[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 129, Issue 5
pl at voyd.com
Sun Sep 13 16:25:15 AEST 2015
Hello from Sharjah
Thanks for this month, and my regrets for being such a lurker, I¹m here.
Two aspects of this conversation resonate me, both of which are recursive
in nature. These are the notions of creating an archive, and the archival
of one¹s own work.
I seem to have taken on a gargantuan project that will span years, which
was hit by the unfortunate death of Robert Adrian X. I¹m working on a
project I call the Open SSTV Art Archive, a project that began after
falling in love with the genre ten years ago at the first Media Art
Histories conference. Over the past ten years, I have been purchasing the
equipment, learning its intricacies, and visting archives that actually
have the audio signals that I have been decoding into video.
As a bit of context, SSTV is a HAM radio technology in which a video
signal is encoded into an audio stream, specific to the given transciever.
In the case of my favorite, the Robot 400, the signal is 120x120 px, 4
grayscales, and one frame is captured every 7 seconds. The result is a
wonderfully grainy image that unfurls on the screen every 7 seconds. This
was used by Willoghby Sharp, Bill Bartlett, Ralph Hocking, Robert Adrian
X, Hank Bull, and many others for projects like the Wiencouver
interventions, and Robert Adrian¹s Venice Biennial piece, The World in 24
hours. I have obtained archives of many of these streams and they are
currently part of the Archive. The impetus for moving on the Archive is
that the media and the artists are disappearing,a nd I feel it is
essential to preserve this material lest it disappear forever. However,
due to the size of the project, which has unfolded after its inception, I
imagine it to be a partial archive accumulating ove rthe next ten or so
This begs many questions - where is the media, which artists are still
alive, what shape are the archives in, how do we preserve them, how are
they presented for access, etc. Currently the Archive is unfunded, but I
imagine that it will need to be at some point as physical archives
It is doubly difficult for me as a producing artist and writer/theorist as
I watch friends in the Existing Fluxus crowd working on their archives,
with probably 5-15 years to do so. In my own case, I find that at 52, I
have about 20 TB of material from projects like RTMark, Terminal Time, The
Yes Men, Second Front, and Manifest.Ar, along with my own 100+ video and
new media pieces.
The problem as I see it is the dissemination of backlogged work is
overtaking my present production, slowly but surely. In addition,
archiving and making available past works is creating certain questions in
regards to work balance, and in my case, it means that when I return from
Sharjah next year, it wwill be likely that I will be producing a few
pieces a year, and dropping back to my mountain of work for the
foreseeable future. It also begs the question of what is new as opposed
to something no one has seen
Then, we are confronted with the theoretical implications of the archive,
with Foucault¹s work being central to this line of inquir. The shape,
agendas, delivery, etc. all come forth as glaring indicators of all my
archives¹ construction. The mind spins while trying to work this out.
Fortunately, Bibbe Hansen has created an archive for Second Front, which
is in the SUNY Purchase archive. While that is a major work (400+ pages &
Dvds), it represents just a part of the total body of work. It asks when
should an artist begin correlating their archives - I could only imagine
Just some thoughts. Best to all.
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