The Soul selects her own society,
then Shuts the door.
e. dickinson

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Autumn: Ways To sense at It

TV Project 2:

*look at Martin Arnold, Christian Metz, Jason Vosu
-download Mac the Ripper to abstract scenes from various films, upload them into QuickTime, edit in Final Cut
-Find 12 scenes from 12 different films which exemplifies/theatricizes autumn season.
-Consider foreign films.
-Edit the scences in progression according to time period.
-Loop it continuously.
-Extend each autumn scene by slowing down its time so that each are worth 1 minute.
-total of 10 min., then looped.
-possibly display it in the Modern Culture & Media windows at Brown.
-The trees are looking beautiful right now so it would be an interesting contrast between the screen
and autumn leaves.
-A representation of color as it gets processesed through a video-camera and the changes of textual surface over time.
-Perhaps choosing films 5 years apart as a a progressive cursor of time flow within film: 1950-2005= 2 films every 10 years.
-Now I have to go find autumn scenes..yay!
*Douglas Sirk, "All that Heaven Allows" "Written on the Wind." 1950's technicolor.
-Talk with Richard Manning, the film archivist in MCM.
-Ideally, to have 12 TV sets stacked on top of each other in the window display.
-But without the funds do it that way, then just have them as 12 separate screens (have them all playing at once) in one large screen and projected in the window.
-film TV screen to use as frame.
-decide whether to have all clips playing simultaneously or in sequence-->In sequence.
-what time of the day to project this?-->dusk
-playing with seasonal representation
-the fictions of season-->raises concerns if the season is experienced through mediation itself, and how the mediation effects direct experience with the season.
-season as a container, how much of it passes through the filter.
-season as it is viewed/interepreted through film vs. experience of it.
-"natural time" vs. "media time"
-Just play the scenes in progression--> 1950-2005, color.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The difficulty in approaching what 'television text' is, involves an attempt to write about an artifice (TV) that consists of sound and image to convey specific forms and contents in order to sell or display a message; a difference between written text (the alphabet, grammar) and televisual text (sound & image) as it appears in a flat, (non)linear, temporal space catering strictly to the senses of sight and sound on a screen. Text within television contains multiple registers: space, time, movement,content, sound, image, all of which assimilate into t.v.'s notion of being 'slippery', supported by its physical parts (described through written text) for broadcasting.

An image source. This is the electrical signal representing the visual image, and may be from a camera in the case of live images, a video tape recorder for playback of recorded images, or a film chain-telecine-flying spot scanner for transmission of motion pictures (films). A sound source. This is an electrical signal from a microphone or from the audio output of a video tape recorder or motion picture film scanner. A transmitter, which generates radio signals (radio waves) and encodes them with picture and sound information. An antenna coupled to the output of the transmitter for broadcasting the encoded signals. An antenna to receive the broadcast signals. A receiver (also called a tuner), which decodes the picture and sound information from the broadcast signals, and whose input is coupled to the antenna. A display device, which turns the electrical signals into visual images. An audio amplifier and loudspeaker, which turns electrical signals into sound waves (speech, music, and other sounds) to accompany the images. ( Television#Elements_of_a_television_system.)

Even the means to define TV's physical parts itself relies on written text; the written text as another added register in attempting to approach a subject that consists heavily of sound and image and which isn't typically read; a barrier between receiving messages from a TV screen and attempting to write about it. What does it mean to write towards (as though reaching through writing) a subject (TV as text) or form that doesn't require literacy (strictly in the sense of reading and writing)? What if a response to the question could be through simply showing parts of a TV show, commercial or as moving-image? It seems the difficulty in approaching what television text is, also has to do with a difference of textual spaces (with regard to reading & writing, watching & hearing); certain tensions between both kinds of mediations in receiving and
processing information, be it through narrative or in an attempt to define a word or that when "it is caught in the ambiguity
of actualization" (de Certeau 1988: 117 ff.).

A common outlet between written and TV text might be that both require space in order to perform their functions and content, just as words acquire room on a page to describe parts of a television and a television requires enough space to fit in a room. In shadow of this, words possess transparent qualities different from that of a TV screen; the word 'slippery'(also an onomatopoeia) is different from the experiential lexicon of TV emitting audiovisual tones of 'slipperiness'. Television as a signifier performs what a word cannot, that which signifies and/or is capable of resembling "slippery" in audiovisual
variations, as though television (as a metaphor in itself) also serves as a pre-linguistic thesaurus of the moving-image. With
regard to defining "slippery", the articulation, so far, seems a process caught in the wings between audiovisual and literary modes. In exploiting TV as an audiovisual thesaurus, the next step is to to embed a Youtube video clip of someone sliding around in an ice-skating ring, connoting "slippery" in its literal meaning through physical representation, as well as the textures of low-grade foggy reception on the screen, analogous to the weather, ice, wetness, slippage, promoting a kind of visceral engagement with the text.

In the video, text, in terms of space, is exactly what it appears to be: elsewhere, this person ice-skating within the capsule of a specific 'place' and 'time', though capable of extending its finite moment into multiple times and places at once in simultaneity; the moment/text not physically happening anywhere, yet occurring everywhere through its one-time reproduction by being uploaded on In relation to space, television works similarly to what is termed as the "projective stage" of perception. "Then comes the projective stage, in which all activities and objects are experienced in relation to a single, subjective point of view[...] The centered space of everyday life bears some resemblance to the space perception characteristic of the second stage. But, while the projective space is liquid, moveable, always related to the position of the spectator-subject, the everyday space is a stable one; the point of view is locked on to one and the same locality" (Larsen, 110); that "same locality" characteristic of television, a rerun or reproduction of a moving-image stored in a frame or a box/flat screen, catering to multiple-singular times and places, which, based on accessibility, simulates more time and place.

T.V.'s textual 'slipperiness' to some extent, mirrors the mind. I imagine TV as a neutral zone which invites,
harbors, and executes varying mental states and then works to stabilize and prolong them; the "stream of consciousness" mentioned by Patricia Mellencamp in her essay "Beyond the Pleasure Principle of Television." Mellencamp attempts to appropriate Freud's "repetition compulsion" to TV reruns. In Buddhist psychology, the intellect is viewed as "a collection of a lot of little details and aspects of psychological inclinations of different types[...] which enables ego to gather further territory, further substance, more things[...] there are six types of [...] egocentric thoughts. They are ignorance, passion,
anger, pride, doubt, dogmatism" (Trungpa, 1975). Like the mind to an extent, "TV triggers memories of TV in an endless chain of TV referentiality[...]It is a disassociated, dated history, out of synch with the present, with nothing, now to do with us..." (Mellencamp, 79). But in light of the glossy textual surface of the screen itself, its apparent in the ice-skating clip presented on Youtube; sixteen seconds of a flowing stream of 'soft-shock' impressions, heightened by eight punctums of TV static soundtrack, while a man swirls around lacking any fixed narrative; this in turn, exemplifying the realization of "'Nervous impulses' and electric energy' portend electronic culture and its reception- the creation/mediation of the shocking experience of modernity" (ibid, 97). The lacking narrative (due to it being only 16 seconds) as metaphorical to a personal narrative at the risk of being consumed by the bombardment of multiple narratives shooting from every passing channel. I've viewed the ice-skating clip with Claude Debussy's classical piano piece " Passepeid" and it is changed entirely, the watery composition adds to the effect of slippage.

An attempt to develop an overarching theory of TV is slippery in itself, if it is an object that is constructed and evaluated within the framework of metaphysical binaries such as "light & darkness", "nearness & distance" or if it is considered a "nonspace" divided again via the play of motion and stillness organized by passages and thresholds to the worlds behind the glass, by a mise-en-scene of light and darkness and by proxemic indicators of nearness and distance within an unanchored situation. (Morse, 207). The conception of TV as a 'neutral zone' comparable to a "nonspace" to the extent that the past, present, future has already happened, where the passive-viewer does not need to react as episodes, commercials, infomercials, educational, sports, entertainment TV have already done it or is in the process of doing; a boot camp to train one how to be, act, or cook a certain way. In Morse's reflection from a passage of Foucault's Discipline and Punish, "The Empire of the habitual is the matrix of mental and social life, made of mundane opportunities and choices composed of practices conducted half-aware, which assemble one's very own personhood. What is new in contemporary life are not these institutions of mobile privatization per se but the interpenetration of layer upon layer of built environment and
representation, the formative and derivative, the imaginary and mundane" (210). However, Morse might not agree with TV as a "neutral zone", as she is concerned with it as "privatized ground." "It is rather, the result of the dominance of one set of values over other values held a little less dear. Those other values, loosely allied with the "public sphere" are represented- but not included in a way that gives them substance." (214) Regarding her use of "nonspace"(here I would extend this to all forms of media representation responsible in developing identity in degrees), and the variations working to promote and stabilize fictions of lifestyles, it is the production of identity (via commercialization) passive viewers are vulnerable in becoming addicted to (I use the term 'become' also in regard to not having an opportunity 'to be' without having TV as a solid mirror to reference parts of the self); a mode of narcissistic viewership reinstated, driven and recycled within "zones of ontological uncertainty" (210), where persons project 'themselves' back into the nonspace (via tuning in to what is present/updated, "in the know"), furthering an illusion of there being such an 'outside', thinning any crevice between supposed 'fictions' appearing on TV and the 'non-fictions' occurring apart from it. In this way, it is also a concern of TV text (via a currency undefined) stepping out from the screen and into the immediate perceptual stage of oneself and others; if there is such a zone or difference in which parts of the self (perhaps as an audiovisual assemblage) are not already locked within the TV's artifice. A way to dry up the slipperinness in building a friendship with TV involves a method of understanding how it effects psychological development, perception (as passive or active viewers of the screen and environment) and the possibilities of becoming responsible creators from TV as a medium to be critical of ourselves.

It is up to viewers to (re)create their own meaning/sub-text within varying discourses (or lack of) of TV in order to resist the production of fictions, by reflecting on how TV has contributed to sculpting parts of the self and to evaluate its consequences, relating back to the functionalist approach that " grew out of certain observations that people use television and radio to fulfill certain psychological and sociological needs and to gratify certain desires" (Allen, 14) The approach is as many viewers there are, more than ninety million U.S. families with television sets and only five thousand selected to represent the demographic for advertising companies (19). With these numbers in mind, it can also mean the possible mass potential to recreate TV, experiment, subvert. But finding a personal way to approach the subject is one that requires introspection: what is my personal relationship to TV? Are there any fantasies in my life that run parallel to certain fantasies on TV? Are there characters specific to a TV show that have influenced me and in what ways? Concepts of identity formation and TV's precedence of self-identification; a kind of TV of the Self pertaining to Morse's "nonspace". Hence, the assessment of TV's social impact not needed to be on the fringes of quantifiable deductions "when what we are trying to account for is how people drive sense and pleasure from television...what scientific law explains our curious relationship with fictional television programs?" (16) There needs to be a way to engage, communicate, and penetrate through the televisual text instead of being quantified as another passing entity across a statistical board. There needs to be a production of meaning through a contemplation of how TV has contributed to the personal narrative that is our lives; an attempt to re-narrate the script, internalized or abandoned, as though being thrown into a void of t.v. static and working to compose the constraints within it, before it composes me anymore than it already has.

TV can be defined in the process of working to reconcile with its psychological and phenomenological impact in relationship with ourselves and the way in which we perceive on a social and biological level, basically, TV is applicable to any discipline of inquiry as it will mirror what is out there. It is both empty and full, a container capable of storing infinity as long as electricity remains an active phenomenon that relies on positive and negative charges, "light and dark", a matter of ethics in deciding how a medium could function to alter consciousness instead of suppressing or leaving it idle, unafraid to inscribe the I against televisual text without double quotations surrounding. It is also a question of authorship, a re-emergence of self from the ruins of network/cable TV in reference to text being "...a space of many dimensions, in which are wedded and contested various kinds of writing, no one of which is original...a tissue of citations, resulting from the thousand sources of
culture...the space of the writing is to be traversed, not penetrated: writing ceaselessly posits meaning but always in order to
evaporate it..." (Barthes, Death of the Author). Any attempt in re-narrating (through voice-over) TV shows, episodes, is also
suggestive of non-attachment to the text, as the act/utterance is subservient to the cause of de-centering, dismantling, disrupting the flow.