Robert Adrian: The World in 24 Hours (1982)

Mostly online
Wildly experimental
Dive in deep
Hardly any tech
You had to be there

The World in 24 Hours is a telecommunication project initiated by Robert Adrian. The project linked sites in 15 cities worldwide – Vienna, Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Bath, Wellfleet, Pittsburgh, Toronto, San Francisco, Vancouver, Honolulu, Tokyo, Sydney, Istanbul, Florence, Athens – with Linz, host of the 1982 Ars Electronica Festival.

Running from 12:00 September 27 to 12:00 September 28 1982, artistic groups in each of the 15 cities were given a specific slot, dependent on their timezone, to connect to Adrian’s team in Linz, using a combination of SSTV, computer communication and telefacsimile. Tthe team in Linz contacted each location at 12:00 local time. They then had one hour to exchange material with the Linz team.

Robert Adrian hoped that the World in 24 Hours would set a precedent for the use of telecommunication networks in facilitating artistic collaboration worldwide. For this reason, the project relied on relatively accessible telecommunication mediums.

The World in 24 Hours at Ars Electronica Festival, 1982. Photograph by Sepp Schaffler.

“Telecommunications, by artists or anybody, only gets really exciting when carried out on a global scale. But the price of global scale telecommunications projects is all the pain and problems of language and cultural differences, time zones, networking and night-working. On balance I think it is worth it… looking through the material we received one can feel a new kind of art developing, a new medium.”

Robert Adrian, December 1982 (via EduEDA)

The World in 24 Hours demonstrates mid-deep hybridity. Through its use of varying telecommunication mediums, it facilitated connections between artistic groups located all over the world and enabled them to collaborate in real-time.

The project was highly collaborative, with Linz acting as a central node to bring together a remote artistic network. Though the remote teams weren’t connected to each other, they were connected through their participation in the overall 24 hour project. The artists collaborated in real time across multiple global locations, increases feelings of connection amongst remote participants.

Utilising telecommunications networks to produce artworks can make participants feel closer, as they collaborate on a tangible work of art that materialised in Linz.

Fax sent by Bill Bartlett and Hank Bull to Vienna as part of The World in 24 Hours.

We learned a lot… for one thing, we learned that most things, including people are not designed for non-stop, 24-hour, activity. But we also learned that such a project is possible and that the next one will be even better given the experience we now have.

Robert Adrian, December 1982 (via EduEDA)


  • Concept and network organisation: Robert Adrian
  • Organisation in Linz: Robert Adrian, Waltraut Cooper, Norbert Hinterberger
  • Participants in Linz : Gerald Hackenberg, Gabi Holzhaider, Moidi Kretschmann, Carl Pichler, Jörg Mikesch, Otto Mittmannsgruber
  • Organisation in Vienna: Helmut Mark. Participants in Vienna included Markus Geiger, Ruth Labak, Alice Weber, Heimo Zobernig