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television as controllable light source

Last night I read more of ‘Brian Eno: Visual Music’ by Christopher Scoates and came across Eno’s use of televisions as light boxes and looping recordings of music with Daniel Lanois. There was also a description, photograph and diagram of ‘Shutter Interface’ , the 1975 work by Paul Sharits, which involved four projectors each showing a loop of single- colour frames that overlapped on the wall, creating a mix of hues. Each loop had one black frame to introduce a flicker that interrupted at different moments in the four cycles.

The films are all out of phase/sync and therefore a multitude of variational states of interactions between them is set in (potentially perpetual) motion. For Sharits, the fades and dissolves were “‘active’ punctuation for the ‘sentences’ being visually enunciated” and in their variable syntax recall a Chomskyan notion of grammar.”

The reference to Chomsky may seem high-falutin’ but it refers back to an earlier passage which discussed the linguist’s theory of

“…linguistic competence in which he argued that language has an infinite set of sentence combinations, which became known as ‘generative grammar.'”

It occurred to me that creating an equivalent work in Processing would be very simple, so I immediately started writing one, though my initial thought of using an OOP approach may have been slightly over the top, but that depends on how far I might want to take this. In these days of Processing, Arduino, LEDs and ubiquitous computers, it seems odd to think of Eno regarding television to be “.. the most controllable light source that had ever been invented…”, but the availability of simple alternatives doesn’t diminish his work.

Furthermore, this nocturnal burst of programming spurred me on to resume work on my abandoned path-following Saffron Mandala sketch and my as-yet unstarted slitscan sketch. From past experience I’m wary of promising imminent future posts on these sketches, because there are other things to deal with such as work, family, food and house but I also need to catch up on sleep too. But these are now my projects to focus on.

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Saturday, January 4th, 2014 coding, generative art

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