Videos

Synchronous Forest 3.0

Installation work for CCA Playspace Gallery, San Francisco, July 2009

(prior versions of this work listed at bottom of this post)

Slow and gently crossfading images projected onto a large spiral of diaphanous fabric, drifting from a rotating tree-trunk bark-scape to a daydream of gold-green flowering branches wafting in breeze.

Sound of urban beehive activity, filtered so that the bees themselves are nearly absent. Followed by a soundscape of distant crickets and electrical wires in mist, punctuated by the violent and banal passing of a minivan speeding through the landscape.

A small bench awaits in the center of the spiral, a place to sit and listen to small, naked speakers dangling from wires, playing heavily processed and edited bird recordings.

At the center of the spiral, a “trunk” is formed of discarded etched panels, bright copper on white fiberglass.

A wicker garden bench is positioned outside the spiral, so one might sit and regard the spiral as one might regard a garden.

A listener at Synchronous Forest 3
A listener at Synchronous Forest 3

In making it, I was thinking about the relationships and interfaces between humans and nature. As beings who regard ourselves as beings, we can see ourselves as part of nature or as outside of it.

work details:

  • Single-Channel video projection.
  • Four audio channels derived from field recordings of urban wildlife in San Francisco’s Mission District and environs.
  • Materials: Fabric, Video, Sound, Benches, Speakers, Space, Circuit Boards. 18′ x 25′ and 11′ tall.

This video is a four-minute walk through the gallery space.

Narrated Walkthrough:

Prior versions of this material were exhibited:

“Synchronous Forest” in collaboration with Lindy Lyman, Regis University, Denver CO, 1998

“Synchronous Forest 2.0” in collaboration with Lindy Lyman, Museum of Outdoor Arts, Englewood CO, 1999

 

DeFused Ad no.2

Digital Video, Stereo sound, 2002

DeFused Ads are short abstract films which use television commercials  as their sole source material, transforming them from commercial messages into meaningless things of beauty.

Defused Ad no.2 is made from a TV ad for an indy 500 style racetrack. The hard-hitting voiceover is now a drifting chitter, and the screaming racecars are now soft colored blurs.

The technique involves “averaging” the texture, color and tone of the original material into luminous drifting masses. The original fast-cut promotional message is transformed into a slow-time mode. No edits were made, the processing simply acting as a lens to distort time and space.

DeFused Ad no.1

Digital Video, Stereo sound, 2002

DeFused Ads are short abstract films which use television commercials  as their sole source material, transforming them from commercial messages into meaningless things of beauty.

DeFused Ad No.1 is a luminous, ambient electronic landscape made from an interstitial cable-TV promo.

The technique involves “averaging” the texture, color and tone of the original material into luminous drifting masses. The original fast-cut promotional message is transformed into a slow-time mode. No edits were made, the processing simply acting as a lens to distort time and space.

The Story

In 1996, I met a student in Ontario who grew up in East Berlin. The cold war being such a looming reality in my youth, I’d always wondered about life on the Soviet side of the iron curtain. “Did you get western TV in East Berlin?”  I asked her. The answer was yes, of course, but it was the next part that threw me. “Oh!  The commercials! – they were so beautiful.  I just wanted to live inside the worlds of them.”

At the time, my job was working in a recording studio in Denver which did a lot of commercials. I myself was engaged in the craft of perfecting these short mass-media messages intended to incite an audience to partake in commercial transactions. I started to think about how, in a way, television ads are some of the high-art of our civilization: the most refined, concentrated, compelling experiences that can be created in sound and light.

Eventually the obvious connection was made: to absolve these messages of their meaning, rendering them objects of pure beauty.