are we ourselves ?

In 1984 British band The Fixx released the song Are We Ourselves?. The video promo for the song featured the first ever appearance of a mobile phone in a music video.

Of course they set up and performed in a field in front of a giant satellite beacon thingy. That and the lyric Because seen through these eyes / We lead a double life were prescient – but it was 1984. . .

[ music video ] Love is Lost [ Hello Steve Reich Mix ] David Bowie

David Bowie : Love Is Lost [ Hello Steve Reich Mix by James Murphy for the DFA ]

It’s a music video; it’s a 10:30 short film odyssey from particulate animation through meshes through datamoshing and other decay tricks, edited with quicktime effects and transitions, and referring always to the human form and figure in this newnew language of ours.

or, David Bowie remains just about best at everything.

animating the tarot trumps [ processing ]

My colleague Christian Kriegeskotte composed a set of piano pieces that are, for the lack of a better word, portraits of the Tarot Trumps. He funded recording this work, ably performed by pianist Eric Clark, via Kickstarter.

I have at various times incorporated imagery or made creative process decisions with Tarot cards in mind. I have not, however, explicitly worked with this material.

Since Tarot is, for me, a living set of principals, it made sense to put ‘image into motion’. I’m abstracting the forms that so often get reduced to cartoon-like images. Color choices are inspired by the same Tarot deck Christian used for his inspiration; as the project moves forward, color will gain its own closed system of internal reference. Movement and form are relative to individual cards’ meanings and mutual relationships in the system.

I’m using Processing to code these animations, capturing them to video and then editing them further in Final Cut Pro X. Its a fun puzzle, using complicated tools to work very simply. I’m enjoying this process a great deal!

Videos :
0 Le Fou
I Le Bateleur
II La Papesse
III L’Imperatrice
IV L’Empereur
V Le Pape

 

Project stills : at my flickr

Purchase the music here: argentowl.bandcamp.com/album/le-mat-xxii-arcana

[ collab ] »radiant devices« 08::30::14 : metro, chicago

This summer I finally buckled down and learned processing, the coding language built for artists. I find it incredibly responsive and immediate, unlike some of the user-interface based traditional video editing tools. And its so much fun to play with!

Back in Pittsburgh I created many video projections for live performances by bands and other live events. I also created & projected visuals for theatrical and dance productions. I’d been looking for the chance to work like this again in Chicago, and was blessed with the invitation to work with »radiant devices«!

»radiant devices« are inventive musicians, with a big live sound augmented by instruments they’ve built from bicycle forks and abandoned gas tanks and other objects. Each instrument weaves into a rich bed of sound – yeah, guitar, bass, drums but also dj with loops and Mojdeh’s haunting voice – sometimes augmented with skilled use of a megaphone. Listen to »radiant devices« at their bandcamp  – –

August 30 saw our first performance together, at Chicago’s historic live club, Metro. You’ll find my view from the projection booth in the attached image – for more stills from the show and samples from the live-responsive code please visit the flickr album of stills from this collaboration – –

rd-metro-mv

 

varese took pictures of the future (1958)

Always knew I had a lot in common with Varese. He of the ‘organized sound’ school of composition, responding to the sonic influences of the technological environments he lived in. Varese, Frank Zappa’a musical father.

I watched this tonight. Swoon. I have made some of the same video-collage gestures, unknowing quotes (esp. the skeletal hands – the 2-channel projection installation/performance ‘the hand remembers’ i did at the brillobox in ’09) . . . Maybe every aspiring video artist should watch it, so they don’t have to make it (but we make stuff like it anyway to learn how that language works so whatever.)

This video, from ’58. varese took a picture of the future.

http://www.ubu.com/film/varese.html

a decent starting point about him : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edgard_Varèse

Paul Hardcastle : 19 (1985) …

… how one pop song woven of samples pierced the culture of mass distraction in ’85.

19 was relief to the relentless call to party in the shadow of the Russian arsenal. A live round between A-Ha’s Take On Me, anything by Wham, Don’t You Forget About Me from the Breakfast Club soundtrack.

I was fourteen. The cultural two-step to the malls was underway, the towering hair of popular music. Kids like me hid in runaway apartments ran rooftops crawled sewer tunnels quoted Dostoevsky chainsmoked and ridiculed the jocks who later suited up to join the ruling class.

I remained silent, a vessel for collected projections, a good girl running with the wrong crowd. Let them think what they want to, they will anyway. Show up, do as your told. Sneak out, dance until dawn, blue nail polish, kabuki makeup. Cultural material like this gave me fuel for endurance, relief from Reagan’s mantras of lies.

How could people believe Reagan? He was so fake. Lie after lie, emptying VA hospitals and declaring everybody cured. Then they’d turn up on your street corner crazy as ever. Did people have eyes? Apparently not, they re-elected him. We had to live in the shadow of our missiles and their missiles.

When everybody’s lying, the truth shines. Even when a thief makes it.

Hardcastle sampled Mike Oldfield’s Tubular Bells ~ well, that’s what a court later decided. The narration about the war was lifted from an ABC documentary film. The narrator, Peter Thomas, was originally ambivalent about the use of his voice in the ‘song’.

19 peaked at #15 on the Billboard Top 100 charts. More telling of the cultural moment : 19 was US Billboard Hot Dance Club Play number-one single July 6, 1985 – July 13, 1985, replacing Madonna’s Into the Groove/Angel dance mix.

Top 100 Songs of 1985