Keith Sonnier (coproduced with Liza Béar), Send/Receive Satellite Network, 1977, NASA truck. Installation view, Battery Park City, New York. Photo: Gwen Thomas.

Keith Sonnier (coproduced with Liza Béar), Send/Receive Satellite Network, 1977, NASA truck. Installation view, Battery Park City, New York. Photo: Gwen Thomas.

Keith Sonnier

Keith Sonnier (coproduced with Liza Béar), Send/Receive Satellite Network, 1977, NASA truck. Installation view, Battery Park City, New York. Photo: Gwen Thomas.

THE SCULPTURAL BASE HAD TO GO. I chose to work, and move, within a fourth dimension by placing two six-foot-square mirrors face to face (Mirror Act, 1969), creating what I refer to as an “infinity channel” to work within. First the manipulation of forms. Then color, forced to bounce back and forth within the infinity channel. Color as volume within architectural space. Solid color, not applied color. A spatial volume that the viewer moves through. The point is not to reflect upon the object but to make the object the situation (the title of the book for my 1971 show at Galerie Rolf Ricke, Cologne: Object, Situation, Object).

Then the video camera comes into the work. The first videotapes were narrative spatial studies of people and objects moving around and inside the infinity channel, recorded and projected on large flat screens. My concept of video changes. Computerized images taken from television are used first, then layered. Shapes are mixed from seven simultaneous visual tracks. A concept of a global communications system of broadcasting, sending, and receiving, visually and audibly through space.

Send/Receive Satellite Network, 1977. Collaboration with Liza Béar, my coconspirator in New York. Experimental video project between artists on the East and West Coasts. The Send/Receive Satellite Network was established using a low-flying NASA satellite system. Two days of live interactive two-way video broadcast were carried out. An attempt to establish a collaborative state between artists communicating from one coast to the other. A big push for the concept of live video communication.

I stopped making video and broadcast-TV work after this experiment. Organization and research had made it feel like I was going to be permanently attached to a desk job and become a media mogul. Ironically, it seems that the contemporary art world is now influenced to such an extent by modern technology and by the Google/art-fair mentality that, in the end, tout est à vendre.