[-empyre-] stepping out of the frame to shadow play around

Baruch Gottlieb bg at transmediale.de
Mon Jul 30 07:18:05 EST 2012

Dear Johannes, Sean, and Empyrians

Thank you for the encouraging reflections.
I think I can respond to both Sean, and some part of Johannes' (Rafael's) messages while also providing some feedback (and glitch) on the Olympic opening ceremonies. 
But in principle, we have to doubt, profoundly (in the manner of Dscrates) whether we can design our way out of the aesthetic, economic and ecological crisis of old screens but replacing them with new ones
Johannes (quoting Rafael)
> ..... The grid array can and will disappear. My project "Autopoiesis" uses a laser projector which does not have a lens as the image is focused on all planes. Granted the resulting image is pixelated but that is because of the source not a function of the projector. The laser projection is polar, angular, and someone soon will think of a way to serve it non-cartesian continuous feeds...>>

The screen works (works, first in the way that it filters) because it has a mesh, the mesh positions us, the viewer as a fisher casting a net on the world. Inside the mesh the world can be had, trapped. But the consumption of the world in this way is only through the mesh, to open the mesh would be to release the world again, with all its overwhelming irrepressible forces (especially the force of gravity). Old CRT screens didn't have meshes, but they were scanned, usually in parallel lines. It was a kind of linear grid, on which scan line signal , modulated like radio signals to the speaker, modulated the intensity of the electron gun shot across the screen.  The first CRT screens were mica, with a mineral pixel count similar to the grain of good photographic film. But the electron gun was not accurate enough to transmit image information and excited the neighboring surface of the screen, creating a blurry image,  a system of grids was implemented to sharpen the image.  

The grid-gaps in the  clear image made the image compelling, despite all the information lost. The limit of resolution is the beginning of the 'participation' of the audience, as McLuhan described it, filling in the blanks between the pixels. The fact that we can get images from around the world, like the olympics in HD is because of computer analysis of image (into pixels) and compression of signal, more filtering The image is simplified in order to be transported, broad-casted (do we have meshes again here?). As we know from Richard Seera and Cartlotta Fay Schoolman, we are the products of TV.

re RLH Laser images are created by modulating emissions, everything has to be timed (usually at the local frequency of electrical current (50 or 60Hz, though new technologies can perform multiple (though not unlimited) functions at these rates)).  The grid array may disappear, as Rafael claimed, but this doesn't mean it won't be there, invisible, inaccessible, in the electronics.  There are no "continuous feeds" in electronics.

 The olympic opening crowd-screen would be interesting to discuss....  According to one person who was there, in front of each seat there was a 3x3 LED module, a pixelset which formed a part of an enormous stadium-size matrix.  Of course the image material projected by this 'screen' is something akin to a normal video file, rectangular, with regular pixels.  Having worked in public screens of various kinds for a while I have guesstimated the resolution of the whole stadium 'screen' is about 3200 x 240 pixels, nothing which would overtax your average contemporary PC:   What is interesting perhaps in view of what we are discussing is how the pixels come to be projected and obscured by the spectators. The bodies of the spectators become part of the screen hardware in a way that they create a kind of visual 'noise' with the generalized reflections off their bodies of the  3x3 LED unit.  Unfortunately this 'noise' potential of the crowd was not much exploited.  The crowd did contribute a  slightly irregular and 'organic' shape to the pixel array.  

The moment where Tim Berners-Lee was introduced as a living "Welterbe" (global heritage treasure) was particularly chilling.  I guess he is the closest thing the UK has to Steve Jobs.  

(to respond to Johannes' request to elaborate a little on mimeolography) The artistic strategy of mimeolography I put forth in Gratitude for Technology is a reassertion of the persistence of human scale in contemporary aesthetics.  It attempts (with more than a twist of Kierkegaardian absurdity) to engage the immensities and infinitesimalities (e.g. the size of the 'bailout' and the size of a cpu transistor) we must confront as contemporary citizens  with a expressivity which asserts body qualities and limits. Mimeolography contests the weightlessness of immaterial culture, proposing human beings and body language as a essential counterpart and integrant to visual and textual expression, even in the mathematics of science. 

Sorry for the long mail,
looking forward to hearing your reflections,


On Jul 28, 2012, at 6:27 PM, Johannes Birringer wrote:

> dear all
> thanks for these references (to Baruch Gottlieb's book , GRATITUDE FOR TECHNOLOGY),
> and I tried to track some information about it and came across Baruch;s blogs where there is
> a reference to a "McLuhan in Europe 2011 project creating a pan-European conversation that spans art, communications, and technology....."
> (had not known about this), and then to Baruch's interest in MIMEOLOGRAPHY, "a kind of body language" .... would you tell us more about this,
> Baruch?
> In the pages that you excerpted for us, on frames and ("con-torturing") screens, you say:
> At the edge of the projected illusion of the media, the physical limits of the frame are always material. They express the material limits of the technology providing the field of
> digital information. If our frame is 1024 pixels wide, it is not 1025 pixels wide. At the 1025th pixel, another materiality asserts itself with its own complementary historicity. The 1025th pixel also asserts the material budgetary limits of whomever procured (or produced) the frame.
> Manovich's more recent lectures extol the apparent ascendancy of the non-rectilinear frame, with plenty of examples of media surfaces coating buildings in public space, what he calls “augmented architecture”64. However, round or square, a frame of digital media still frames a screen, and encloses the digital media discourse with its immanent factual materiality.
> In this last passage, are you not implicitly also commenting on the posting by Rafael the other day?
>>> ). Interactive arrays for displays are here to stay and we need to continue thinking about how exactly these displays require different screen theory>
> ..... The grid array can and will disappear. My project "Autopoiesis" uses a laser projector which does not have a lens as the image is focused on all planes. Granted the resulting image is pixelated but that is because of the source not a function of the projector. The laser projection is polar, angular, and someone soon will think of a way to serve it non-cartesian continuous feeds...>>
> Could we discuss this?  
> Perhaps even in light of last night's curious opening ceremony for the Olympic Games?
> We talked about the mass ornament here. And I vaguely remember the massive precision-choreographies at the opening of the Beijing Oylmpics.
> To choreograoh such massive choirs, one needs very good navigation tools, or mimeolographies?
> Last night, i did not watch with much focus, i was distracted viewer, i just let it happen somewhere in the background (and I did recognize the Beatles and Stones songs cited)
> But at one point near the end, I think a band named Arctic Monkies was playing, i noted the immense laser or film projections that were showered over the
> spectators in the stadium in the dark, i could not see the audience, only the lights, words, colors and flashes streaming over them. The spectators themselves probably could not see 
> these screen effects or body movies on their bodies, only the bird's eye view of the camera captured it. 
> Shortly before that, the german commentator announced a more "somber" interlude, a dance choreographed by Akram Khan, which I have forgotten now,
> only remember hand wringing, and at the end he picks up a [sacrificial] boy and is swallowed by the group (Sacre de Printemps?). 
> Before that, about two hundred disco dancers were playing along, inside the frame, to the pop hit parade citations and the youtube clips beamed
> onto that british house standing in the middle of the stadium. I did not gather the meaning of the house (although at the end a man was revealed underneath, sitting at his
> desktop, then standing up and clapping; apparently an inventor, Tim Berners-Lee, who, the german commentator noted, had written a program called "Enquire Within Upon Everything".
> I remember the Queen being there too, and Mr Coe addressing the royalties and eminences. 
> Most curiously, on my TV screen, was the disco dancing to the Stones and the other rock bands. 
> While the young people danced, on my screen there were these twitter messages popping up, above their bodies, about dating or wanting to date someone.
> I did not catch that meaning, of twitter dates, for the Olympics, and maybe that only showed up on the german screen (since it was already past midnight when the erotic hotlines keep arriving).
> can someone provide, perhaps, a better critical synopsis of the London opening?
> with regards
> Johannes Birringer
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> Baruch Gottlieb | digital archive project
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