Light Trail, a site specific installation, Tent 2 a sky art event, and Lava Dance, a performance in which four dancers interpret the elements of water, fire, air, and earth.
This program is FREE and open to the general public.
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