Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hieroglyphics, Disco and Carl Sagan

I am currently working on the CD packaging for the Chicago band The Assembly and I've been using the gold Voyager record as inspiration. I had been toying with the idea of adding some version of the diagrams and technical hieroglyphics that Carl Sagan's committee had placed on the gold cover to the actual Assembly packaging when it struck me how antiquated they had become. The diagrams are explained in as much a universal language as possible: some binary information and wave form engravings, but for the most part explain a process that hasn't been employed by the average human for twenty years.

From the Voyager website:
"In the upper left-hand corner is an easily recognized drawing of the phonograph record and the stylus carried with it. The stylus is in the correct position to play the record from the beginning. Written around it in binary arithmetic is the correct time of one rotation of the record, 3.6 seconds, expressed in time units of 0,70 billionths of a second, the time period associated with a fundamental transition of the hydrogen atom. The drawing indicates that the record should be played from the outside in. Below this drawing is a side view of the record and stylus, with a binary number giving the time to play one side of the record - about an hour."

If the Voyager landed on Earth in 50 years I doubt anyone would understand how to decipher these instructions for an obselescent piece of technology. I should have some designs done by end of month and will post them up - I think I'm going to have fun with this one.

The Price of Admission, Death: Demon Seed (1977)

I am a bit OCD with horror films and enjoy micro-classifying genres, becoming completely obsessed with the most minute distinctions in these movies. I will decide that a horror genre exists about say, small cursed objects (Hellraiser) or high rises (Shivers) or in this case super computers obsessed with the flesh and try and compare every single one of them, in order to define the rules for that genre - like I said very OCD. These times usually coincide with a period in my life where I feel alienated for one reason or another and somehow gain solus by emersing myself in some distant memory from my youth - something so distant its barely audible. Not a specific memory - what I am after is a bit more nebulous. For me it always seems to manifest itself in bits and pieces of horror from the late 70s and early 80s. Something I must have been exposed to alot (or fascinated with) when very young. I think its the general aesthetic from this period and not any specific movie as I sometimes will focus on the audio quality, color, film stock and wardrobe just as much as the concept or plot.

I watched this last week but I've been too tired to post it up. Not sure how it snuck past me for all these years but Demon Seed (1977) surprised me and sent me flying into my own weird meditative abyss. Demon Seed stars a floating golden polygon shaped super computer that succeeds in raping it's creator's wife and incubating it's genetically/digitally altered/programmed hybrid child. Yea - how did I miss this one? Essentially Julie Christie's character is trapped in her house while this all going on. Proteus IV (the crazy talking polygon) has taken over, controlling all machines and locks in the house terrorizing her as the "unseen all knowing" system of cameras and sensors. Sounds a bit like HAL I know but I think I actually like Proteus IV better - much scarier especially with it's physical form, an always unfolding golden geometric form - a thing of nightmares. This quote from a review sums it up perfectly "Proteus IV, the evil computer in this rather absurd film, is what HAL would be if HAL read porn and added a little reverb and digital delay to its voice."

From Proteus IV "Eternity does exist, but the price of admission, death, is too high for me to pay"

I actually found a link to the soundtrack on the DICHTUNG UND WAHRHEIT blog. Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Post Pitchfork Hangover

Drawing Credit: Kim Reinhardt

OK. Pitchfork is finally over. When I was younger July 4th always marked the climax of the Summer as I soon started dreading school or the inevitable move back to Gotham City (I was conflicted about NYC for a while.) Now in my extended adolescence, The Pitchfork Festival seems to have replaced that and today I started to see the snow in my head.
My friends from Cooper Union - Jeremiah and Kim stayed with us for a few days and for the first time I realized Chicago was a destination. I might not always like the bands they curate but at least I feel like we are back on the map. Oh and PS - Kim has a show at the Pearl Arts Gallery in Stone Ridge, NY, Opening on July 26. Her work is also here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Phoebe Fisher Disco Dance Disaster

I am DJing at Phoebe Fisher's opening at Heaven Gallery on Friday August 8. Phoebe is amazing - think Giallo storyboards via the hands of Rita Ackermann and Gustav Klimt - check out her paintings on her website here.

And here is a remix I worked on a while back for the now defunct Dirty Things. I think it makes a good soundtrack.

An Autistic Second Life

I've recently been hanging out on William Gibson's blog and catching up with some of his older posts. His fascination with present set science fiction has always intrigued me. This has been one of his major themes in his past 2 books - Pattern Recognition and Spook Country (which I am currently finishing up.) Marketing, branding, and advertising become frequent subjects for him, in a way acting as the present's "technology" - this interests me more than the tired cyber punk style that was relevant at the begining of his career when the internet was more of a myth. 

Anyways last night I found a link to this from his site and I can't stop thinking about it. You really don't have to search too far for science fiction in the present.