Bruchharsch

In the 1970s I played in a rock band, and hoping to create a psychedelic atmosphere we put a TV next to the stage. We ran audio from the sound system straight into the coils, and a bright dot was circling wildly around the screen. Well, that was about it, not even fog machines involved. However, I was reminded of those TV screens when I was at Signal Culture in Owego, because similar devices and many more are available to their artists in residence.

The material for BRUCHHARSCH was created at that residency in May 2017. The audio synthesizers were set up first, and control voltage from those synths playing was used to influence the video synths. Audio and video were used as is.

To create BRUCHHARSCH, I first chose materials that evoked certain pieces of music. With one of them I associated a heavy punk rhythm, the other reminded me of Wagner or Magma. Plus I heard bagpipes and working machinery (Russulo?). The formal structure of the work is that is started with the materials that had the strongest resemblance to music for me, and ended with the machinery. However, the videos do not morph into each other, instead they were cut up in large chunks, switching back and forth until they finally end with the machinery video. As each video offers a strong rhythm or meter, the cuts weren’t made according to a bland algorithm, but simply where I felt the musical trajectory enforces the next step.

For the audio portion a Buchla Music Easel and a Blippoo Box were used. Both were connected in that each one sends control voltage into the other synth, to set up various self-running processes. When the audio was running, I send control voltage into the video devices available at Signal Culture to have the visuals react to the audio.

Signal Culture is equipped with video synthesizers mostly built in the mid-70s such as Dave Jones’ Raster Manipulator and Colorizer, a Wobbulator (popularized by Nam June Paik) and the Hearn Videolab. There are also various oscilloscopes, a Dave Jones MVIP and a Critter & Guitari Videoscope – all of the above were at some point used in the materials created at Signal Culture. The visual source material of BRUCHHARSCH is from a video oscilloscope.

Using an oscilloscope as the source material