“Violent Movies Unraveled” proto-show video posted

Here’s video documentation of the “Violent Movies Unraveled” “public window” show I did in December at iotaCenter. In this prototype performance, two violent movies – Psycho and Scarface – are “unraveled” onto separate screens so that the attackers face the attackees. The screens in this case are adjacent apartment windows. Although sound wasn’t used in the proto-show, I’ve included split-screen composites below that show the source videos with sound.

Since the beginning of film history, cinema has compressed physical space onto a single plane – the movie screen. This means, we never really see characters face to face – no matter what they’re doing to one another. “Violent Movies Unraveled” re-edits famous movie scenes for two screens so that attackers face their attackees.

Split-screen composites of the source videos with sound:

“Scarface Unraveled” – split screen composite

“Psycho Unraveled” – split screen composite

Introducing PIGS – for gestural / visual performance

Update: 10/15: After that early experiment, PIGS was rewritten to better incorporate live action video and to be more efficient for real-time performance. It’s a project under ongoing development. It’s webpage is here.

Here’s PIGS’s debut performance in “Rocket’s Red Glare: Things Exploding on YouTube,” an audiovisual improvisation with clarinetist/sound artist Curt Miller.

Very first experiments with PIGS (Percussive Image Gestural System), a new framework for visual performance based on percussion gestures (but not sounds) – and non-rectilinear forms. I grew up performing music, and still play drums now and then. In doing visual performances, I’ve found myself instinctively performing it as though I were playing a visual percussion instrument. Although I tend to approach sound/visual pairings with skepticism, in this case, we’re not really using sound, just borrowing from a particular sound-based practice.

Anyway, here’s a very first video. The system is very rough – content and processing are in a very basic stage, and there’s lots of latency right now. The percussion audio is just there for illustrative purposes – PIGS is intended to produce visuals only. You can read more about PIGS on the YouTube page:

Part of my artist-in-residence research at iotaCenter.

“Unraveled” ad-hoc urban window video performance Sat. 12/7

I’ll be doing another “Unraveled” ad-hoc performance in West LA Saturday 12/7, starting at 7:30. This one is called, “Violent Movies Unraveled” and features Scarface and Psycho “unraveled” to place attackers and victims side-by-side on two windows – so they have to “face” each other as they carry out their cinematic acts. It’s an experiment in re-spatializing linear screen-based cinema.

Some brief Halloween public video art.

A quick Halloween experiment: Psycho Unraveled. West LA, 10/31/12.

“Unraveling” the famous Psycho shower scene. Rather than the characters being juxtaposed sequentially on a single movie screen, they have separate physical spaces behind a pair of apartment windows. “Unraveling” Psycho’s linear screen space allows us to put the film’s separate, “face-to-face” character shots on-screen at the same time. But editing the “unraveled” film calls for a different approach than simply cutting the individual character shots together and running them on adjacent screens. Using extended cinema space opens up opportunities for narrative to extend its use of space, rhythm, and negative space as cinematic devices. It clearly also affects the context of the film: Does the Psycho murder seem more misogynistic or less so when it’s projected behind the curtains of an apartment instead of a movie or TV screen?

“Psycho Unraveled” is a first experiment in unraveling linear cinema for spatial presentation. It was presented as unannounced public art on Halloween 2012 in the Palms district of Los Angeles. Since the visuals are hard to make out in the documentation, you can see a composite of the source videos as they ran in the show here.

“Psycho Unraveled” is part of my sabbatical research at iotaCenter.

Psycho Unraveled. West LA, 10/31/12 from Amy Alexander on Vimeo.

New project! Videos by People: Voting Stories

I’ve got a new project: Videos by People. Actually it’s an experiment to see if not-so-well-connected individuals can band together get their video stories told. Will you help by submitting a short video (and sharing the link)? The first topic is called Voting Stories. Here’s my voting story, which prompted me to start the site.

Videos can be short and simple, and it’s (I hope) very easy to upload a video directly to the votingstories YouTube channel. It’d be awesome if you’d send a video, and if you’d also help by sharing that be ueberwonderful… Thanks!!!!

Discotrope upcoming shows at Zero1 (San Jose) and ISEA (Albuquerque)

We’ll be performing Discotrope in San Jose at the Zero1 Biennial (e)MERGE Street Festival on Sept. 14th (starting when it gets dark), joined by Frankie Martin (UCSD) and Zaoli Zhong (Syracuse.) Then it’s on to Albuquerque for the ISEA2012 Downtown Block Party on Sept. 23rd, starting also at gettin’-dark-time.

Mayukh Sen at Zero1 has written this article about Discotrope. And Geeta Dayal at Wired has written about us in Wired’s Zero1 Preview. Thanks Mayukh and Geeta!

iotaCenter Los Angeles – Artist-in-Residence

I’ve started my sabbatical residency at the highly-awesome iotaCenter in LA. This fall I’ll be researching new work in gestural and spatial cinematic performance – and also hoping to get involved in organizing some interesting events. First though, getting ready for Discotrope performances in downtown San Jose at Zero1 on Sept. 14th and in downtown Albuquerque at ISEA Machine Wilderness at the Block Party on Sept. 23rd. More details on those to follow!