"H.M.M.J. 2 (Coda Only)"

"H.M.M.J. 2 (Coda Only)" [2.6 MB .mp3]

More from my collaboration last year with Travis Hallenbeck: he came to my studio and we played a "live MIDI" set. This is the end of a longer section I am working on. This does something sort of Debussy-ish at about :23 that I really like.

As explained last May:

A desktop computer plays MIDI files that we prepared in advance. One channel goes out to my gear: the Sidstation synth and Mutator analog filter. All the rest of the channels go to Travis's setup, which includes a midi mixer and Roland MT-32 sound module (see YouTube demo and this diagram).

So it is a live performance in the sense that the computer is dispensing a stream of MIDI on-off notes and we are changing settings on our gear in real time.

I was recording the performance, and did some minor post-production mixing, mostly for EQ and levels.

Travis' part got some heavier reverb this time around.

The art happens in hyperspace

Cross-posted to Paddy Johnson's blog:

With all due respect to Paddy and my esteemed online colleagues:
I dislike that simple net art diagram and all the pretentious assumptions it stands for ("art is like, on the net, and happens in the space between computers, like wow") and wish it was not on the front page of the GIF show website. GIFs happen on the screen where they are made and the screens where they are shown, not in some vague in-between place. It's true that GIFs can be collaborative and take elements from various locations on the web but they are not an "art of the network." That is MTAA's position but it is an old, Web Art 1.0 position (art solely as critique of invisible hegemonic structures) and doesn't speak for at least one artist in the GIF show. I also dislike Kevin Bewersdorf's hippie zen new age "art circulating through our chakras" GIF--that is no better as an alternative. DH Lawrence might have liked the idea of the solar plexus as the seat of creation but I'll take the mind, thanks. I made my own "art happens here" GIF seven years ago and don't feel like posting it again. I basically don't care "where the art happens."

Update: Nothing wrong with code in art; it's code as art, in the self-conscious, semantic, Charles Harrison/Victor Burgin/Art & Language sense, that gets old. Only one artist in the "Graphics Interchange Format" show is particularly concerned with the latter (a two-person team). Unfortunately they speak persuasively to the man who designed the website, from what can be gathered from the blog discussion after the above comment was posted. "[T]he position of the GIF is shaky enough that you're going to be remembered together or not at all" is how he bridges disparate philosophies of working online: not too encouraging from someone who is supposed to be explaining a new style of working. It's awkward enough being reduced to a file format (a necessary fiction most artists would accept for the sake of context) without being told your art career will sink or swim depending on how it fares.

Update 2: The above-linked thread grew progressively nutty. If you have the stamina to read it, please note the number of times my arguments are paraphrased, each time with increasing levels of speculation, paranoia, accusations of disloyalty and ingratitude, and plain old ad hominem abuse. The case for a difficult artist bucking the show for reasons of ego (as opposed to simple disagreement on principles) is vastly amplified.

Update 3: Sally McKay thinks the (cross-posted) statement above constitutes "polemical attachment to a medium." It's hard enough defending your own words without having to defend ones others ascribe to you.

you don't know what you've got till...


Photos of cathode ray TVs signing off that have been floating around; maxlabor made a GIF composite and I stripped it.

A few years ago I bought a 13" Toshiba analog TV on clearance to use for showing GIFs burned to DVD. It has a really beautiful clear picture and strong colors. The input jack is wearing out now; I embarrassed myself in a recent studio visit wiggling the RCA plug to keep the image onscreen. (Later I learned that if I duct tape the cord to the floor it will keep the jack aligned.) This got me thinking that I would really like to keep working with these screens, just for the aesthetics of them. Just one or two--not interested in collecting them. But finding good ones basically means trolling ebay and Craigslist. [Insert rant about capitalism, planned obsolescence, waste, and thwarted consumer desire.]