02 07/12

f(you * γ): reflexions after Lübeck

Two weeks ago I presented my (self-)portrait in the general meeting of DAAD scholarship holders in Lübeck. After the presentation several issues generated a vividly discussion. I’ve grouped those issues under two fragmentations: of the frame and of the author. The first, evident in the visual outcome, is the fragmentation of the space within the frame. The second refers to the crowd-sourcing strategy I use for the production of the portrait.

Video is a medium primarily concerned with time. This medium fixates time into a series of independent recordings that we watch in rectangular frames. Almost always the space of the frame is filled with one image that represents one time and one space. Although video fragments time, the visual frame keeps in each recording a unified time and space.  The camera can only record a sequential flow of time; it cannot record several, non-sequential moments of time simultaneously. The simultaneous assemblage of different times within the frame occurs always in the montage. In my work this is not different. I record each time one minute of video of myself but in the final composition, a real-time montage, all these recordings are agglomerated and played simultaneously within the same frame. Each recording is cropped to a few pixels width and placed next to another recording. This procedure produces a moving image that is composed by several other moving images. The frame is thus fragmented into several columns and each of these columns is filled with a different video. The fragmentation of time that video generates is carried to the very frame. The manipulation I propose has a spatial character. Such a procedure, I would claim, it is only possible in digital video because the digital allows the complete programming of the image and each pixel is susceptible to manipulation.

This fragmentation is taken to the production too. Each video recording is made by a different person using a camera phone. I’ve established a general set-up to control the visual aspect of the image and each person should comply with it. In this form of production the final outcome is made by the work of a crowd. In my (self-)portrait there are authors and I act as a catalyst for the making of the video portrait. My role as an artist is to create the conditions for the production, nothing remarkably new since all post-industrial production functions in such a way. But this work is about the production of a portrait, something intimate and full with authorship. Expressed mathematically, each column of one pixel in my portrait is a function of one independent variable: you multiplied by a constant: me (γ).

Thus,  f(you * γ)

08 04/11

Topografias at Festival Internacional de la Imagen

My most recent work, Topografías, has been selected for presentation in the Media Art show at the coming X Festival Internacional de la Imagen in Manizales, Colombia.

Topografías is a collection of 6 videos, of approx. 2 minutes length each, in DVD-video. This work explores the hybrid territories in the moving image through the manipulation and mix of live-footage with graphics of topographic representations and digital video defects (artifacts and glitches). The hybrid character in the outcome eliminates the spatio-temporal and narrative references of the source material to centre the attention upon its unreal and artificial aspect. For each sound, a machine composed of modulators and oscilloscopes was made. All sounds were recorded in real-time and improvisatory sessions.

This series of videos and the final piece in DVD-video was developed using exclusively free software, under GNU/GPL licenses. Codecs and containers for audio and video are free, too. The platform for production was openSUSE; video editing, mix, and composting was made in Kdenlive and Avidemux, and oscilloscope machines were built on Pure Data. All source files are available for downloading at Topografías.

02 02/11

Footage appropriation

Tags: , , | Categories: art, digital media, DIY

ap-pro-pri-ate, adj., v.

1.  -adj. particularly suitable; fitting; compatible: remarks appropriate to the occasion.
2.  -v.t. to set apart for a specific purpose or use: to appropriate funds for an environmental study.
3. to take to or for oneself; take possession of.
4. to take without permission; expropriate.

[1515-25; < LL approopriātus, ptp of appropriāre to make one’s own = L ap– ap-‘ + –propriāre, v. der. of  propious one’s own].

ap-pro-pri-a-tion, n.

1. the act of appropriating.
2. anything appropriated for a special purpose, esp. money authorized to be paid from the public treasury.

[1325-75; ME (< MF) >LL]

Abbreviation key LL: late Latin; ME: middle English; MF middle French.
Source: Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. McGRAW-HILL Edition, 1991.

16 11/10

topografía lenta 03

Tags: , , , | Categories: art

Caso tres de topografías de video digital y topografías de sonido sintético.
Third case of topographies of digital video, topographies of synthetic sound.

Cedeño Montaña, Ricardo. Topografía lenta tres. 2010. Digital video and audio.

//Soon File to download (XXMB)

07 07/09

Pattern Recognition

what opens this post is a quite different media form than the others I’ve employed here before. The image is generated each time this post is visited and the visual outcome slightly varies each time. It is a process not an end and what generates it can be found here.

I chose a process to shortly introduce Pattern Recognition by William Gibson, a novel about underground footage, advertising dissemination, industrial espionage, video art, and self expression. A cocktail that takes the reader to a paranoiac quest to find out who and why is producing a strange series of video material and distributing it on the Internet. The “footage” has attracted a large flock of followers, and some suspect are a cunningly new form of viral marketing campaign.

1984 legacy
History is raw material to mould the truth. The control over the media is a fundamental element in the permanent writing of what is perceived and therefore accepted as the reality. In this novel Gibson looks back to Orwell, his characters are less interested in what it was than they are in what is now. The future is made up by the present, not by the past events that made up the present. The past is a process permanently having been written.

‘The future is there,’ Cayce hears herself say, ‘looking back at us. Trying to make sense of the fiction we will have become. And from where they are, the past behind us will look nothing at all like the past we imagine behind us now.’
‘I only know that the constant in history is change: The past changes. Our version of the past will interest the future to about the extend we’re interested in whatever past the Victorians believe in. It simply won’t seem very relevant’ [1, p.57]

An open hive
Again, the current mantra: openness, free circulation, collective and participatory creation. In the close media, if you position yourself outside the structure, you can always assemble others material via remix, but never disassemble them. This last is only possible by giving away the structures of a given work as happens in open source. Disassembling is a quasi effortless process in the open media, because it pretends to lack of hierarchy, to be the continuous process of writing, not a book.

‘Musicians, today, if they’re clever, put new compositions out on the web, like pies set to cool on a window ledge, and wait for other people to anonymously rework them. Ten will be all wrong, but the eleventh may be genius. And free. It’s as though the creative process is no longer contained within an individual skull, if indeed it ever was. Everything, today, is to some extend the reflection of something else.’ [1, p.68]

Nevertheless the amount of creations, as in a hive there is nothing distinct just resemblances. All falls under the similarity. In the vast but homogeneous variety of outcomes that constitutes the open media, we have then a different challenge: the recognition of patterns, not of instances, and that needs a different kind of effort, even if those are empty and meaningless patterns.

  1. Gibson, William. Pattern Recognition. London: England, Penguin Books. 2003.

01 06/08

Distant T A B (shamba)

shamba concept

HI, recently I did a small contribution to one event here in Bremen, it was called “Shamba”. Among other seven teams I was invited to do an installation in a Garden inside a building close to the University of Bremen.

My work was a video-installation, a video-object to be accurate, that rebuilt the sight of a tab, which is the source of water for a small creek on the given garden. The two basic concepts to be explored were: firstly, the representation of an object (idea of meaning) and secondly, the reason (idea of truth) of the video image.

Here the text included in the program for visitors.

“This video installation plays with the dialectics of distance in time and space, an allegory, of our memories. A little creek running and murmuring through the garden is always welcome as a beautiful attraction. The running water is counterbalance by the running images of three screens. Each one of them displays the water as it leaves its metal source. The images are in fact the same. As the visitor walks along the creek’s bank towards the source the video image looks more blurred and loses detail, the closer he/she gets. When he/she walks away, the video runs faster and gains detail. The displayed images contradict our perception, which is blurred and slow from a distance.
Video installation in colour, three video screens.”

Finally pictures of the place and my running video-installation I include the videos I screened, too.

the three videos: