The Alan Sondheim Mail Archive

December 15, 1999


rush // going into the frame buffer then out and lowering the pedestal
before sending to the toaster where it coagulates with a frozen wipe set
half-way according to the other half of the connection from the hi8 camera
through the effects generator and the whole running into the other hi8
camera and connecting with the line input from the audio mixer and the
effects box lined up with the mirage and guitar effects box, time base
correctors all over the place for field freezing and signal corrections,
eye always on the waveform monitor and vectorscope among the analog
machines connected and interconnected with adobe premier and the
relatively slow pc with the huge hard-drive getting its images from the
hi8 output before closing out and slowly losing sync running through the
toaster, the guitar set hard through the marshall amplifier raising and
peaking the harmonics, cutting them out at the lean sound, shakuhachi and
voice combined, azure and me on the floor, on the chair, microphones
everywhere, the bolex tripod doubling as whole worlds look down on us, us,
us

rush ii / new 3/4" edit deck replacing old worn-out broken belt, color
camera connector held together by tape, hi8s freed for camera work, this
3/4" does insert so black-bursting at the moment through the toaster,
setting up the 1970s character generator for the block look, beginning
working this morning, now it's operating fine in roll crawl and grid mode,
worked with the quicktime images today, as well as azure-ballet and other
supporting or non-supporting materials, hokey guitar playing, some mirage
as well but a great deal of speech processing, i had wanted to go that
route, meanwhile insert editing didn't quite work without rollback on the
hi8 cameras so i've been rerecording and cutting into the original 3/4"
work since the hi8 rollback is ok for recording then rerecording with time
base corrector and noise reduction into and through the matrix, constantly
reworking the patchcords, also using the analog synthesizer this afternoon
in order to switch between three cameras controlled with a
voltage-controlled amplifier which then went into the effects on the
toaster 4000 and out again through the usual checkups including phase
which is always slightly off and pedestal always fiercely lowered, using
the audio echo only sparingly and recording a long sequence with azure-
ballet on the laptop and shooting off it with the hi8, then transferring
it to the other hi8 with the tine base corrector and noise reduction to
begin the sequencing described here

rush3 // azure in korean wedding dress and an abacus will play a role,
reed flute, egyptian _nay,_ already at work for sound, moved all the
equipment i brought to one end of the loft for more room, getting ready
for still photography, using the frame buffer again for comical alan
waving the _nay,_ color camera placed in position, buffer creating noh
images across the repetition and slow movement, facial closeups as one
image is always slightly displaced from the other, the phase controls
transforming colors into jades, will be a silent work except for clacking
on occasion, nothing more, sound of abacus beads in noh rhythm framework,
_nay_ playing improving, thinking about finnish folklore, shaman songs,
noh plays again, some things from the upanishads, the equipment still
silent behind me, decided not to use any of those things, looking at noise
in the old 1970s text generator, it's forced into on-screen characters,
just like a dream is forced from neural noise, thinking perhaps make a
piece with all of this, the dreamwork of the machine manifest in a text
which takes the indecipherable murmurings of the universe one step further

rush4 // or if not the universe one step further those insidious sysadmins
who keep my day to a minimum of pleasure, stepping on my fabulous trace-
route plans, one warning that if i had my way, y2k would look like a holi-
day. if i were so lucky, the net would collapse of its own, one dialup
connect to a happy isp and real audio or another duke nukem out of date
saga and there goes the planet. meanwhile the hunger of the equipment
calls me forth; it's roaring behind me; i can't escape it, or my depres-
sion, which has deepened, bad sleep even here, my job worries following me
everywhere, i live with death, i don't want to spend the next several dec-
ades pathetically looking for work, my knowledge means nothing, i'm not a
man blah blah, i'm not even human blah blah, i'm too full of self-hatred
blahblah, i'm my own worst enemy blahblah, blahblahblablablablablblblbbbb,
i don't know how azure puts up with me, or why, i must have my moments,
they just don't stick around, back working with noise in the machine, the
master tape has too much dropout (3/4"!), i'm sending through the time
base correctors again and adding noise reduction by copying it to the hi8
5000 camera, back and forth, meanwhile the tr81 records tapes that jitter
in the 5000, but the 5000 records tapes that play fine in the tr81 and the
tr81 tapes play fine in it as well, recording out in bitter cold susque-
hanna river, working the keying in the toaster and trying for a third
source after recording electric guitar through air coupling (marshall
amplifier, effects, etc. into microphone then into mixer and additional
effects, resonating in the room for added texture, keeping the whole in
balance), adding nay material to the five-second-delay setting, along with
new shakuhachi work, now i work at dancing on the guitar too fast to see
my hands, want that freedom of pure touch ahead of visual feedback, here i
am on such and such a fret, need the internal roar, that's all i have left
of me, this this this this this, this internal roar

rush5 // the harder days are those when i'm down, working through it, my
music perhaps better, the video veering however into uncomfortable terri-
tory, as if i want my truths, but veiled. veiled truth - because the ob-
verse is death of course. today working with azure again, keying in water
images against a very flattened and somewhat hysteric to-be-determined
studio imagery, as well as more musical recording. i worry that my hands
will slow up; arthritic, i'll remember the fingerboard of the guitar, al-
most a physical memory, the very _thick_ of it, but not the skill the ab-
ility to move fast, produce the complexity called for by the mind. when my
fingers are invisible, it's the physical against the physical, sound com-
ing in from the remnants of the world, what i can see, if i could see the
things of space that make the air what it is, air-mountains and valleys,
air-trees and rivers, all the air-creatures of this or any other earth. 
went out riding to johnson city, the village of johnson city, saw a very
old working carousal there, as well as a pagoda housing parts of an elec-
trical plant, which i photographed, came back and did another 45 minute
music tape, only recording on one side, my fingers hardly moving at this
point, but very satisfied with the sound, going for the shakuhachi later,
it's dark out, river's right outside the window about twenty meters down,
i've been feeling physically a lot healthier since i've been here, what a
surprise, working with a digital delay system and upped it to 32 seconds
for late-night recording and working with a digital shortwave as well, put
up the antenna east/west this evening, only direction really possible in
the building, working with themes of alienation, seduction, gender, the
psychoanalytics of the image, the haunting of the imaginary - which brings
up this intensive work with largely analog equipment, reading the old
waveform monitors once again, tweaking everything from phase to gain to
offset to pedestal, this _visual_ state-of-affairs, riding a system that
refuses constructivity - the only subtext is that of the ntsc signal it-
self, and the rest is amplitude, frequency, etc., with the delay, symbols
for queen, mouth, wheel, superimposed over disheveled azure mouthing aah,
my aah as well off-camera, she's in an open kimono, nothing revealed,
glazed look, tripods everywhere, my mouth's long aaah in background, this
for an evening, but this mindset of the analog, stringing units in any
direction, shortwave in the background looking for numbers stations, it's
the spectral mother all over again, voices, voices, voices

rush6 // the analog again, it's a sliding scale, it's sliding across the
skin, no jump-cuts, skipping nothing, guitar tuned so low microtones are
easy, the same with shakuhachi, everything a caress of the audible and
visible. i haven't explored these areas for years, the circuitry of the
pixelless image, the image-body as flux or flow, it fascinates, fastens
me. every knob moves through continuous positions, a turn reveals new
worlds as chaos enters in the form of pure land noise way above the min-
imum. keep the noise down! and watch the universe withdrawing, foofwa
here, we're filming ballet, azure and me on the floor, she in primadonna
against this flesh, foofwa in serious costume, neurotic movements, five
cameras triggered by microphone, guitar backdrop, i'm too tired to really
know what i'm doing, pushing this way, the fall into the icy river, maybe
snow do come along long way so soon, a half hour of dance video, azure and
i making love in a corner, neurotic dancing and furious frenzy of camera
switches, sound dah dah dah dah dah at high speed changing things around,
azure in ballet dress dancing on main street in the middle of cold winter
night, jump rhythms against foofwa and azure dance on red brick wall, all
systems go, from ennui yesterday to neuroticism today, from languor yes-
terday to high energy today, from flow to cutting through, in and out of
dancing, bodies, ecstasies, sounds, murmurs of words almost understood

rush7 // rushed out, working all day on pieces deconstructing musicals
(film and live) which means editing, music/sound, dance routines, sync-
opation, nothing comes easy, using the tr81 hi8 for outdoor capture in the
middle of the night, avoiding the police and rednecks screaming faggot,
it's got tape problems so playback processing is necessary. i'm wandering
around the analog, going deeper and deeper into it, the digital/computer
relegated to the background - that became clear when i did an early pack-
ing (so we would have more time tomorrow), looking at the zip drive as if
it were a foreign object - i'd brought up ten disks, and didn't need even
one of them - foofwa and azure dancing in the cold gazebo, 19 degrees out,
light ballet costumes, the cameras running more or less, dancing in the
street, dancing around the fountain, around cars, finger-snapping all the
time, keeping the rhythm go go go, tomorrow using the blind girl poems
from 1844, there's not a moment to lose, but sight is gone the way of the
digital, ironically the net is slamming me at the moment, hard to type
these few notes of a bygone era, i realize, the computer doesn't breathe,
i hardly do any more, been sick and feverish almost the entire day, we're
going to begin work in a few hours and i can't see what i'm fucking typing
as packets sputter and die, i'm slamming my arms into the chair, the pain
helps

rush8 // last full day, four and a half hours' sleep this time, the fur-
nace noisy, set it on last night because of feeling ill, we're already
duplicating and preparing to edit, took three rolls of film yesterday,
getting it developed now, trying to figure out when to come up again here,
we'll have six dance pieces finished in two and a half days, not counting
the materials azure and i did plus the photographs and audiotapes (some of
which are heading for dancetracks), i woke up this morning feeling desper-
ate and suicidal after a terrible dream about joblessness and loss, still
haven't been able to shake it, the v5000 camcorder was able to handle the
footage from the tr81, the jittering just added to the dance, used noise
reduction on maximum plus lowering pedestal and running through a tbc (as
well as the tbc in the camera and tbc in the toaster) and it all seemed
more than usable, not a bit of dropout anywhere on the tape, indicating
i've got to take the tr81 in for repairs, and i want to watch real tele-
vision as soon as i can with foolish people laughing, i haven't relaxed in
days, and the dreams are always getting the better of me, they're reflect-
ing my truth of absolute uselessness, there's nothing i can do in this
culture, wah wah, nothing anyone wants to pay for, just noticed the lack
of 'effect' in the rush writing, no processing at all, no programming,
it's all in the language, it's all on the video screens here, running on
and on and on

rush9 // and on and on and leaving and driving eight hours after finish-
ing a full six tapes, working against foofwa's musculature, the control of
the body against imminent desire, imminent against immanent, clutching
azure to me as local suffusion, blanked stares against enraptured, i'd say
ecstatic, deportment, within and without, haven't yet come to grips with
dance, i wrote, part of the piece yesterday, 'in the danceworld there are
no wings,' one always inheres in the body, its presence-presentiment, it's
this, cohering, that covers the text for me, i don't want to lose that
presence, for a week online was secondary, it was the full resonance of
the world and the things within it, the totality of chaotic harmonics
produced in living flesh, fucking cut into the dance, the dance stuttered
against fucking, taking over the street, the blanking of the street, sound
from the culvert, dance beneath the bridge, azure and i couldn't bathe or
shower for a week, venue discussions, the sound always so fierce, then
again a lilt and syncopation carrying balletdress and ballerina against
the freezing of nijinsky leaps on the street of musicals

rush10 // back to language but what i've heard and seen, unimaginable,
what is an ecstatic

last rush // moving out of the analog, ntsc video signal pulsing through
the synthesizers (i saw the triangle-wave appearing in the lcd glow on the
patch-bay). analog is porous; signals can be input and output anywhere,
looped, curtailed, restrained, expanded, increasing noise at every junc-
ture. there are two sorts of inserts - formal - which enter through patch-
cords and microphones (both can be considered linear, since at every time
t there is one voltage / volume - one flux through the wires) - and in-
formal - those that appear in the audio or video matrix - bodies, objects,
voices against the edges of the screen, margins of the audible, even cen-
tered, all those identifiable and unknown components. it's as if the
screen were splayed, the audio unraveled, both open to the real, or both
part and parcel of the real - the images are hardly constituted the same
way as digital - one might say that the analog video image is written and
read line by line, in time-base-corrector order - very different from the
pixel-by-pixel mapping of the digital. in the analog, noise is garnered by
the image, audio and video, it's part of it, there's no thresholding to
speak of - the noise is the descent of the entropic universe, or emergence
of the same - everything returning ultimately to noise. using analog, one
rides the noise, a form of chaotic shape-riding; the ultimate analog con-
rol is the slider or knob, the hand twisting about the boards, arm moving
back and forth. the noise is the dream of the machine, it comes from with-
in and without, it's the breathing of the universe, it's existence itself,
the analog nature before the digital culture. which isn't to say that the
universe is one way or another, but that the digital is, from its origin,
artifactual. if the analog is mobile physical space, ducking under wires,
turning towards monitors everywhere, the digital is constructed space with
the appearance of fluidity, churning into inconceivable patternings - the
analog always has the quality of the inertness of the real about it - one
rides the signal as well as the noise, monitors the resonant 'look' of the
world and its transformations. and here i am returning to the analog after
years, and now back into the digital, aware of enormous differences and
distances no matter what the melding, interpenetrations, flow of one ag-
ainst the flux of the other. and feeling myself torn by the very weight of
the tape in my hand, the noise on the vhs vcr, in problematic opposition
to the clean and proper screen, infinite reproducibility and accessibility
of this or any other computer creation. i already miss the motion in the
space and the hovering of bodies, twisting of tripods and monitors, inord-
inate tweaking of signals fighting off entropy in new murmurings of the
world. as usual i'm tired, this tires me, but at least i have inhabited
such beings as the future portends, striations and collapses of holodecks,
well before they have become the real. 





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