ETC: Experimental Television Center 1969-2009 is a five-DVD box set presenting the electronic media work of over one hundred artists who participated in the Center’s Residency Program during a 40-year period. The collection offers a look at the evolution of the unique artist-designed sound and image tools that are the hallmark of the Center’s studio, and provides a view into the constantly changing artistic processes and practices that have shaped the work over the years.
"For over one hundred years photography and film were the leading media. From the start on they served not only to inform and entertain but were also media of scientific research and documentation. That’s also why these reproduction techniques were associated with notions of objectivity and contemporaneity - whereas images created by drawing and painting indicated subjectivity and the transrational.
Most of TVTV’s work takes place in the city, at the center of some pop culture event. “The Good Times Are Killing Me” takes place in the country – Southwest Louisiana, around the towns of Mamou and Eunice, the heart of Cajun country. This is an indigenous culture of food, music, language, and bawdy French-language jokes – something you don’t see much anymore in America. The event is rural Mardi Gras, where beer-drinking, boudin-eating men and boys on horseback capture and behead chickens for a big gumbo and town dance.
"This is the first of a set of pieces that involve combining a series of electronic video process recordings, musics, texts and appropriated materials. These multiple elements, simple and tricky grammars, trigger expanding electronic narratives. The trajectories and drags of multiple narratives color the electronics and visa a versa.
"The Camel with Window Memory piece was made one weekend in the early '80's. I pulled out my post card collection and began to look at specific postcards run through the new digital video buffer I had built together with David Jones. The buffer had only one frame of memory but it was real time. It had the capability of displaying the image memory space, either as live or frozen.
"Real time digital buffer recording, light bulb, panning camera motor and turntable. Light Bulb, the title says it almost all. Real time recording events. Two cameras, light bulb, camera panning motor, electric lazy susan, spinning white paper rectangle for the clip. Using the first digital video frame buffer I built together with David Jones, video buffer number one with variable clock. Several minutes of Rube Goldberg like digital electronics and optical props and motors. No computer, just entergetic digital slivers, shimmering and shattering."
"Newly hand-built digital video A to D and D to A with ALU bit flipping. Controlled by an ELF II computer. The image brightness changes also controlled analog synthesizer parameters of the live flute playing. I sat in the camera image zone and played along with the programmed staccato picture and sound shifts. David Jones, digital video design."
"A hand made raster deflection unit was used, inspired by Nam June Paik's video synthesizer system. I also used a TV repair person's test signal grid, early digital. Two b+w video cameras, audio oscillator sweeping up and then down. More keying permutations. Video, oscillator, keying, graphic timing buzzes."
"Bricks, white noise, video. Free floating sync, altered, drifiting camera: video image and time. Keying permutations, switching via gray level values, using a modified b+w Sony special effects generator (SEG). Building the building, one brick at a time. In video what is a brick? In spite of what was then a fierce cultural doxa, an anti-materialist pressure, and being quite anti-anti-materialist I was working hard to coax out significant features as expressive intensity zones, electronic energy points always engaging with the signals."
"Actions, states, one B+W video camera, the Paik Abe Colorizer, a video switcher. The two states, a b a b, I put my hand in the camera frame and saw a colored hand shifting. I moved my, the, hand, including back and forth, realizing or connecting to the visual and language potential of front hand and back hand. Giving it some veracity, the piace became attempting to keep up with the position changes together with verbally reciting front hand back hand, co-coordinating from hand to mouth and mouth to hand."
"A cup and saucer, pouring and drinking coffee, a duration ritual of contemplation and invigoration, doubled (tape copied), mixed, keyed + synthetic color, normal play and rewinding, sync events, the opening of a space to put the self in. 1/2 inch b+w Portapack, 2 reel to reel video tape decks, David Jones keyer and colorizer."
"My first digital recording and my first and only recording with Don McArthur's "Spatial and Intensity Digitizer". The digitizer was not working properly. I had no idea. The shift I saw was stunning. Digitalization of luminosity, strange notion, wonderful light and early digital embodiment. Image/signal in digitized state/space, noise field. I always thought of this to be 100 seconds of very beautiful digital light noise."
"Inspired by Ralph Hocking's fish biting video. Eighty-seven stones thrown, volumes shifting of water sound, a real time performance event. Holding the camera and throwing 87 stones into the frame. 1/2" reel to reel Sony portapack."
"An electronic synthetic color video, based on a memory of Larry Gottheim's film Blues. Natural and electronic real time events, new American electronic cinema. B&W video camera, Paik-Abe colorizer, 1/2" vtr, blue berries, bowl and milk. The filmmakers stopped talking to me. Viva Video!"
Formed in 1969 at the legendary Woodstock Music Festival by David Cort and Parry Teasdale, who met while taping the events with the newly available Portapak video equipment, the Videofreex (also known as "the Freex") were one of the very first video collectives. After working together to pitch a program to the major broadcasting station CBS, they toured the country interviewing counter-cultural figures of the day, including Fred Hampton, a leader of the Black Panther party, and Abbie Hoffman, so called leader of the Yippies.