[-empyre-] more from Peer Bode

Timothy Conway Murray tcm1 at cornell.edu
Wed Sep 30 06:51:45 AEST 2015

As I am running out to work on other new and evolving media arts studios
here in Upstate New York,  I pause and I would suggest we reflect on the
design and building of tools and software that took place connected to the
ETC and directed to be part of the tool set for artists coming to ETC to
encounter. These tools evolved as they were used and shared by a large
number of artists. That simply describes a very simple, powerful and
immensely successful set of strategies that Ralph Hocking orchestrated.
As I recall it, one line of development with the ETC , beginning humbly,
was a young David Jones advertising that he had built and was selling
extended battery packs for use with the then new one half inch videotape
portapacks. Ralph Hocking bit the bait.   Shortly there after David was at
the ETC in Binghamton, making batteries, fixing video equipment that was
being loaned out to the community and beginning to modify  a b+w SEG and
video camera to extend their capabilities.
Somewhere around that time Shuya Abe and Nam June Paik came to the ETC to
complete the 6 channel video mixer colorizer known as the Paik Abe. WNET
did not yet have it¹s  Artists TV Lab in place.  There were Shuya and Nam
June hacking a video mixer and color camera encoder. It was sophisticated
and yet hacking, never the less. The music people were historically using
multi channel audio mixers. Why wouldn¹t  video/tv artists?  Somewhere
around that time, I am not sure who,  built the video rescan based raster
manipulation unit, the Wobulator.
Walter Wright was designing and writing software for a complete computer
based video imaging system. Steina and Woody Vasulka at Media Study
Buffalo were collaborating with Walter as well. Walter had a lovely Putney
audio synthesizer. Walter was traveling around New York State with his
video image processing workshop and live performances.
Don McArthur, teaching physics at Cortland community College was designing
and built a prototype real time video analog to digital and digital to
analog processing box. That was a unit for real time digital video.
David Joes was building and testing, sometimes smoking, video circuit
after video circuit, after video circuit.  He designed and built his first
video keyers, colorizer, output amp.  After meeting David Jones and
talking with him for the very first time I wrote in my notebook journal
that I had just met the person who was going to change the history of
television.  I was right.
David built a special multichannel performance video switcher that was
inspired by the ³Video and Dancing in Binghamton² performance that took
place at the ETC with Meryl Blackman and my self as well as Arnie Zane,
Bill T. Jones, Lois Welk and Neil Zusman. We then used the completed Jones
switcher as a basic component in the³Movements for Video, Dance and Music²
installation/performances, 1976,  that took place at the Herbert Johnson
Museum in Ithaca, NY and the Everson Museum in Syracuse New York. We
videoists were learning dance and the dancers were learning video. And we
were using new video systems to manifest the new work.
Somewhere around the time of 1978/79 was a person who had contacted Ralph
Hocking, need his name, who was making lenses out of sugar to create 3d tv.
Richard Brewster became involved building modular audio systems for sound
and also for specifically video control of the voltage controlled video
processors. Bernie Hutchins¹s³monthly ElectroNotes²from Ithaca, NY were a
great inspiration and learning tool for audio. The oscillators and control
were modified to deal with the higher frequencies of video.
In 1979, David Jones encouraged me to start building a digital video frame
buffer to better control some of the processing strategies I was
exploring. ³ It could be pretty easy. It wouln¹t take too long to
accomplish².  I took the bait. Three months later we had a real time video
analog to digital and digital to analog box with an ALU chip (arithmetic
and logic unit)  controlled with an Elf 2 microcomputer. It was programed
in hexadecimal. We could flip video gray tone bits and by mixing in video
color subcarrier we could display fabulous digitally intervened color.  I
remember Shalom Gorewitz being thrilled.
Then the Experimental Television Center moved to Qwego, New York.

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