July 18, 2015

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9.45 am. Part of me always preferred the unprojected slide of the artwork. It’s smaller, more intense, portable, and reproducible. Granted, it sacrifices many of the attributes of the original — surface, scale, physical depth, and subtleties that are better felt experientially than seen — and it has a shorter shelf life than the original. Today’s technology of digital capture and copy permits a rendering of the artwork that can be manipulated in all its aspects, multiplied and carried to anywhere on the globe instantly, and (with the intervention of digital migration techniques), enjoy a long life. Neither the slide nor the digital image are facsimiles. Rather, they’re tokens of, and approximations to, the original. Surrogates.

I’ve made only three digital artworks. The first is iKon/iPod: Magnificat (2007):

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In the booklet accompanying The Pictorial Bible II: Seal Up the Vision and Prophecy, I wrote:

The iPod is a small portable media device. Some models are capable of storing and playing music and video, and displaying photographs and text files. As such they combine the utility of the icon miniature and portuary. The first series of images designed to be viewed on the media player similarly amalgamate the visual and the textual. The source material is taken from the Magnificat, the Latin version and vernacular translation of the Song of Mary, her doxological response to the angel Gabriel’s prophecy regarding the son she would conceive (Luke 1: 46–55). The opening words ‘My soul doth magnify the Lord’ provide the conceptual process for the images. The word ‘Lord’ is literally enlarged up to 1000 per cent. Sections of the word’s letters and the ground on which they are printed are then abstracted. The backlit illumination of the screen inevitably gives rise to an association with stained glass, the typifying colours of which inform the palette for the works … As with One Jot or One Tittle (and following Gutenberg’s principles), the series of works uses new technology to democratize Scripture, enabling copies of the original to be downloaded freely from an Internet website.

I predict that, in the future, far more of my visual work will be conceived and executed digitally.

11.30 pm. Having spent much of the week ruminating on the sound/landscape project(s), I decided not to do so again today. Rather, I pushed on with three other determinations. To: 1. update my catalogue/index of visual artworks and establish which have yet to be photographed, digitally; 2. undertake further explorations of databending in relation to The Wounded Heart Ministries source; and 3. reconfigure the studio for sound practice only.

1.30 pm. Now that there’s a subwoofer incorporated into my mixing array, I’m better able to assess the bass values of the new Sicknesses, Weaknesses, Diseases of All Kinds track. 2.00 pm. I returned to the metadata expression of the TWHM image, converted it into a PDF format, and then into an audio file. Again, the result was an almost uniform brown noise. However, when that noise was converted back into an image file, the transform engaged my attention immediatly:

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I heightened the contrast of the image alarmingly, saved it as a Photoshop RAW format, and re-imported the file into Audition. The sonic results were more granular and bitcrushed in character. (Low grade, high contrast photocopies would serve this process well.) My ideal for this mode of processing is to move cyclically through image > text > sound > text > image, while capturing the outputs at each stage. The TextEdit metadata rendering of one of the sounds derived from the source image reads:

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However, the visual and sonic manifestations of the over 1,000 pages of metadata were, again, disappointing. But when the above screenshot, showing one section of metadata, was imported as ‘Raw Data’ into Audition, the output sounded astonishing. The following is the graphic display and a sonic extract from The Wounded Heart Ministries metadata screenshot:

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I prefer the sonic palette consequent upon this way of working; it’s less synthetic/midi-esque than that produced by commercial image-sound conversion software. The pitch and timbre recall the old telephone-based modem, when you sensed that you were hearing, in the gurgle, chirp, and stutter, the sound of binary in motion.

3.00 pm. I began processing the source image using the following sequence:

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4.00 pm. After which, I converted the source TIFF into a sound file, made a screenshot of of its graphic display, and converted that, in turn, into sound — a recursive image, of sorts.

The time has come to assemble parts of my sonic capture over the last few days, in order to begin the process of sound composition. My model will be the source image and, in particular, the structural ‘logic’ that arose when the layers of the website’s homepage collapsed upon themselves.

5.00 pm. An end to endeavour. 6.00 pm. An evening with the family.

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