The poor image is a copy in motion. Its quality is bad, its resolution substandard. As it accelerates, it deteriorates. It is a ghost of an image, a preview, a thumbnail, an errant idea, an itinerant image distributed for free, squeezed through slow digital connections, compressed, reproduced, ripped, remixed, as well as copied and pasted into other channels of distribution.
The poor image is a rag or a rip; an AVI or a JPEG, a lumpen proletarian in the class society of appearances, ranked and valued according to its resolution. The poor image has been uploaded, downloaded, shared, reformatted, and reedited. It transforms quality into accessibility, exhibition value into cult value, films into clips, contemplation into distraction. The image is liberated from the vaults of cinemas and archives and thrust into digital uncertainty, at the expense of its own substance. The poor image tends towards abstraction: it is a visual idea in its very becoming.....
......The circulation of poor images creates a circuit, which fulfills the original ambitions of militant and (some) essayistic and experimental cinema—to create an alternative economy of images, an imperfect cinema existing inside as well as beyond and under commercial media streams. In the age of file-sharing, even marginalized content circulates again and reconnects dispersed worldwide audiences.
(Source: Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery)
A Small Migration was a piece first presented as part of the show “Sonic Differences” which was a part of the Biennial of Electronic Art Perth, in 2004. This work is a direct extension of my previous “physical” installations, with this project extending both the scale and complexity of my previous installations, as well as the nature and complexity of my work with hybrid physical/computational systems.
A Small Migration consists of many piano wires strung roughly 8 or 9 feet above the ground across an open gallery or public space. The wires are fixed at the ends with tuning blocks, so that the walls of the gallery then act as a “sounding board” for the piece. Normally these would be attached to the Gallery Walls, but as the Moores Building in Freemantle, where the exhibition was held, is an historic building, the walls were off-limits, so instead, a scaffold-like structure was built supporting the tuning blocks from above.
Wires are stung in parallel, and roughly 3 inches apart, and as long as 30 or 40 feet (depending on the space available). Small motors tap each wire with a striker attached to the shaft of the motor, causing sound. Each motor is sent a series of short electrical pulses by the micro-controller, causing it to strike the wire, which creates a disturbance that generates sound and also visibly shakes the wire. The rhythmic patterns used are those found in nature, and are constantly accelerating and decelerating and are derived from indeterminate processes such as 1/f noise algorithms. The installation contains a great many wires and motors (variable given the space) —the number in this installation being 32 wires and motors.
Creative Time presents Playing the Building, a 9,000-square-foot, interactive, site-specific installation by renowned artist David Byrne. The artist transforms the interior of the landmark Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan into a massive sound sculpture that all visitors are invited to sit and “play.” The project consists of a retrofitted antique organ, placed in the center of the building's cavernous second-floor gallery, that controls a series of devices attached to its structural features—metal beams, plumbing, electrical conduits, and heating and water pipes. These machines vibrate, strike, and blow across the building’s elements, triggering unique harmonics and producing finely tuned sounds.
Note: Last year, Justin Downs wrote an article for Rhizome which outlined the design and fabrication of this project. Read it here.
In 1981 I began developing the “Long String Instrument,” in which rosin-coated fingers brush across dozens of metallic strings, fifty or more feet in length and installed in a performance space. Listening to the instrument has been compared to the experience of standing inside an enormous grand piano.
The instrument is acoustic. Wooden box resonators are mounted on a wall and twenty to thirty strings terminate into each resonator soundboard. Performers walk between pathways of strings suspended at waist-height. The instrument is played by “bowing” with rosined fingertips while walking. A uniquely designed brass capo on each wire changes the vibrating string length much as a capo on a guitar. Tuned in just intonation, the pitch range is determined by length: A4 (440 Hz, open A string on the violin) requires eight meters in length. Every octave lower requires a doubling of length. These enormous lengths are required when strings are excited in the longitudinal mode, or played by “bowing” lengthwise.
My music explores natural tunings based on the physics of vibrating strings. Through observation, I have determined that there is an optimal “bowing” speed in which string speaks most clearly in the longitudinal mode, presumably based on a relationship to the speed of the wave moving through the material. In the late 1980s I conceived of a graphic notation system that still functions as the basis for scoring my work, where timing and coordination of parts are determined by distance walked. Numbers placed on the floor at metric intervals are used as reference points indicated in the score. Transitions can be coordinated based on the time it takes to arrive at predetermined locations, thereby “choreographing” repeatable events to occur at specific locations. Strings vibrate in mathematical subdivisions of the total string length. When passing over the harmonic nodes of ...
"Text Rain is an interactive installation in which participants use the familiar instrument of their bodies, to do what seems magical—to lift and play with falling letters that do not really exist. In the Text Rain installation participants stand or move in front of a large projection screen. On the screen they see a mirrored video projection of themselves in black and white, combined with a color animation of falling letters. Like rain or snow, the letters appears to land on participants' heads and arms. The letters respond to the participants' motions and can be caught, lifted, and then let fall again. The falling text will 'land' on anything darker than a certain threshold, and 'fall' whenever that obstacle is removed. If a participant accumulates enough letters along their outstretched arms, or along the silhouette of any dark object, they can sometimes catch an entire word, or even a phrase. The falling letters are not random, but form lines of a poem about bodies and language. 'Reading' the phrases in the Text Rain installation becomes a physical as well as a cerebral endeavor."
Julie Karabenick: Early in your career you made paintings and drawings. Now for almost 30 years you've used computers in making your art.
Mark Wilson: When I started using computers in 1980, very few artists were using them. To me, these machines were totally cool and exciting. Back then, there was little software of interest to an artist like myself. To make art with computers, you had to invent new working procedures. I bought a personal computer and learned to write my own software. I was trying to find a unique way of using the computer and software to create geometric images.
After developing some programming skills, the methodology of writing software to create images became utterly natural.
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator