[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 129, Issue 5

ETC etc at experimentaltvcenter.org
Mon Sep 14 11:10:42 AEST 2015

Helo Patrick -

from the other side of the world...

Thank you for your most interesting post. The points you raise are so important.

The SSTV archive is critical to the history of video. Ralph and I have
been interested in Slo Scan for many years. Interestinngly - and as an
aside - the filmmaker Ken Jacobs was also very taken with the imagery.
It was a crossover technology that never really resonated with many
video makers. As Ralph pointed out below, those who had access to the
tools, often did so through government surplus (which poses its own
set of problems today).  Woody Vasulka has also mentioned this stream
of equipment access. This system was probably not easily available to
many videomakers - unless they were looking in unusual places.

Ralph and I were intrigued because of the time delay. Getting in front
of that camera was revisiting the recent past.

This is a quote from Ralph's DVD (2004, released in collaboration with
the Institute for Electronic Arts at Alfred University, thanks to Peer
"'Slow Scan' (1980) was made using a forerunner of the fax machine.
Industrial machine were often a point of departure. Industrial surplus
was our basic way of acquiring tools to work with since new stuff was
way beyond our financial ability. It was able to transmit low
resolution images over telephone lines by having a video camera view a
document or photograph and slowly record onto an erasable disc
whatever it was pointed at. It took several seconds for the image to
be completed. If the camera or image moved during that time then
smearing would take place. A frozen still could be played with,
creating a kind of animation. I set up a situation and Sherry reacted
to what she saw in a live monitor. No edits. No audio."

I also appreciate your dilemma about personal works and archives. I
believe that you are completely correct: the archiving will overtake
creation. Yes. Where is the balance. How do you make choices. What is
saved. And what forever not.

Thanks Patrick for the work you do.


On Sun, Sep 13, 2015 at 2:25 AM, Patrick Lichty <pl at voyd.com> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hello from SharjahŠ
> 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
> years.
> 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
> accumulate.
> 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 seenŠ
> 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
> Alan Sondheim¹sŠ
> Just some thoughts. Best to all.
> Patrick
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu

Sherry Hocking
Assistant Director
Experimental Television Center Ltd.
109 Lower Fairfield Rd.
Newark Valley NY 13811

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