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4 August 2010

Music by Amasa Gana

Notes: **Warning, the first 26 seconds of this video contain some strobing. If you have photosensitive epilepsy you may want to skip ahead.**

This video was made for the band Amasa Gana. It incorporates some drastically altered and retimed clips from the Italian horror movie Stridulum. A great deal of the look of the video uses the excellent hyperdither dithering algorithm by John Balestrieri (I'll admit to succumbing to nostalgia here. I am very invested in the feel of early black and white Macintosh art, since I cut my teeth on SuperPaint and Hypercard as a kid). If I could post the full-sized, uncompressed video online you would be able to appreciate the subtle patterns of the hypercard dithering better. Compression is a persistent challenge for me.

Video compression methods (all the top web compression standards are variants of mpeg4) are based off the traditional "persistence of vision" model in which video portrays objects in motion (or static) in time and space, and a sudden change in the whole frame is a "cut" where an "I frame" is to be placed. My videos include elements that can confuse compression or are interpreted as noise. Since the web is the main delivery medium available to me there's little way around this (You could for instance encode at a very high bit rate, but the higher you go, the larger the file, and the less viewers you will have). It's not acceptable to expect people to download giant files in non-lossy formats. This challenge has been what has kept me creating 'noisy' motion graphics. The musical and visual aesthetics of the 90's shoegaze and experimental music movements that I identify with are not well suited to the world of the internet– one that values signal over 'noise' and accessibility over fidelity. I've accepted the challenge, and I feel like compression is a temperamental artistic partner that guts out my favorite bits of work and then leaves blurry patches where they once were, to be filled in by the minds eye, which is as eager to make shapes out of noise as the compression algorithms are.

I used a fragment of the beautiful Traer physics iris processing sketch by Jonathan McCabe and Cath of the OpenProcessing community, which is a huge resource to programmers and visual artists. I feel like her sketch alone is probably more impressive than the whole rest of my video and here is the creative commons attribution for her code:
Iris fibres (ish)
by Cath, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 and GNU GPL license.
Work: http://openprocessing.org/visuals/?visualID=9738
License: </p>