Tom Moody
Since 2002
Works in New York, New York United States of America

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Hi, Ed,
Enjoying this slow motion discussion!
You said Lonergan's term "has certainly resonated and has gained some significance in describing the approach of other artists."
Resonated with whom?
Two of the artists you cite (Stern, Seth Price) aren't influenced by Lonergan at all, certainly not his coinage. Maybe AIDS-3D is but I haven't seen an interview where they acknowledged the debt in making their OMG piece.
We could indeed "parse intentionality all day long about what Guthrie meant (unless he chimes in here himself)." That's my point - we could and he hasn't.

"Internet Aware Art as derived from an interview with Guthrie Lonergan" is not really a highlight of 2008 but the subject of an essay you feel needs to be written.


Pixel Bleed

Ramsay, that is on point. Here's the indifferent statement you indifferently linked to, for the record. It is masterful deflection of criticism with phrases such as "it was obvious" and "it's not a big deal":

>>David O'Reilly: I’m obligated to write a post about all this nonsense relating to using compression in video work, I’ve received many messages claiming I’ve been ripped off and asking how to get the effect.

First of all, datamoshing is an extremely lame title for the effect, it’s another attempt at branding a basic technique as something new and edgy, there really is nothing hardcore about removing keyframes from a video file. The title is and always has been using compression artefacts.

While I did what was probably the first intentional transition using compression back in early 2005, I never structured my identity around it or overused it. It was obvious it would eventually hit mainstream and join the ranks of interesting effects which become embarrassing after they’re easy to do (posterize, glow, van-gogh, mosaic etc). My goal aesthetically has always been the more broader aim of simply not hiding the artefacts of software, the same way Bacon didn’t hide paint strokes, that includes compression but about 1000 other things. It’s not a big deal that it’s now mainstream.

The only criticism for the recent, popularized versions of the effect is that it’s being stuck on to a normal performance, when the music or content doesn’t remotely call for it. I don’t believe any form of cinema should be about cherry picking new effects, aesthetics should always serve the content.


Pixel Bleed

The data mushing in the Kanye video does more than "add some depth to an otherwise insipid song" and I think it's more than just "making the passage of time visible." Unlike Murata, whose work is mainly about the visuals, West is a musician who has pushed technology in his newest songs, using current studio software to create a vibe of cyborg anomie, a numbed response to the pain and loss in his lyrics. As Simon Reynolds noted in his Salon review, "[AutoTune is typically] used to create a kind of cyber-melisma effect, a fluttery vocal sound simultaneously evocative of angelic purity and a lovelorn robot. West has made [it] his adding extra effects like distortion that push the sound to the edge of pain... [I]t's not just the vocals that are interfered with: Almost the album's entire sound palette is distorted." Paradoxically, believes Reynolds, "West's cold and dehumanized sounds, which could have served as a mask, instead allow us to see right through him."

The data mushing is a visual expression of this posthuman persona - the rapper following some machine-like drive to succeed, separating him from normal relations with girlfriends and family. In both the treated sounds and the deranged visuals, he is lost in a haze of machine noise, unstuck in time and space.

Given that the visuals are no more or less interesting than the Murata, I prefer the West video because at least you get a cool song.


Pixel Bleed

I like what's going on in the Chairlift and Kanye West vids on a wow factor level and maybe slightly beyond that and find it somewhat amusing that Nick Briz has to declare them on a different (i.e., lower) plane than the glitch academy's. He even disses West's rather pretty song.

I believe all these statements from Brian Droitcour about Murata's work also apply to West/Chairlift:

--[the work] says something interesting about the conventions of the moving image. [it] uses the pixel bleed to slow down time, or make its passage visible

--A radical deceleration ... lets the viewer deliberate on the temporal construction of each gesture

--bursts of violence leave digital footprints as the action moves messily across the screen

I like the Davis/Paper Rad best of what I've seen because there is wit in the choices of appropriated subject matter and how they rub up against each other. The groovy effect navigates among genres--Hiphop and Rock but also Music Vid vs Glitch School. West and Chairlift can't escape the conventions they work in. Glitch school artists are also slaves to the academic conventions that nurture them--drony music, minimal presentation and an air of high toned seriousness. I like many of the artists Briz mentions but they don't get an automatic walk just because they're "higher" than a paid art director.

I think it's a riot that Kanye has to post a notice taking up permanent screen space on his YouTube telling his fans that there's nothing wrong with the video and could they please just comment on the song?


Pixel Bleed

Hi, John Michael,
Question about the title of the Paul B. Davis/Paper Rad piece: on YouTube it says "Umbrella Zombie Mistake" but here you are calling it "Umbrella Zombie Datamosh Mistake." Where did you find the revised title?

Davis posted some of his code (with amusing comments) in a PDF for an exhibition called "Structures Found/Structures Lost." He also has some commentary about recycling pop culture. He talks about the *content* of the datamosh (although he doesn't use the word datamosh) and questions the role (and sufficiency) of the artist-as-editor.


That you are calling the Davis/Rad and Murata "two early examples" when they preceded the West vid by a year or two shows the futility of basing one's art on an effect. Of the two examples you've given, the Murata is the weaker for that reason. Once the wow factor is past it's just old movies (or whatever) set to spooky festival music.

Best, Tom