glitch [ america’s brokenness ] // data painting [ motel black ]

My ‘data painting’ works are short meditations intended to capture a particular mood or moment. This work, created between October and December of 2015, evolves from my witnessing and considering the public struggle of the American people. We remember. There are significant gaps between objective ideals claimed by the United States of America and the behavior and policies of its agents.

No single work of art can lay claim to all of this space. It can open a side door into talking about what we don’t talk about. [ motel black : 1:15 sample here ] That shadow, whatever it is so many white men and women of generation X are shooting up to avoid talking about. The powerlessness we have witnessing the lynching of Black citizens by agents of the state. The poisoned water supply of one of our cities. It is so much, too much.

Datamosh and artefacting open a hallucinatory, a dreamspace, point to the abrupt discontinuity between the state’s professed ideals and its agents’ behaved reality. Citizens struggle to discover / create / dig up a justice [ the badge discovered by the woman digging with her hands ] claimed by the state in its constitution, while past and present acts of the state directly contradict those ideals [ the human bones discovered alongside that badge by the woman ].

A percussive soundtrack carries the viewer through the dream-journey. Colors and stars indirectly evoke the American flag . . .

walking backwards into the future

Two weeks ago I pulled the video for Spoiled Heat from storage, to submit to a festival requesting short films about ‘industrial spaces’ and ‘factory towns’. With the recompressing and pulling of stills etc. I rewatched it several times, passively listening to the audio.

I made Spoiled Heat in 2008, manufacturing the audio using a freeware waveform manipulator to generate tracks that I assembled in SoundtrackPro along with loops & waveforms pulled from the internet, also manipulated in S.Pro.

Tonight, I finished a video that I’m sending to festival-type things, hopefully they’ll pick it to be like wallpaper for a big space that people are walking around in. Decided to make an audio track to support it, since I’m putting it on vimeo for ‘screener & submission’ purposes & video with no audio is just thirsty to me.

Realization, as I was mixing the sound tonight : half the tracks were almost exact duplicate waveform manipulation strategies from the 2008 soundtrack. The pitches matched. The order of pitches matched, though timing was a little different.

I went back in and consciously altered some of the strategies – added a voice, discovered something else, amplified that discovery – but even now after posting it to Soundcloud I’m like, damn, that’s ‘Spoiled Heat‘ smuggled into ‘data painting [swimmy]‘.

The funniest thing – – tonight, in swimmy, I mixed the waveform manipulation tracks with a skidder plugin on them, to give light crackle-and-hiss as if the transmission wasn’t coming in quite exactly. If there’s any metaphor for ‘hey, I’m just writing down what I listened to two weeks ago’ I don’t know what is.

Wish Jane Coopman was here to read this, she taught me how to transcribe sound to written music when I was in conservatory. Its more complicated when you’re mixing 8 tracks in Logic . . . Oh yeah, this time around I was manipulating the pitch shifter using the automation tools in Logic instead of the GUI of a funny little ambient mixer.

Soundtrack’s over here : Though other makers have given me positive feedback on my audio, I feel clumsy. Its as imprecise as flossing my teeth with a 2×4, to me, compared to what I could/can do with a violin, which is still easy as breathing. So. Walking backward into the future . . .