VIDEO: MANIPULATE THE ELECTRONIC SIGNAL (MAKING ROOM FOR IMAGINATION)

By the end of the 1960’s a new generation of artists surfaced. Video artists with a fair knowledge of technique unraveled the basic materials of their medium. With the ability to electronically manipulate video signals and they created their own new visual language. Through their newly developed techniques of Direct Videosynthesis, Camera Image Processing, Feedback and Scan Modulation they created not pictures of anything specific, but more a balance of purely electronic forces below the threshold of perception.
Every technology creates their own iconoclastic counterparts, so you could consider these artists the groundbreakers for contemporary artists like Billy Roisz and Bas van Koolwijk, artists firmly attacking the illusion of video.

OPTICAL MACHINES
Rikkert Brok, Maarten Halmans
The Netherlands, live performance 30.00 min.

Optical Machines is a spectacular hands-on performance by the Dutch artists Rikkert Brok (image) and Maarten Halmans (sound). They work with self-made projectors especially designed for playing loops, looking somewhat like the original dream machines created by Bryon Gysin in the Beat era. With these they generate interfering patterns and abstract animation, projected on screen. The various images and light sources are generated, manipulated and mixed live on stage. Interaction between image and sound is achieved with build in sensors, providing a signal to control several (analog) synthesizers.
Artists site: http://www.opticalmachines.nl

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FDBCK/AV
Bas van Koolwijk,
The Netherlands, live performance 20.00 min.

The live performances and single channel video’s of Dutch artist Bas van Koolwijk gained quite a reputation in the international media scene. In FDBCK/AV he generates a feedback control circuit between the audio and the video signals, making audio and video become two facets of a self-sustaining data stream. External control is established by manipulation of the parameters for algorithmic interpretation of image>sound and sound>image. The application with which this is done, makes no use of camera or movie input. All sound and image data are generated real-time within the feedback system using digital video basics.
Artist site: http://www.umatic.nl/info_bas.html

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BEATLES ELECTRONIQUES
Jud Yalkut & Nam June Paik
USA, 1966-69, video, 03.00 min.

“Beatles electroniques” was shot in black-and-white from live broadcasts of the Beatles while Paik electromagnetically improvised distortions on the receiver, and also from videotaped material produced during a series of experiments with filming off the monitor of a Sony videotape recorder. The film is three minutes long and is accompanied by an electronic soundtrack by composer Ken Werner, called 'Four Loops,' derived from four electronically altered loops of Beatles sound material. The result is an eerie portrait of the Beatles not as pop stars but rather as entities that exist solely in the world of electronic media. (Gene Youngblood)

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MATHOMS
Lillian Schwartz
USA, 1970, video, 02.18 min.

Lillian Schwartz is a pioneer of computer generated art. She made a few dozen experimental computer animations at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey in the 1970’s, mostly in collaboration with Kenneth Knowlton. ‘Mathoms’ is an early example of her fabulous work, combining different animation techniques. The electronic soundtrack is made by F. Richard Moore.
Artist site: http://www.lillian.com

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ABSTRACTIONS ON A BEDSHEET
Abstractions on a bedsheet
Bill Etra
USA, 1975, video, 06.00 min.

‘Bedsheet’ is an elegant work made by one of the great pioneers of the video era, Bill Etra. Together with Steve Rutt he developed the Rutt/Etra Scan Processor in New York in the early 1970's: a real-time system that electronically alters the deflection signals that generate the television raster.
Artist site: http://www.etra.com

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REMINISCENCE
Steina & Woody Vasulka
USA, 1974, video, 04.53 min.

An early work of video art pioneers the Vasulkas. ‘Reminiscence’ is an otherworldly record of a ‘Portapak’ walk through a farmhouse in Moravia, the site of Woody Vasulka's youth, as seen through the transformative effects of the Rutt/Etra Scan Processor. Images become eerily sculptural, fading in and out of abstraction, as if in evocation of memory. All the energy of the image is translated into electronic scan lines.
Artist site: http://www.vasulka.org

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MOIRÉ
Livinus & Jeep van de Bundt
the Netherlands, 1975, video, 06.12 min.

Livinus van de Bundt is the first Dutch video artist. He created electronic paintings of light, movement and sound with his self-built image synthesizer and generator, an act that marks the beginning of Dutch video art. Livinus added a new and electronically-determined dimension to the aesthetics of fine art's static image. By being consciously neither narrative nor figurative - qualities that have long been appropriated by television, Moiré is an abstract rhythmic video painting with no fixed form or color.

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SPIRAL 5 PTL
Dan Sandin
USA, 1981, video, 07.07 min.

‘Spiral 5 PTL’ is the fifth in a series of real time performances in which video synthesis was produced live. ‘PTL’ refers to ‘probably the last’ of the series.
The Sandin Image Processor (an analog computer built in 1973) is used like a musical instrument to create variations on a spiral, transforming its basic form into an ever-moving gyro. The movement is synchronous with an audio track that varies from electronic buzzes and Space Age voices, to the quiet sounds of running water.

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CONDUCTOR
Anouk de Clercq
Belgium, 2004, video, 02.22 min.

A lightning conductor appears as a musical conductor for the cloud cover. At the core of an increasingly threatening blaze of fire and a whistling wind, a minuscule light has final call, until the violence of heaven discharges abruptly and the lightning conductor throws it all off-screen.
Artist site: http://www.portapak.be

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TRACES
Pierre Yves Cruaud
France, 2005, video, 06.10 min.

Cruaud is a short-film maker from France utilizing various different techniques for producing each of his works. For the minimalist video ‘Traces’ he used the penetrating powers of x-rays revealing unseen parts of the inner human body. These fragments are scattered over the screen in a macabre choreography.
Artist site: http://cruaud.free.fr

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DEFLECTION CURRENTS
Ian Helliwell
UK, 2005, video, 03.15 min.

Bristol based do-it-yourself whiz Ian Helliwell in full swing with ‘Deflection Currents’. The film combines Lissajous patterns and images from a modified TV test generator, filmed off a monitor with Super 8, along with hand processed footage shot in London using various distortion lenses. The 2 reels of film are mixed together and accompanied with electronic sounds from homemade circuits.
Artist site: http://www.ianhelliwell.co.uk

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BRAINFRAMES
Fred Pelon
the Netherlands, 2005, video, 06.00 min.

‘Brainframes’ is based upon a special stereo soundtrack with healing effects. Best results when sitting in between right and left speakers. Binaural beats are a result of two different auditory impulses, originating in opposite ears, below 100 Hz and which differ in frequency between 0 and 30 Hz. This third brainwave, ranging from 0 to 30 Hz is not heard but perceived as an auditory beat and can entrain specific neural rhythms. Thus it becomes a stimulus for all kinds of altered states of mind.
The visuals support this auditory effect by their abstract but effective stimulation of that part in the brain where sight resides. Based on mold footage being feedbacked, looped and re-shot, it shows the real time possibilities that originate from combining film and video technique.
Artist site: http://www.fredpelon.nl

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PHOTOSYNTHESIS (AOR)
Robin Fox
Australia, 2004, video, 10.00 min.

Today’s digital culture is obsessed with synaesthesia. One of the most enduring technological configurations for the mapping of sound-to-light relationships has been the combination of wave generators and cathode ray tube oscilloscopes. ‘Photosynthesis (AOR)’ is a contemporary and refined example of this early computer technique developed in the early 1950’s.
Computer pioneer Ben Laposky in 1974: “There is an analogy between electronic music and oscillons (electronic abstractions). Both are created by means of waveforms or vibrations – one affecting the aural, the other the visual sense; many of the same types of oscillators may be used for both. An input of musical waveforms into the oscilloscope can also create some interesting patterns in rhythmic motion.”
The dvd ‘Backscatter’ by Robin Fox is available through http://www.synrecords.com

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EVEN ODD EVEN
Barbara Doser
Austria, 2004, video, 07.30 min.

´Even Odd Even´ is a dazzling videowork in black and white created with the process of feedback. It concerns the focused center of a video feedback with very fast moving image content. To be able to experience not only the fascinating flow of information, but also the content and correlation in more detail, the video feedback is decomposed into its essential parts – the alternate successive odd and even fields, each lasting 1/50 second. Separated from each other, newly ordered and their speed manipulated, various sequences are created which are placed in relationship to the original video feedback. The apparently hidden becomes visible in a process of aesthetic experience. The accompanying soundtrack is created by Hofstetter Kurt.
http://www.sunpendulum.at/cooperation/barbaradoser

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RADIO_INTL. 14/37
lia
Austria, 2005, video, 02.00 min.

In ‘radio_int.14/37’, the Austrian media artist lia develops a reduced visual composition set to the filigree music from Portugese sound artists @c. Stimulus for the creation of this work was provided by the electronic label Crónica. They invited musicians and video artists from around the world to each create a two minute-long miniature for a compilation on the theme of essays on radio. Radio hereby offers an artistic reference point as a sound medium, as technology, and as a cultural form of expression.
Artists sites: http://lia.sil.at/ www.at-c.org

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INTERFERENZEN~ v0.1
Manuel Knapp,
Austria, 2005, video, 10.00 min.

Manuel Knapp’s animations –or, more precisely, simulations – have only an apparent and initially ‘constructive’ intent: the simplest basic geometric forms (straight line, rectangle, cube) are animated through friction and gravity. The virtual camera’s position is programmed in the virtual space in line with the movement of the forms. The visual potential of simulation, however, first gains dimension at the subsequent, virtual level: the basic geometric figures generated are ‘covered’ with textures (bitmaps). The foiling and penetration now become visual events, which, especially with regard to their programmed speed, lie ‘outside’ of any conformity to natural laws of physical space, and instead, occur within the ‘actuality’ of the animated image; the simulation. With Knapp, this calculated unpredictability formulates an embodiment and three-dimensionality of pure visibility based on a virtual ‘physics of simulation’. Knapp mainly invokes disturbances and program errors, aspects of the machine’s dysfunction, so to speak, to design a three-dimensionality. (Sixpack catalog)

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AVVA:RAGTAG
Billy Roisz
Austria, 2006, video, 05.00 min.

A joint work by Billy Roisz (visuals) and Toshimaru Nakamura (sound). The minimal clicking and humming sounds from Nakamura’s mixing board itself, created without external input, are used as input for Roisz’s video mixer. The result is colorful, shimmering and impenetrable – between reduced sound and an extensively emptied picture, between a skeletal rhythm and a matrix of video lines, a combination composed in such a way as to be less audiovisual than ‘technovisionary’. A tachycardian aesthetic, both roughly trembling and finely chased, reflected in distant worlds of sine waves.
Artist site: http://gnu.klingt.org

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ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD
Semiconductor
UK, 2005, video, 04.40 min.

In the films of the UK duo Semiconductor our physical world is revealed in flux; cities in motion, shifting landscapes and systems in chaos.
Presented as a fictional documentary, ‘All the time in the world’ sees the millions of years that have shaped and formed the land, played out at the speed of sound.
Semiconductor have reanimated the epic landscape of Northumbria in the north of England using data recordings from the archives at the British Geological Survey in Edinburgh. This data of local and distant seismic disturbances has been converted to sound and used to reveal and bring to life the constantly shifting geography around us.
Artists site: http://www.semiconductorfilms.com

 

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