Robert Whitman, in 1966 was one of 10 artists who worked with more than 30 engineers and scientists from Bell Telephone Laboratories to create 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering (nine events held between 13–23 October 1966). From this experience in collaboration Whitman joined engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and fellow artist Robert Rauschenberg to start Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.), a foundation that aimed to provide artists with access to new technology through collaborations between artists and engineers and scientists.
Whitman continued to collaborate with engineers on installations and works as varied as laser sculptures and a sound-activated Mylar mirror installation. His long collaboration with optics scientist John Forkner yielded an installation in which real images of objects float in space. He was also one of the core artists designing the Pepsi Pavilion at Expo '70, in which the interior of the Pavilion was a large Mylar spherical mirror, that produced real images of the floor and visitors hanging upside down in space.
In October 2016 Arts Catalyst have commissioned Whitman to present a new performance called Side Effects, as part of 9 Evenings: Theatre and Engineering Revisited 1966/2016. The event is exactly fifty years after the legendary 9 Evenings event.