a 5 minute excerpt of a 30 minute piece.
“beneath the earth, beneath the sky (15rpm)” was one of my first moving image works using video (previously my films were created with super 8 film). the piece was created without a camera, consisting of manipulated footage from nasa that i found on the internet. the finished piece was silent, specifically so that i could be able to project it to accompany a live improvised sound performance at the hammer museum in los angeles.
i basically worked with a one minute black and white video of the genesis space probe plummeting from the sky towards earth. the online footage was extremely lo-res, and all of the manipulation was done with basic modulation in a very early version of imovie. i worked with only the parameters of imovie (i didn't know how to use any other programs) and played mostly with color filters, contrast, speed, visual noise, mirroring, and anything else i could do wrong. i then looped the footage.
because the original film was a super low-res file; imovie’s contrast and color modulation tended to emphasize the fragmented make-up of the lo-res digital images, shifting large areas of white sky into bit-mapped persian rugs.
rather than blending the digital artifacts into smoother images, i focused on the resulting psychedelic patterns, exploiting the software’s inability to deal with all of the visual noise.
in the early 2000′s, i began to work more and more with the computer for sound and film editing, but i wanted to find ways to work with the computer in a way that felt conducive to my analog work. what i loved about working with earlier versions of imovie was that they were rarely consistent and it was easy to confuse the computer so it would make mistakes... the results were surprisingly wonky and/or not at all as i expected… as there were often times when a filter effect that was supposed to clean something up would accidentally emphasize a mass of visual noise. of course, the unexpected results were quite exciting and unexpected, as if the computer had a mind of its own…
this film was also a humble attempt to summon the spirit of early computer generated film/video experiments – especially the spiritual/mandala/psychedelic experiments of james whitney.
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