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"Sensor Readings" [27 MB .mp4
This is a sketch. My plan is to brighten and crispen the image, but since that will involve custom tweaking about 50 frames, I'm procrastinating. Batch processing only gets you so far. I might play around with the erratic "cursor" movement some more, but I'm resisting point-to-point, "follow the bouncing ball" closure here, in case that's not obvious.
Update: Having said all that, now I'm working on the timing. I don't want to use a ruler, so I'm matching clips to beats by eye. In this consumer program I'm using, any deletion in the timeline shortens the whole timeline (i.e., you can't use markers to pin your finished work in place), so it's taking a ridiculous amount of time. It's harder to make something clunky than something slick, in my experience. The image is brightened up, at least; I batch-processed the panels using "auto-contrast" and then finally figured out how to uniformly crop each panel in Photoshop using "snap to grid." I now have a GIF where the cursor rolls more smoothly than in the motion captures used in the above .mov, it's just a question of chopping it up in a way that accentuates rather than distracts from the tune.
Update 2: As discussed, the file has been brightened and the timing is tighter now. I replaced the old file--it's about 10 MB bigger.
sunaba - renge no atama (beefheart/henry cowish--nice!) [YouTube
Bad Brains "At the Movies" (live, 1979) [YouTube
Washington DC band during their punk phase. Loose, proto-MTV intro with White House in background; Dr. Know rocks out; HR does a backflip at the end--Yes!
"Sensor Readings (Audio)" [mp3 removed]
Update: this is now a vid soundtrack so I retitled it from "Wow and Fluster" to its current name.
"With drafting pen in hand, and who knows what in mind, [Daniel] Brush spends countless hours penning the same line. The works he thus composes are nearly 10 feet tall, and, I think, imposing. Delicate yet dreary, humble, yet while humble pompous, they seem the work of someone who finds liberation through enslavement. The trip is his, not mine." --Paul Richard, Washington Post,
1975, reviewing "Five Washington Artists" at the Corcoran Gallery. Brush now lives in New York and makes intricate work with gold.
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.
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.
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