11.21.2021

Processing Experiments: Circuit Bent Vizual Noize Enhancer


One more circuit bent processing device to show sample output from: Circuit Bent Vizual Noize Enhancer Lofi Video Synth by statikstramentz

This unit takes composite video in and outputs, well as the name suggests, NOIZE enhanced video. Gotta be subtle with the adjustments or the signal will go out of NTSC spec range. Although statikstramentz recommends output to a good ol' analog CRT and thence rescan (or possibly projection?), I've found that the glitched signal is much more usable than expected - I can feed it into a composite-> HDMI converter and thence into a HDMI->USB digitizer for recapture on computer. I've even fed the output into a professional TBC with decent results. (Of course, you've got to experiment and move the unit's control knobs slowly because too far one way of the other WILL cause the signal to go out of spec and thus "blank out" the encoder or the TBC. Just sayin'...)

"This compact video synth has been created to let you conjure various warped distortions, smeared pixelations, overdriven white mosaics and other various effects. As usual with circuit bent video effects-differing effects can be achieved depending on what you connect to this device-both in and out. Composite video source (camcorder, DVD, VHS, etc.) input. Composite video output. For best/trouble free results, best viewed on / rescanned from an old school (analog CRT) television."

See sample work: instagram.com/statikstramentz

Find out more at his storefront:

https://www.etsy.com/listing/598871620/circuit-bent-vizual-noize-enhancer-lofi



Here is a sample of the source footage that I have been using for processing. It will be part of an upcoming video program tentatively entitled "River Styx"...




Processing Experiments: Lumen App



 I have also been using an analog-style software video synthesizer - Lumen - for the Mac. There's a wide range of synthesis and processing effects that can be achieved - way to much to delve into here... Been processing footage for my upcoming video program tentatively titled "River Styx."

"Lumen is a Mac App that makes it easy for you to create engaging visuals in real time. Use the same process with Lumen as you would with a hardware video synth, but with modern features only software can provide. With a semi-modular design that is both playable and deep, Lumen is the perfect way to get into video synthesis."

Check Lumen's features out:  https://lumen-app.com


Here is a sample of the source footage that I have been using for processing. It will be part of an upcoming video program tentatively entitled "River Styx"...


Sample of processed footage using Lumen:






Processing Experiments: Waaave_Pool


So I've been playing around with some new hardware signal processing devices. Of particular interest is the Waaave_Pool RPI system configured, programed and sold by Andrei Jay (who describes himself as 'a mathematician, video artist, educator, and soft/hardware designer.') Waave_Pool is very cool! I will be posting a number of short video clips processed thru it next. WAAAVE_POOL is a framebuffer delay/video feedback generator and video synthesis system based on a switchable feedback/feedforward video delay. For more info on the device: https://andreijaycreativecoding.com/WAAAVE_POOL He has other devices built around the same Raspberry Pie: https://andreijaycreativecoding.com/Video-Synthesis-Ecosphere-RPI

Here is a sample of the source footage that I have been using for processing. It will be part of an upcoming video program tentatively entitled "River Styx"...

Sample of processed footage using Waave_Pool:


8.18.2021

Chernobyl West

 I'm posting a few of my early video works from 'back in the days' of neophyte vidiots, EAI, The Kitchen (in Soho), Mudd Club video nights, and analog video processing via The Experimental Television Center.


Chernobyl West 1986 (7:48)


https://vimeo.com/583146067



Video art from 1986 - narrative about the after effects of a hypothetical nuclear power plant meltdown occurring in upstate NY. (Note: approx. 40 seconds of color bars at start of recording.)

Welcome to Vacationland

I'm posting a few of my early video works from 'back in the days' of neophyte vidiots, EAI, The Kitchen (in Soho), Mudd Club video nights, and analog video processing via The Experimental Television Center.

 


Greetings From Vacationland 1986 (28:02)


https://vimeo.com/585022696



It's not all billboard perfect in Vacationland - everywhere one looks, environmental concerns are rampant. Join us on a summer visit full of unexpected surprises. (Note: approx. 40 seconds of color bars at start of recording.)

7.02.2021

Lo-fi Studio Exterior With Signal Noise

 


Circuit bent camera with video noise: studio exterior, prayer flags, patio containers in bloom, and Yama the cat.

7.01.2021

Lo-Fi Views of Patio Outside My Studio

 





Circuit bent toy camera recordings of late Springtime / early Summertime patio with plants and Yama the cat.

Circuit Bent Portraits

 






Using a circuit bent toy camera from Letsglitchit, I'm able to get analog video image processing like results including posterization and colorization.


Circuit Bent Lo-Fi Spiritual Bather

 


Circuit bent camera rescan of Japanese bather.


Circuit Bent Cam Girl Siren




Circuit bent camera footage of cam girl siren Miki Woo


Circuit Bent Camera Studio Exterior

 




Early Summertime views of outside my studio - shot with circuit bent camera.

Psychedelic Lo-Fi 'Big Bang' Explosion



Started using a circuit bent camera from Letsglitchit for that psychedelic lo-fi analog video colorizer look. Rescanned off computer monitor QT playback. 


LETSGLITCHIT 



Circuit bent cameras and webcams: 


3.10.2021

ORACLE

 I just completed a short video piece call "ORACLE" scrounging footage collected over the years. It's sort of the equivalent to an 'ear worm'... the idea has been floating around in my head for awhile. This makes use of real world footage and image processed footage (via LUMEN app for MacOS). The final program is 2:30 in length. Enjoy!

Remember what Morphius told Neo in The Matrix - "What was said, was said for you alone."



Use this link to view the video on Vimeo.


Spirit Fire Dance

I have started working on footage for a larger video project entitled "Crossing the Styx"... As you might imagine based upon the Greek myth, this will be about the Underworld, Bardo, Dreamtime... About crossing over. More details and samples as I develop the script further. Suffice to say in a section involving Shamanic journeying, I plan to use found footage of UTE fire dancers. The samples below show some of the processing that I am achieving using a really nice Mac-based video synthesis app called LUMEN.




 

1.19.2021

Temple Variations

 The newest update to PhotoRoom app has a feature that allows a cloud effect to be added in front of the subject or behind it in the background. Wanted to play with that a bit, so I decided to make use of a found image of this Hindu temple looming overhead. I also added the rays background to the masked temple object. I find the overall results to be exciting and evocative. (Check out the transparent mirage effect in the 3rd video!) Is there a possible temple / shrine / sacred ruin series brewing??







Pareidolia - seeing things in the sky

 

Angry Sky Goddess

I came across another one of my Pareidolia videos - can't recall exactly how I created this. Anyway, the face is from a Marilyn Monroe video found somewhere on the web. 

When I get a chance, I'll post a few more Pareidolia videos.


1.16.2021

'From the Studio' newsletter

 


It's a new year. It's time. Time to reach out and overcome social distancing and Zoom fatigue. I'm using a newsletter to more widely share information about new work and upcoming or current shows. 

If you are interested in receiving an occasionally sent 'From the Studio' newsletter, please take a moment to subscribe via MailChimp. Thank you for your consideration.

Less Is More

'Less Is More' is the current exhibition at Upstream Gallery. It's described as a Juried National Small Works Exhibition running from January 7th through January 31st. Open Thursday - Sunday, 12:30 - 5:30pm

8 Main Street, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, 10706

email: UpstreamGallery26@gmail.com

gallery phone: 914-674-8548

I have work in the show - a small 5.5"x3.5"x3" sculptural piece entitled Portable Healing Shrine. This piece is built upon a found object (a small hand made, hand-painted Hindu shrine that I found at the AsiaBarong marketplace in Great Barrington). While the found shrine was rather crudely made and painted, I thought it would be fun to use the wooden framework to create a personal shrine using my own imagery. 

A selection of images follow:

a front view of the shrine with all doors closed

the shrine under its protective glass jar in the gallery

a view with one side door partially opened
showing Medicine Buddha and emerging lotus

the shrine with all outer doors open
showing hands making offerings (multiple panels) and
Protective Dakinis dancing on the doors of the inner-most realm

the doors of the inner sanctum opened to reveal
the meditating Medicine Buddha flanked by flaming lotus flowers


1.10.2021

What to Watch on Vimeo

I've set up several Vimeo showcases that allow viewing sets of related videos and animations by project. (Will open in new window)
 
Forest Gods Jungle Spirits (2018-2020)

Buddhaverse Variations (2020)

Excerpts from Experimental Television Center
(from various residencies 1987-1993)




12.22.2020

Buddhaverse Variations: Chod Dakini Tara Portrait

As my last "before and after" posting showing a source / reference "static" image used as the basis for a video haiku, I chose to offer one of my favorite Buddhaverse Variations to serve as a catchy lead-in to this batch of posts about my new series of short video animations.

The source image (from 2014-15) is a diptych showing Tara (on the right) and a Chod Dakini (on the left). 

Chod Dakini & Tara 

haiku 100

Buddaverse Variations: Jewel Tree

This post is a "before and after" showing source images and one of the haiku animations inspired by them. The "before" images (from 2010) take the form of a protective Thangka referred to as a 'Jewel Tree' - a graphical lineage tree depicting a personalized chain of ancestors and teachers. (In this case, the first  image - Jewel Tree 2 - includes my parents, my grandmother, and teachers such a the Dalai Lama and Terence McKenna. The second image - Jewel Tree 1 - shows me embodied as a teaching Buddha in the form of Avalokiteshavara.) 

Jewel Tree 2

Jewel Tree 1

haiku 20


As a matter of interest, please check out earlier static work (from 2017) where I first started to "glitch the image." I feel the animated haiku versions are more effective / interesting with the individual visual components being independently processed before layering, and with the inclusion of a meditative sound track. What do you think?

BUddhaverse Variations: 21 Taras

This post is another "before and after" showing the source image and one of the haiku animations inspired by it. The "before" is a healing  and protective Thangka from 2005 showing a gathering of 21 Taras (of various colors: red, white, blue, green, yellow).


21 Taras

haiku 91

Buddhaverse Variations: Vajrayogini

This post is a "before and after" showing the source image and one of the haiku animations inspired by it. The "before" is a Thangka from 2008 showing Vajrayogini drinking blood within a 6 pointed yantra (3d merkaba) surrounded by protective entities and other symbols.

Vajrayogini Medicine Thangka

haiku 87


Buddhaverse Variations: Medicine Buddha

I created a number of "static" versions of the Medicine Buddha in the past. I especially liked the use of the golden frame with imprints of herbal remedies used on the square formatted Medicine Buddha portrait. I decided that this could serve as the framework for some video haikus in my Buddhaverse Variations series. 

The square Medicine Buddha is shown surrounded by Dakinis and other protective beings. In front lie a number of offerings, some typical (such as the 'good luck' balls and medicine urn), others more esoteric  and shamanistic (skull, mushroom, merkaba) included with a nod toward Tantric practice and its Bon roots. The offering items shown here have been used as visual elements throughout the new haikus.

Medicine Buddha with Offerings
Medicine Buddha With Offerings

haiku 42

haiku 123

Buddaverse Variations: In The Beginning


As I began to work on my new set of Tibetan inspired digital glitch animations ('haikus'), it seemed like a natural starting point to harken back to some of the Forest Guardian anims from last year as a starting point. Below are a couple of early Buddhaverse Variations haikus paired with examples of the Forest Guardian anim(s) that they derived from.

haiku 2

haiku 6

Forest Gods 11

haiku 18

Forest Gods 12




12.21.2020

What Comes Next?

After showing samples of my first batch of digital glitch animations at the Upstream Gallery last fall, I was asked what was next? Since I had just completed jungle animals, nature spirits, and forest guardians (so called 'gods' and 'goddesses') as subject matter, why not try something with Tibetan Buddhist imagery which so much of my art work has been based upon? I thought that made sense, but just couldn't get my head around exactly how to approach this... 

It was months into the pandemic playing with various IOS apps before I hit upon with a visual approach of image glitching of the source material that actually excited me. I thought it embodied the sense of energy auras that is illustrated in Tibetan art, esp. protective / wrathful entities.

Charnel ground skeletons

Playing around further with other apps, I hit upon this preset that provided blue auric flames and variable glitching. This was exactly what I had been looking for! Here are a couple of examples:

Buddha

Tara

Ultimately, this got my creative juices unblocked and I decided to build up a library of glitch-processed 'components' (figures, objects, backgrounds drawn from my previous static Thangka and Mandala work) which could then be composited together in a Photoshop timeline along with audio tracks (chants and other meditative sounds) to form the basis of a new series of short digital animations.

After working on the first 20 or so animation 'haikus,' I decided to name the series "Buddhaverse Variations" as it became apparent that one visual idea was naturally leading to another variant, sort of like a digital sketchbook. Currently I have 125 haikus (short animations) which collectively run to about 49 minutes of program time (including short interstitial titles for each haiku). I plan to exhibit these using a wide-format digital frame (capable of playing 1080p format resolution videos) as I did previously at the Upstream Gallery last year.


Please Stand By

 


More excepts from digitized library of my Experimental Television Center analog processed video footage [t.k.]

Would-be Wobulator

The video below (from which IOS app, I sadly now forget - perhaps Kino Glitch?) is the closest I've been able to achieve to a simple H axis wobulator raster FX performed in the digital realm.


Compare this to an actual Wobulator raster FX (Nixon portrait) posted previously.



ETC Sample Footage: Ghost Walker

This is an example of footage I compiled and processed at ETC under the topic heading of 'Dreamtime'. It seems very hallucinatory or perhaps like a shamanic journey vision. The source footage was recorded at Storm King Art Park. Processing included the greytone 'wobbled' imagery rescanned from the Paik-Abe Wobulator and keyed over the original. In this preset, the Wobulator control signals were set to create only a slight ripple in the horizontal scanlines, rather than creating a fully distorted 3D 'wrapped raster' effect. (This effect would be almost impossible to generate via today's digital apps.)



ETC Sample Footage: Tide Pools

 This is an example of footage I compiled and processed at ETC under the topic heading of 'tide pools' recorded originally at Point Reyes seashore in Marin County, CA. Colorization, frame buffering,  slowmo, and luma-key processing was applied to the anemones in the pools as waves came rushing in and flowed back out. There is one spot in this sample (00:55) where the chaotic water becomes totally abstract, finally resolving into bubbly foam. (This is an example of an analog image processing preset that could be replicated today with digital apps.)



ETC Sample Footage: Halloween Diaspora

This is an example of footage I compiled and processed at ETC under the topic heading of 'diaspora' to eventually make use in a video about dislocation due to environmental or political disruptions. The original footage was recorded during a Halloween parade in Oswego, NY (where the Experimental Television Center was located) during one of my residencies there. Of particular interest is the red/blue alternating colorization being triggered by a low frequency square wave controlling the signal processing. Also, note the great high-contrast scan line graininess possible thru use of rescan.



PS: note the great skeleton zombie carrying rifle costume on the young boy walking this his father (at around 00:45).


ETC Sample Footage: Rowing on a Lake of Flames

This is an example of footage I compiled and processed at ETC under the topic heading of 'rowing a boat' to eventually make use in a video about death, Bardo, and spiritual transition - the core symbolism of rowing being from the Greek myth of the Boatman Acheron rowing newly deceased souls across the River Styx into the Hell realms.



After A Long Pandemic Pause

After a long pandemic pause, I'm back to posting new stuff on my Image Maya blog. You might ask what have I been doing? Actually, I've spent the time quite resourcefully pulling together a complete system to digitize all of my library of video tapes that have languished in a cupboard for way too long... My tape library starts back in the early 1980's with my first 1/2" Beta portable unit (from CTL Electronics in lower Manhattan (my old Tribeca loft neighborhood). After a handful of well-used Beta portables, I jumped in the Hi8 bandwagon - smaller, lighter weight, better quality (?). Then off to digital DV land when that format became available. Meanwhile, as a vidiot producing video art work in the 80's and early 90's, I did all my Master productions on an industrial A/B roll 3/4" U-matic system. 

Needless to say, I faced hundreds of hours of video inventory from my travels around the world to digitize. On top of that, I had over 60 3/4" reels of image processed footage from my residencies at the Experimental Television Center (ETC). These are what I consider to be the 'crown jewels' from the days of analog video processing using tools such as the Jones Colorizer, the Paik-Abe Wobulator, and other signal processing and keying devices. At the time, the only digital device available at ETC was an one-of-a-kind Jones Frame Buffer (which did just that - buffered a set of video frames for looping, freeze framing, and delaying). Of course, key to the whole production process was using video cameras to rescan off of monitors which allowed for multiple levels of processing effects (way beyond simple feedback). In the case of the Wobulator, a raster distortion device manipulating H & V frequencies of a CRT display, the only way to actually make use of its range of processing effects was by rescan. (In any case, in hindsight there was a whole lot of glitchy / processed stuff one could easily do in the analog  realm that have no direct analog in digital software-based processing. Exhibit A: the Wobulator, which became my favorite tool.)

The process in the ETC studio for me involved selecting source footage from my video library and passing that thru the various hot-patched processing devices, and finally back to tape. Because of the analog nature of the controls, real time modifications and tweaking (playing around with settings and patches) was the norm. So typically once a record tape got rolling, a long 5-15 minute 'play' session would resulted. Fine. But of course, unlike many other video folks engaged in image processing triggered by music or electronic sounds (think of early Mudd Club visual music stuff), I was interested not in the durational / abstract / generational element of the process, but rather in generating 15-30 second, perhaps 2 minute long processed segments to incorporate into my video narratives.

With that as background, I decided the shutdown provided me a window of time to digitize my source videos before the inevitable wear of time made the tapes unplayable physically, either due to tape decay or unavailability of obsolescent decks to play such. I calculated that I'd need around 6TB of storage for all of my material, stored at DV's equivalent to pre-HD analog resolution: 720x480. And lots of time - as digitizing tapes is by its very nature 'real time'. Plus, I wanted to create a tape index of locations, subjects, and scenes to make finding interesting material possible in the virtual haystack. (I have started by using EXCEL spreadsheets, with a goal of creating a true relational database... sooner than later...)

And of course, every video deck I owned needed repair servicing after being idle in the closet for 20+ years. Or I had to buy something off EBAY...

So all of that has been taking time.

But that's not all - I've also been working on a series of digital glitch animations based upon my Tibetan Buddhist art. But more on that in a later posting.

For now, I want to post several short video excepts from some of the ETC processed footage. 


Paik-Abe Wobulator

Image of a color Paik-Abe Wobulator under development
Image of an experimental color CRT Wobulator being built at Signal Culture labs.

Wobulator image - Nixon
Wobulated still image of Nixon

sequence of still Wobulated images - self portraits
Animation of a sequence of still Wobulated images


2.25.2020

All Glitched Up



Check out my All Glitched Up blog. Enjoy!

I've finally started posting to my long-dormant Tumblr blog - filling it with various samples of glitched projects & experiments. These don't necessarily fit in with the spiritual self-discovery and shamanic themes of Image-Maya, but still,  I wanted a place to share / document other stuff I have been producing.

1.29.2020

Show of animation work at Upstream Gallery


The show runs from Jan 30 - Feb 23 (Thur-Sun 12:30-5:30) at the Upstream Gallery

As described in recent posts on this blog, my current digital photo-composite series Forest Gods and Jungle Spirits (2018-2020) continues an ongoing visual investigation of the flow of divine energies 'hidden in plain sight' in the world around us. The faces and forms of our own shared, yet dimly recalled, lineage ancestors and protective totem spirits are discernible within the leafy canopy of the old growth forest or within the darkly camouflaged jungle understory.

For this gallery show, I have loaded a digital frame with a collection of short 10-20 second animations based upon the Forest Gods and Jungle Spirits compositions, adding sound and motion to embody the ebb-and-flow of our connection to these hidden energies surrounding us. I've also utilized a range of ‘glitch’ image tools to help evoke the sensation of our too often ‘noisy’ connection with such ancestral beings/energies.




CHAOS & CALM: ENVISIONING ORDER
Photography 2020, a national juried exhibit





Jungle Spirits Revealed

As described in a previous set of postings (Hidden Nature,  Hidden Nature #3) I created a panoramic jungle screen within which to place / hide totem spirits and ancestral figures. At the time I wrote that the adjacent and overlapping leaf patterns are perceived as 'symmetrical totemic / figurative forms.  The impact [is] similar to Rorschach inkblots. If you look carefully (in the enlarged images) you may begin to resolve images of figures and animals concealed in the jungle.'

I noticed that uncovering the hidden figures within shared digital reproductions (e.g.; smaller JPG files) was difficult for many viewers... That figure-ground issues challenging the viewer was fundamental to the work, after all. This could be understood as a metaphor for ongoing 'search & discovery' underlying shamanic and meditational practices.

In the back of my head ever since the Jungle Panoramas were completed, I've envisioned them as coming to life in a way that would shift focus between concealing and revealing the various underlying figurative elements. Of course, hopefully not 'over revealing' so as to maintain some of the mystery.














Hidden Panthers Redux


Here are some new Rorschach panther totem visions. These animations came about as I played around with adding motion via animation to my previous Jungle Panoramas - as described in post above. (Previous Panther visions here.)








1.14.2020

Enlightenment According to Robert Anton Wilson


From The Psychedelic Salon podcast #289 "The Lost Studio Session"

RAW is referring to the nembutsu, Shin Buddhism’s central practice. The nembutsu is a short chant—Namu Amida Butsu—that means “I entrust myself to the Buddha of Infinite Light and Life.” The attributes of light and life are understood as standing for great wisdom and compassion, which are embodied in Amida Butsu (Sanskrit, Amitabha Buddha). In the traditional sutras ascribed to the historical Buddha, Amida is described as existing in a Pure Land, a realm of bliss that is very close to nirvana, or complete liberation.

Quoted from: Tricycle Magazine SPRING 2009, "The Buddha of Infinite Light and Life," by Jeff Wilson

12.25.2019

Forest Protectors Revealed

After completing the panoramic "Hidden Nature" series, I continued to wonder about the issue of invisibility/hiding and exactly how far I had taken that - such that the figures perhaps have become a too-faint hallucination against the jungle foliage pattern. Had the background itself became the subjective foreground overwhelming a viewer's ability to decipher / discover the (intentionally concealed) subjects?

I set out to make work that in some ways was a visual simplification of "Hidden Nature." In these new pieces, the Forest Protectors would be less concealed, faces revealed within the chaotic canopy leaves and branches.

Forest Spirits 01

Forest Spirits 02

Forest Spirits 03

Forest Spirits 04

Follow-on note: for the Upstream Gallery's "Small Works 2020" show in January, I had these images output onto a metallic white paper, creating quite a nice optical depth.


Forest Protectors Embodied

I liked the faces of the Forest Spirit protectors emerging through the leaf canopy of the forest. I started to think about how in reality, the leaves and branches would be swaying or shuffling in the wind, constantly changing the appearance and visibility of the Forest Protectors. With an eye towards earlier forest Goddess animations, I played around with similar a layered approach, with the addition of sound, to build new animations (saved as short .mp4 videos). Here is a sample of a few:











Note that the SW tools I use included IOS apps including D'efect, GlitchArt, and Hyperspektiv. Final layering and sequencing is done in PS on my Mac.

5.01.2019

Shaman Dreamtime

While collecting forest canopy images showing inherent "crown shyness" (the observation of trees' branches not interfering with each other - rather leaving open space between each tree in the high canopy) for use in my Forest Spirits pieces, I decided to expand upon the previous playful images of myself with antlers. This time inter-connecting / contrasting the free floating leaf camouflage pattern with highly abstract, yet uniquely organic, "crown shyness" clumping of the upper forest canopy.



11.18.2018

Full Moon Shaman

Last fall we had a pig roast with everyone sitting at long tables outside under the Autumn full moon. A friend took several photos of my friend Gaylord and me goofing around with a pair of antlers. What you see below is a set of transformations as I modified the original images to be more 'visionary.'

original photo
original photo

leaves & enhancements
leaves & enhancements

mask added
mask added

Final: Vision Quest