[-empyre-] Week Three Guests: Bernagozzi (x2), Bainbridge, Turim

Jason Bernagozzi jason at seeinginvideo.com
Mon Sep 28 01:34:59 AEST 2015


I am talking about the physical properties. Sure, the lens can pick up some
things that are unseen, but what I am talking about is a reaction to the
play of light through celluloid teaches the viewer that non
representational imagery is as effect, not as a process of things
happening. That is the difference. I am not trying to put the whole of film
in a corner, I am articulating the difference between what is seen as
special effects in film and the process based imagery seen in the works
that were made at the Experimental Television Center.

On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 9:12 PM, Murat Nemet-Nejat <muratnn at gmail.com>

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Watching the exhibits at the opening last Thursday, not as a practitioner
> but as an interested party (I am a poet), I was struck by two things
> particu;arly: first, the mesmerizing effect many of the constructs had on
> me. That was not very surprising to me because I was aware
> images,particularly repeated and detached from words, may have that effect
> (I did not use any of the ear phones, basically because I couldn't hear
> wear through them). Nevertheless, it occurred to me that perhaps in digital
> art that Mesmer-ly effect occupies an essential part, as in photographs. I
> do not know whether this is entirely true. I only want to say that this
> effect is different from illusion. It is rather its opposite, decomposes
> illusion and points to something illusion hides. A machine perhaps, again
> like the photograph, to dis-cover the uncanny.
> The second effect was perhaps more powerful. Looking at *some* of the
> works, I had a sense that the creators were aware that they were bringing
> images into existence for the first time, creating new images. Once again,
> these images were not illusions because they were not copying or
> representing anything--except as the projections of the mind. I sensed a
> medium that, properly used, can be the medium for a new kind of
> subjectivity; not particularly of feelings but of thought. Because of that
> the two graphs comparing how the insertion of the "computer" affected and
> altered the previous channels of communications constituted one of the most
> powerful images in the exhibit.
> I also would like to comment on something that I think Jason said. To call
> cinema a medium that creates illusion is too general and not correct. One
> should just think what Godard may have meant when he said "cinema *is
> (not imitates)* life." To consider the lens to be a medium of
> reproduction is totally to misunderstand it, something many people during
> the origin of photgraphy did. The lens, as an optical robot records things
> that the naked eye misses. That is its originality as a machine.
> *Ciao,Murat*
> On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 1:12 PM, Jason Bernagozzi <jason at seeinginvideo.com
> > wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Sure Benton, I think that is a good idea to discuss. First, I just want
>> to remark that the scale and importance of this exhibition will hopefully
>> be talked about for quite some time. I have never been so fully engaged at
>> an opening, and seeing the love and support for ETC was heartwarming. I am
>> sure that Ralph and Sherry had smiles on their faces all night, even if
>> they could not be there. I also want to say that Tim and Sarah's work on
>> this exhibition was thoughtful, engaging and more importantly, it captured
>> the spirit of the center and what it represented (which is no small feat).
>> Congrats to everyone involved..
>> For those of you who are not familiar with this device, the Paik/Abe
>> Raster Manipulator (aka the wobbulator), was first constructed by Nam June
>> Paik with the guidance and expertise of video engineer Shuya Abe in the
>> late 60's. I am not sure why it was eventually called a wobbulator, but for
>> some reason I imagine this is a term that someone like Walter Wright
>> probably coined (sounds like him). Simply put, a wobbulator is a modified
>> television that has a series of larger TV yokes and hand wrapped copper
>> wire coils that are placed in certain areas of the back of a cathode ray
>> tube so that when voltage is fed through them, they become electromagnets
>> that cause the raster to scan in wild patterns on the screen of the
>> television. A good example from the Hunter exhibition is Marisa Olson's
>> "Black or White", found here: https://vimeo.com/110210532
>> Now, the reason I maintain this is an instrument instead of a prepared
>> television like Paik used for works like "Magnet TV" is the ability to
>> visually articulate a wide range of "notes" from which the user could
>> "play" the unit. The traditional unit had three basic functions: S,
>> Hotizonal and Vertical. All of these manipulations could be controlled by
>> the frequency of the audio or control voltage being fed into the coils of
>> the unit, so the range of what you could get out of a wobbulator is as
>> broad as you could get out of audio synthesis (which is to say, a lot!)
>> The wobbulator for this exhibition was created in the spirit of the unit
>> that was used by most of the people who came through the Experimental
>> Television Center. It is created from a Sony TV 760 television from 1967,
>> which was one of the early portable TV's that Sony made. I did leave out a
>> couple of features, such as the raster collapse/reverse switch, for
>> logistical reasons so that the gallery staff would not accidentally burn
>> the screen of the unit and to keep it relatively simple for them to set up.
>> Otherwise, most of the hardware is similar to what you would have seen on
>> the unit at the Experimental Television Center, except that I used a new
>> method that Dave Jones and I came up with over the summer for the
>> vertical/horizontal deflection. The TV's center's unit had a dolor
>> deflection yoke from a TV from the early 60's that would be used for
>> horizontal and vertical deflection. The problem with building this today is
>> that there are very few of those tv's or those size yoke available anymore.
>> So, our method we created this summer is a technique to use modern yokes by
>> detaching them from their housings and clamping the new yoke from the side
>> rather than having to slip it over the back of the CRT tube.
>> Technical details aside, the unit  that I made for the exhibition is kept
>> behind glass for safety reasons. So, to generate the signals I simply
>> created a program in Max/MSP/Jitter that phased the S-coil and vertical
>> coil signals to be offset from one another with ramping values from 58-62
>> hz in order to show variability in the image manipulation. A 60 hz sine
>> wave will create the effect, but it won't move very fast, so having small
>> changes brought out the dynamism of those coils. The signal was also being
>> brought up and down in volume, which affected the intensity of the process
>> and also leaving some "breathing room" for viewers to be able to see their
>> unaffected image on the screen and watch it ramp up and be ripped apart by
>> the raster displacement. I then recorded these phasing changes for about an
>> hour and burned the audio to a DVD and fed that into the amplifier that is
>> running the wobbulator. I could have put it on a computer, but I wanted to
>> make this as simple as possible for the staff at Hunter to deal with since
>> I was not there to set the unit up, and I think it worked pretty well.
>> When talking about video instruments, a large part of the discussion that
>> is not necessarily understood by those outside of the community is that
>> these are not merely special effects. These signals that are being
>> generated and are being affected by real manipulations to circuitry.
>> Perhaps this goes back to the tension between film and video being seen
>> nowadays as the same thing, to me they could not be further apart. This is
>> not a value judgement, but in terms of vocabulary they represent entirely
>> different physical and metaphorical states of being. Film is about
>> illusion, light passing through celluloid to give the appearance of
>> something being there, a ghostly shift of light to transport a viewer to
>> somewhere that does not exist. Video is reality. Maybe not the reality we
>> perceive, but it is electronic, instantaneous, and helps us visualize
>> things that are not inherently visual. Yes, you can use video as illusion,
>> but that is because it is being used like film (which is a fine application
>> mind you, just not necessarily the kind you might find at this exhibition).
>> Special effects, to me, mean illusion. I think a better term to describe
>> the work seen at the Hunter exhibition is "process", something that is
>> occurring, being figured out and articulated in real time, giving the
>> artist an electronic voice from which to speak.
>> When you are watching a wobbulator do what it does, you are watching
>> magnetism happening. All kinds of things come to mind, such as the idea of
>> the electronic image being an eye into a spectrum of our world that we
>> cannot perceive without it. It calls into question our bias towards
>> perception as truth, and in many ways all of the instruments used at the
>> center expose the signal as something inherently manipulative. Paik was
>> aware of this, and if you understand that video synthesis in many ways can
>> be used as a tool to both expose media and empower people, you can see a
>> direct line in his body of work from cutting off ties to making Nixon
>> wiggle around on screen. For him, the wobbulation wasn't a cool effect, it
>> was a way to show that despite causal appearances and assumptions, the
>> monumental broadcast giants are in fact just made up of fragile,
>> impermanent signals. When he wobbulated the Beatles, Nixon and other media
>> personalities, he was showing you how little power they have over the
>> viewer, making them puppets that dance around and rip apart.
>> I'm excited to see these discussions continue, what a great month at
>> Empyre!
>> -Jason
>> On Sat, Sep 26, 2015 at 11:41 AM, Benton C Bainbridge <
>> bentoncbainbridge at gmail.com> wrote:
>>> I'm still "processing" ;) the abundance of art, tech and artifacts I
>>> enjoyed along with the huge crowd that packed the HCAG for "The
>>> Experimental Television Center: A History, ETC..." In advance of my empyre
>>> post-"ETC" exhibit post, I'd like to ask Jason Bernagozzi if he can write a
>>> little bit about the "Wobbulator". I'm particularly interested in how the
>>> control signals are being generated and fed to this modified TV to create
>>> the raster patterns at Hunter. Jason, your introduction to the Wobbulator
>>> during the Exhibition walk was informative and eloquent - could you put it
>>> in writing for our "Video: Behind and Beyond" discussion?
>>> thanks, Benton
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