Telepathic Piece




Robert Barry created two almost identical artworks in Marcuse Piece, 1970-71 and Telepathic Piece, 1969, both of which are quite similar to Radiation Piece of 1969. He was very much inspired by technologies of invisible phenomena and Cold War psychic warfare and conflicting radio propaganda broadcasts produced by the USA and USSR. Barry worked rewith radioactive substances including Microcurie Radiation and radioactive Cesium, inert gases, ultrasonic sound, microwaves, telepathy and is also renowned for his use of language and text, as well as technologies and revolutionary concepts that often appear to be almost immaterial. Barry’s Telepathic Piece, existed through its appearance in a catalogue, which showed Barry’s will to communicate ‘thought art’ outside of language and image via telepathy. Microwaves and telepathy were being explored by scientists and military and deployed on both sides of the Cold War at this time. Robert Barry’s Marcuse Piece and Telepathic Piece were remarkably similar in that they added to the environment by decluttering. Barry is fascinated by the electrical energy of the body converted from bio-chemicals and his work with psychic, telepathic, energetic and radioactive waves. He explains he was “dealing with the electronic energy which takes place in the body itself. And I have always been involved in telepathy and parapsychological phenomena, and worked along those lines using mental energy as a medium.”1


  1. Barry, Robert, and Patricia Norvell. “Robert Barry, May 30, 1969 [Patricia Norvell in Conversation with Robert Barry].” Eds. Alexander Alberro, and Patricia Norvell. Recording Conceptual Art. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London: U of CA P, 2001 86-100, 86-100.