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tom moody

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This flood of home video trash that's hitting the Net via YouTube, Google Video, etc, is funny and all but I'm not sure how closely I want to look at the freaks. I recently watched a video some Net-heads have labeled "Dad scares kid with computer."

I don't really like practical jokes, especially ones that involve startling someone. We all have autonomic reflexes, they're embarrassing, big whoop. Here, a Dad is playing a game or teaching his boy something, probably from a computer in another room in the house, while simultaneously monitoring the kid with a webcam. The kid is about 8. The game is boring, and the kid is asking his Dad questions about how to proceed. Suddenly Dad puts a horrible monster face--it reminded me of the subliminal demons from the Exorcist, eyes and mouth opened wide--on the kid's screen, which simultaneously emits a loud roar.

The kid screams and goes into utter panic, literally pushing the screen with the flats of his hands to make the monster go away. He looks up at the webcam lens, crying, his face a mask of utter fright, mingled with betrayal that his Dad would do something so shitty to him. He can't turn off his emotions, and the camera continues to impassively record his wracking sobs, while you hear his Dad's meek little doughy voice saying "heh-heh...heh-heh." The Dad offers no words of apology or consolation, and the sobbing goes on a while.

I was reminded of the film Peeping Tom, 1960, where a father, a scientist studying fear, puts reptiles in his son's bed while the child is sleeping and films the child's frightened reactions when he wakes up. In the film the boy grows up to be a psycho killer.

I'm not linking to "Dad scares kid with computer," sorry.

- tom moody 4-11-2006 3:14 am [link]

Mahavishnu Orchestra on Don Kirshner's Rock Concert. "Dance of the Maya" segues into "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters." (Announcer at the end: "Next on Rock Concert: Poco.")

Yes, McLaughlin is a guitar god, and this page is post-guitar, but the best thing about the clip, besides the forgotten high level of musicianship, is remembering the brief time when pop music didn't have to have vocals.

"While it became fashionable to bash the MahaOrch after the punk era as 'pretentious,' it must be remembered that McLaughlin was a Miles Davis sideman and his group's sound had much in common with the intense sonic stew of the Live/Evil, Bitches Brew era. And while their recordings after the first couple degenerated into aimless soloing and hobbit-rock conceptualizing, the early work has flashes of what Kodwo Eshun has called 'jazz fission'--the exciting category breakdowns that briefly occurred in the early '70s before the music got codified as 'fusion.' Better examples can be found in McLaughlin's earlier work with Tony Williams, but people really need to cut the MahaOrch some slack, 'cause there's good stuff there, too." --Theodor Adorno

"One might have hoped that several decades after the '70s, cultural differences would had telescoped down to where early McLaughlin and later punk groups such as the Bad Brains would be seen as emanating from much the same place, tapping into the same motivations. Unfortunately the lines between "prog" and "punk" are just as sharply drawn today as they were 30 years ago, at least to a certain kind of asshole who can't see past obvious marketing differences and actually, like, listen to music." --T.A.

- tom moody 4-10-2006 11:41 pm [link]

Moody Parker Video 1

Moody Parker Video 2

notes on converting two GIFs to ambient-style video pieces. in the real world these would both be on CRT screens (for the toronto collaboration with john parker). the bleaching on the TV images on the left is just my digicam not being able to shoot the screen.

bathtub sticker animation (222 X 345, sized at 450 X 700 in the video). the red circles on the left and right are outside the title safe area, but it looks OK cropped like that, don't want to shrink it anymore than I have to. the frame rate is the same on the GIF and the video, 20 fps; don't think it needs to go faster.

spinning disc animation: originally sized at 350 X 348, white background: [.mov file stopped working -- thanks, Apple -- here is a 97 KB GIF]

sized at 441 X 442 for video, black background: [.mov file stopped working -- thanks, Apple -- here is a 144 KB GIF]. The larger .mov looks much better on video than it does on the web. the .web mov spins more regularly than the TV version; on the TV the disc is slowing down and speeding up slightly, as if the equipment were struggling to keep up with the high frame rate (100 frames per second in the original GIF--30 fps in the video--the max TV allows). this "wowing" is good--it makes the disc more alive, like it has a will of its own, but is constantly on the verge of breaking down. i let it loop for three minutes and when it hits the "chapter repeat" point the image briefly freezes, then revs back up to full speed as fast as it can. it looks like a little vibrating bitcrushed planetoid, i'm especially happy with how this one came out as a video piece.

Update: the music that goes with this video pair is here.

- tom moody 4-10-2006 12:55 am [link]

After the addition of the former Borg drone Seven of Nine to the starship's crew at the start of the fifth Star Trek series' fourth season, Voyager's weekly viewer ratings soared by more than 60%... [T]he character was an instant success, and "saved the show" from disorientation and even oblivion. The Emergency Medical Hologram's dermoplastic grafting procedures and follicle stimulation therapies produced a highly sexualized feminine bodily appearance that appealed especially to adolescent and young males, a major portion of Star Trek's viewership. Seven's arrival on the scene was accompanied by a massive publicity campaign in TV magazines and newspaper supplements. Played by a former Miss America pageant finalist Jeri Ryan, outfitted in a skintight, lustrous catsuit and high heels that accentuate her breasts and buttocks, Seven of Nine radiates "available feminine sexuality," yet is paradoxically unaware of her "epidermal" exposure and blatant desirability. Her erect phallic posture, techno-scientific competence, stringently business-like speaking style, and indifference towards male erotic overtures make her an ambivalent boundary crosser with both masculine and feminine semiotic and manneristic attributes.
--from Star Trek: Technologies of Disappearance, by Alan N. Shapiro (the Bible)

- tom moody 4-08-2006 9:37 pm [link]

Seven of Nine

Posting from an...undisclosed location, some time on my hands, don't have my tablet so my project for the night is drawing Seven of Nine with a mouse. This may change as I get time to tinker with it. ("That is irrelevant.")

- tom moody 4-08-2006 6:18 am [link]

Attended a NY art blogger social event in Chelsea last night organized by Edward Winkleman. Paddy Johnson has a report (she did a better job meeting people than I did). The mood was pleasant and egalitarian, and people talked a fair amount about art, unlike so many art world soirees terminally marred by climbers, strivers, snubbers, and assorted other dysfunctional bad vibe inducers. (Yes, I was scarred by several years of writing criticism during the dot com era.) Learned about a few sites I hadn't heard of before. There's definitely an uptick in good blog activity since this page's last extended prognosis of the scene, and the scuttlebutt has it that galleries and museums are paying a tad more attention to these self-published vehicles. This matters not so much for getting perks and press credentials as getting out-of-favor ideas heard and mediocre-but-powerful gatekeepers righteously bypassed. Maybe that's all of a piece, don't know for sure. Thanks to Edward for organizing this, looking forward to more such events.

- tom moody 4-08-2006 12:49 am [link]

"Speed Too" [mp3 removed]. My remix of John Parker's remix of my Mac SE tune(s). Work in process--still editing this piece, but give it a listen!

The show we're in in Toronto, curated by Sally McKay, is called "Mods and Rockers" (opening May 12th at York Quay Centre, part of digifest). The work will be video displayed on two screens, separated by several feet in a public hallway, with a music soundtrack accessible through headphones hanging between the videos.

Don't know what the other invited artist teams are doing, but rather than have some kind of face-off, or rumble, we're merging sensibilities. The collective inner Mod is the high tech influence in the form of some sophisticated audio software and newish laptop used to edit and burn the video, and the inner Rocker is the low tech source material: 8-Bit-style tunes on an old Mac (some originally composed in the '80s) and animated GIFs based on MSPaint versions of John's flat work.

We're trying for some sort of parity between the audio and visual material. Pixels and square waves as both medium and subject.

This is just my dashed off statement, issued with John's more or less approval based on an earlier email. Like the music and video we've been posting, it could be Modified. Or I could be off my Rocker.

- tom moody 4-07-2006 9:11 am [link]

Oh, and did I mention "organic"?


Name Acronym Generator

- tom moody 4-07-2006 12:21 am [link]