Book review: The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued

As analogue video became useless, analog video became cool. For some years individuals from TV electronics have started to build analogue video fx devices – video synths, video effect generators – for artists, enthusiasts, lovers. There are a few devices that you might have come across already, like the bitvision videosynth or LZX Visionary by LZX Industries, the MVIP by Dave Jones Design, Critter & Guitari or those cool machines by Gijs Gieskes.

„The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued“ a two volume set (both volumes come together for one price) released through the Experimental Television Center, Owego NYS, presents stories of the development of early video tools and systems designed and built by artists and technologists during the late 1960s and 70s.
On 736 pages with many photos the contributors examine the intersection of art and science and look at collaborations among inventors, designers, and artists trying to create new tools to capture and manipulate images in revolutionary ways. The contributors include “video pioneers”, who have been active since the emergence of the aesthetic, and technologists, who continue to design, build, and hack media tools. The book also looks at contemporary toolmakers and the relationship between these new tools and the past (seems like actually only at the tools of the 80ies). Video and media production is a growing area of interest in art and this collection will be an indispensable guide to its origins and its future.
Thus the newer history of analog video since the 1980ies has to be written, this seems to be a good read.

Panel book review:

Beginning in the late 1960s, artists and technologists began to custom-create hardware and software for real-time manipulation of video signals through original designs or as hacks to devices common to television production. Contemporary artists and tool designers continue this work in analog and digital domains in an expanded media environment. This program will bring focus to the social and artistic dimensions of custom tool development, and to the dual impulses to create new instruments and conserve and use older ones.

In conversation will be inventor Dave Jones, whose video instruments span forty years, artists-designers Kyle Lapidus and Tali Hinkis of LoVid, Rhizome conservator Dragan Espenschied, and Hank Rudolph of the artist space Signal Culture and the Experimental Television Center.

The panel marks and celebrates the publication of The Emergence of Video Processing Tools: Television Becoming Unglued, edited by Kathy High, Sherry Miller Hocking, and Mona Jimenez (Intellect Books, 2014). The book discusses such early video instruments including the Raster Manipulation Unit (aka the Wobbulator), the Paik/Abe Video Synthesizer, the Sandin Image Processor, the Rutt-Etra Video Synthesizer, the Digital Image Articulator, Pantomation, and the software HARPO, among others.

Table of Contents on intellect

Edited by Sherry Miller Hocking, Kathy High, and Mona Jimenez.

Contributors include Richard Brewster, Jon Cates, Michael Century, Michael Connor, Jeremy Culler, Lenka Dolanova, Carolina Esparragoza, Jean Gagnon, Ralph Hocking, Dave Jones, LoVid, Don McArthur, John Minkowsky, Timothy Murray, Marisa Olson, Christiane Paul, Hank Rudolph, Dan Sandin, Tom Sherman, Yvonne Spielmann, Steina, Carolyn Tennant, Jack Toolin, Woody Vasulka, Howard Weinberg, and Walter Wright.

Discussed are designers and technologists including Shuya Abe, Jeremy Bailey, Steve Beck, Peer Bode, George Brown, Tom DeWitt, Phil Edelstein, Bill Etra, Carl Geiger, Bill Hearn, Phil Morton, Ted Nelson, Steve Rutt, Nam June Paik, Matthew Schlanger, Eric Siegel, and many others.

ISBN 9781841506630

Volume 1 & 2: Paperback 736 pages
Volume 1: 408 pages
Volume 2: 328 pages
170 halftones
44 color images (16 color pages)

Published April 2014
Imprint: Intellect Ltd. (UK)
Price £60, $86, 56€

About the Editors
Kathy High is Professor in the Department of the Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Sherry Miller Hocking is Assistant Director at the Experimental Television Center. Mona Jimenez is Associate Professor and Associate Director in the Moving Image Archiving Program at New York University

About Intellect
Intellect publishes a diverse range of academic books and journals in the fields of film studies, creative practice and cultural & media studies.

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