beneath the earth / beneath the sky (15 rpm)

manipulated nasa footage
silent - intended for live sound
30 minutes

“beneath the earth, beneath the sky (15rpm)” was one of my first moving image work with video (previously everything was done with super 8). the piece was created without a camera, and consists of manipulated footage from nasa that was posted on the internet. the piece was initially created to accompany a live improvised sound performance at the hammer museum in los angeles.

basically, i worked with a one minute black and white video of the genesis space probe plummeting towards earth. the footage was extremely lo-res, and all of the manipulation was done with basic filters in an early version of imovie -fragmenting and looping the footage, and using mirroring and color enhancement filters.

because the original film was a super low-res file; imovie’s contrast and color modulation tended to emphasize the fragmented make-up of the digital images, shifting large areas of white sky into bi-mapped persian rugs. rather than blending the digital artifacts into smoother imagery, i focused on the resulting psychedelic patterns, exploiting the software’s inability to deal with visual noise.

in the early 2000’s, i was finally starting to work more and more with the computer for sound and film editing, but i wanted to find ways to work with it that still felt related to my analog work. what i loved about working with earlier versions of imovie was that they were rarely consistent and seemed to get confused at times and could make mistakes. the results were often surprisingly wonky and/or not at all as expected… and there were often times when a filter effect that was supposed to clean something up would offer a mass of visual noise. the unexpected (and seemingly undirected) results were exciting, as it felt like the computer had a mind of its own…

this film was also a humble attempt to summon the spirit of early computer generated film/video experiments – especially the spiritual/mandala/psychedelic experiments of james whitney.