[-empyre-] more thoughts from Peer Bode

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Thu Oct 1 08:14:44 AEST 2015

>The ETC move in 1979 was to a three story brick building downtown in the
>village of Owego, directly on the river. When we were not looking at
>oscillator waves and camera based modulations in the studio we could look
>out the windows and see the Susquehanna River and in the winter the ice
>on it slow move towards the Chesapeake Bay.
>Ralph and Sherry hosted an ³Odd Sundays ³gathering   at their home. It
>met most every other Sundays. David Jones and Paul Davis were regulars.
>Paul had studied geology at Alfred University. He became involved in
>microcomputers. Later in the 80¹s, as I understood it, he ran a company
>in Ithaca that manufactured a microcomputer that was sold in some large
>quantities in India. The ETC Odd Sunday afternoons were spent in software
>development and hardware building. Evenings were wonderful dinners and
>libations with lively discussions and arguments about mathematics versus
>fingers as knowledge, machines for thinking, the sheer power and
>intensity of image and sound experiences, the differences between those
>writers, film people, and video people, making art with electronics and
>art¹s electronic future. These were the kind of conversations that were
>also taking place at the ETC Owego studio on the river with and among the
>visiting artists.
>I do not know all of what came out of those Odd Sunday gatherings. I do
>know that Ralph, David and Paul developed a computer interface box. One
>of them a 12 (?) channel in and out, with knobs for fingers, and voltage
>control in and out was built and then used at the ETC with the Cromemco
>Z80 micro computer, a hacker/designers computer at the time.  The system
>could grab video stills as well as grids of video images. Hotspot dots
>could be put on the image, reading gray levels and sending the gray level
>info out as control voltages that could be connected to control
>parameters on other video and sound processing tools.  Also Ralph, David
>and Paul worked on and David released a fantastic software product for
>dot-matrix printers that used the Amiga computer. It was called Fine
>Print. It controlled dot-matrix printers.  They used physical hammer pins
>to hit the  ribbon. If the ribbon was properly worn out, the printer pin
>hammers could be controlled to strike the ribbon anywhere from one to
>sixteen times. The result was a digital print with continuous tones of 4
>shades of grey. The digital prints you could make with it were fabulous!
>I made hundreds of prints with it. Ralph and Sherry made fantastic work
>with it.     
>Harland Snodgrass at the School of Art and Design at the NYSCC at Alfred
>University was also working with David and Paul to get the Z80 there to
>output drawings and computer animations. He was part of the Odd Sunday
>activity. I still have the cardboard box interface unit and Z-80 that
>David and Paul built together with Harland. Harland and his painting
>class also built a Dan Sandin Video Image Processor. David and Paul
>helped to get it through the last stages of building. It is still used in
>the video program at Alfred and at the Institute for Electronic Arts.
>Harland Snodgrass started the first, if not one of the very earliest
>video arts programs in an art school in the United States. It would make
>sense that that would happen in a College of Ceramics, ie: materials,
>In the early 1980¹s a number of we living in Owego at the time and in the
>near vicinity formed the ³Tuesday Afternoon Building Club². The goal was
>to build, under David Jones¹s guidance, new and more advanced video
>processing prototypes that would become printed circuit boards. As
>printed boards there could be multiples and we in the club would be able
>to have the systems for our personal studios and the ETC would be able to
>have a new generation of video systems in the studio. Mimi Martin was
>building a colorizer, Barbara Buckner a computer interface, Neil Zusman a
>keyer, I was building a realtime video frame buffer. I maybe be
>forgetting some. What were you building Matt Schlanger?  We got together
>on many Tuesdays, ate ice cream sandwiches and soldered electronic parts
>onto perforated boards. It was like jewelry making. David knew the
>electronics. We were learning from him. We built our boxes.
>As I remember Matt Schlanger and Richard Brewster worked with David at
>the ETC to layout the printed boards for the new processing systems. The
>boards were printed and the new boxes were built for the ETC studio. I
>built a second video buffer together with David that had printed boards.
>One of the printed digital video buffers, the FB-1, was installed and
>used in the ETC studio.  The old hand wired video processing units were
>retired as they became buggy. The ETC had new systems by the mid 1980s
>that were in use until the day the studio was unplugged in 2011. A number
>of the colorizers, keyers, oscillators and digital buffers that were
>produced are presently in various artists¹and schools¹ studios. Also a
>number of those systems have migrated to the Video Arts program and the
>Institute for Electronic Arts  (IEA) at the School of Art and Design,
>NYSCC at Alfred University, Alfred NY.  Also a number of those printed
>board video systems are in use and available at the recently emerged
>Signal Culture video studio in Owego. Thank you Jason and Debora
>Bernagozzi, Hank Rudolph and David Jones for the new Signal Culture Owego
>program and artist residencies. The IEA Alfred, founded in 1997 and the
>Signal Culture Owego founded in 2012 continue the rich history and
>heritage of emerging electronic technology and artist collaborations and
>More later.
>The importance of the ETC artists exhibition video art opportunities,
>communities of engagement,  state wise, nationally and internationallyŠ
>The critical writings of ETC artists work Š
>The numerous significant supporters at the New York State Council of the
>Arts, The National Endowment for the Arts, the Pennsylvania Arts Council,
>and the Ohio Arts Council.
>Peer Bode
>empyre forum
>empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au

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