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Robert Adrian Papers

Identifier: 1991-0001

Scope and Content Note

The Robert Adrian Papers are housed in two archival boxes and arranged into nine series. Series have been designated for individual projects represented in the collection: Telecom Conference, ZAG, The World in 24 Hours, Interplay, Le Plissure du Texte, Fax, Artex Mail, Network Planetario- 42nd Venice Biennale, and miscellaneous. Generally, these papers include telefax messages about his projects, correspondence, newsletters, photographs, posters, and articles. Information on the I.P. Sharp electronic mail system includes Artbox/Artex and "Interplay," "Telecom conference," and the "Zag" project. The telefax messages have been copied on to acid-free paper because the fax paper is not durable over a long period of time. Therefore most of the originals are not in the collection. Part of this collection, particularly correspondence, is in German.

The material in this collection reflects Adrian's idea that telecommunications could improve communications between artists all over the world and keep them in touch with the latest developments in the art world. He felt that telecommunications could increase the creative possibilities for the artist. Aiding in these communication projects was the beginning of Artbox in 1990. Artbox was a mailbox for artists' communications and facilitated the coordination of projects such as Artex.


  • 1979-1987



Biography or History

Robert Adrian was born in Toronto, Canada in 1935. Since 1972, he has lived in Vienna. His diverse art work ranges from analytical painting in the 1970s, conceptual photography, small sculptures and model construction to light and sound installations and telecommunications projects in the public and media spheres. He began work in the telecommunications field in 1979 and is a pioneer in the field, particularly through his "The World in 24 Hours" project. The project involved fax, slow-scan tv, and may have been the first to include a worldwide network of amateur radio operators.

He has also continued to work with different media including installation, model-making, photography, painting, sculpture, radio, and computer. His work has been included in many international exhibitions. He writes and publishes about the post-industrial revolution and its effects on art and culture.


2 Linear feet (2 boxes)




The Robert Adrian Papers contain information relating to many of the same projects documented in the Digital Art Exchange (DAX) collection, including preliminary organizational documents for "La Plissure du Texte," "Network Planetario," and the I.P. Sharp Associates' Artex (Artbox) artists' text network, the first of its kind in the world.


This collection was donated to the University Archives by Robert Adrian in 1991.

Related Material

The DAX project collection is also available in the University Archives.



Robert Adrian Papers, 1979-1987
Clare L. Michelson
May 29, 2008
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Carnegie Mellon University Archives Repository

4909 Frew St
Pittsburgh PA 15213
(412) 268-5021