In half-light and fractured, staggering visuals, a young woman enters into a suburban house at night. As the door closes behind her, both the physical space and the surface of the projection begin to splinter, collapse and rupture. Spaces enclose and enfold, the female subject multiples and shatters across the screen, and the film itself screeches and tears as the sprockets and optical soundtrack violently invade the fictional world. Any semblance of a cinematic narrative is overwhelmed and assaulted, leaving it scattered in a thousand shards amid an entirely unique cinematic language. This is Peter Tscherkassky's Outer Space.
Last month, I posted Norman McLaren's 1971 work Synchromy to Rhizome. Vernissage TV visited the WRO Art Center in Wrocław, Poland, where the exhibition surveying his career "Norman McLaren: Synchromie. Musique Optique" is currently on display. In this clip, curator Piotr Krajewski discusses McLaren's technique and relationship to sound.
Intel and Vice-affiliated media channel The Creators Project speak with video artist Takeshi Murata in this short clip. They provide a snapshot of his practice, touching on his unique approach to animation. There's a brief interview with Murata on their website as well, here.
Here are pyrotechnics of the keyboard, but with only a camera to "play the tune." To make this film, Norman McLaren employed novel optical techniques to compose the piano rhythms of the sound track. These he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen so that, in effect, you see what you hear. It is synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word.
Homebrew Electronics is a new series on the Rhizome blog. For these posts, I will be conducting studio visits with artists and inventors who create unique electronic instruments.
Last week, I met with cousins Brian and Leon Dewan of Dewanatron at Leon’s apartment/workshop in New Rochelle, NY. I first encountered their whimsical, one-of-a-kind instruments at a solo exhibition at Pierogi Gallery in Brooklyn a few years ago. Not only do they produce and exhibit their own instruments, they use them in performances and in recordings as well. They split the labor evenly - Leon builds the circuits for each instrument, and Brian crafts the consoles that contain them at his home in Catskill, NY. Despite their jetlag from a recent trip to Los Angeles (Brian had screened his film strips at the Museum of Jurassic Technology’s theater), the Dewans gave me a thorough walkthrough of their work, patiently explaining how each of their creations functioned.
The Dewans use the Dual Primate Console quite a bit in their performances; it also made a starring appearance on their album Semi-Automatic. Built for two operators (or “primates”), each side provides four rhythmically independent voices, which can be programmed using a rotary telephone dial.
They got the idea to use a rotary telephone dial in this fashion from antique Language Lab Machines, which also integrate telephone dials into their interface. The rows of switches control the voices, and Nixie bulbs lining the top of the instrument indicate the different voices selected by the telephone dial. These bulbs were produced from the 1950s through the 1970s and were a precursor to LED displays.
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(Image sourced from Seventeen Gallery's exhibition "SCRATCH!")
I first discovered video artist George Barber's work via a review of his DVD BEYOND LANGUAGE on LUX by Ed Halter in Artforum last year. Associated with the Scratch Video movement, Barber's witty appropriation of mainstream movies and television as well as his fast-paced editing techniques resonated with many of the YouTube mash-ups I've seen, and his work was clearly pioneering for what has now become a fairly widespread approach. Today I will post up a number of Barber's videos, spanning the last few decades of his career.
Juried Exhibition: Earth, at 440 Gallery, Brooklyn
Digital Arts and New Media (DANM) Technical Coordinator