Friday, October 14, 2005

A rocco Din



A Rocco Din is an anagram of accordion, and the piece started out life in 2001 when I first began experimenting with software that can synchronise sound and image. Many of the installations I made throughout the 1990’s also linked audio and the visual, often through analogue triggering devices reworked from circuits originally designed for discothèque lighting. In the same way the first apps that became available for synchronised sound and image manipulation were intended for those somewhat unloved practitioners the VJ.

The VJ has yet to attain the dance floor status of the DJ, and many VJs seem happy providing a visual backdrop to the records being played. Taking the music as a given, something to be added to, makes what could be a potentially interesting form of expression into something that is arguably compromised. However as with the disco lighting circuitry once one takes charge of both audio and visual elements, something far more interesting can be squeezed out of VJ software.

Videodelic is just such a programme. From U and I software. Designed with the VJ and simple thumping beats in mind, if left to its own devices it can have you producing some nice, but fairly meaningless eye candy in no time. With a lot of patience one can get the programme to do more interesting audio-visual combinations.

With A Rooco Din what started as a simple idea in 2001 to get the accordion to visually play itself, took some three years to get right. The music and picture movements were written simultaneously. The pitch of the notes corresponds to the digital manipulation of the image. So for example if one wanted the image to rotate one would write an ascending sequence; the greater the span of notes the greater the rotation. The faster the notes the quicker the speed of the spin and son. This principle can be extended to image stretching, overlaying, colouring, feedback and so on.

The results to some extent echo those of experimental animators such as Norman Mclaren except in McLaren’s case he either wrote to completed scores or music was added afterwards. By “composing” music and image movement at the same time it is possible to extend the paradigm. In the case of A Rocco Din the accordion music is playing the image of itself (a single photo of the instrument). This seemed a nice twist on actual accordion playing where the variations in melody and tempo are accompanied by quite physical movement on the part of the accordionist and accordion.

So rather than the rude and artificial separation that occurs in reproduced music and video the two senses are reunited but in an unpredictable way; the accordion moves as the music rises and falls but not in the usual way.

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