Dark Current

I am delving into dark currents, the scientific poetry of video.  This is what mimesis seeks to screen out: the medium.  Or more specifically, the primacy of the pheno-text.  I would even call it the accountability of the image.  The video image is imagined as immaterial, and yet the material itself is expressive — literally.  As Roland Barthes put it, "The 'grain' is the body in the voice as it sings, the hand as it writes, the limb as it performs." (IMAGE/MUSIC/TEXT, p.188)

In physics and in electronic engineering, dark current is the relatively small electric current that flows through photosensitive devices such as a photomultiplier tube, photodiode, or charge-coupled device even when no photons are entering the device.  It is referred to as reverse bias leakage current in non-optical devices and is present in all diodes. Physically, dark current is due to the random generation of electrons and holes within the depletion region of the device that are then swept by the high electric field.

The charge generation rate is related to specific crystallographic defects within the depletion region. Dark-current spectroscopy can be used to determine the defects present by monitoring the peaks in the dark current histogram's evolution with temperature.

Dark current is one of the main sources for noise in image sensors such as charge-coupled devices. The pattern of different dark currents can result in a fixed-pattern noise; dark frame subtraction can remove an estimate of the mean fixed pattern, but there still remains a temporal noise, because the dark current itself has a shot noise. (WIKIPEDIA)

 

Reassemblage: Trinh T. Minh-ha (1983)

"Trihn Mihn-ha's experimental documentary, Reassemblage, is for all intents and purposes a film about the people of Senegal. But Trihn has a higher purpose in mind. The film if self-reflexive in that as it is as much about documentaries themselves as it is about the people of Senegal. Trihn calls into question the conventions of the documentary and how such films have the power to manipulate the way in which the audience sees. She constantly reminds her audience that they are watching a movie through many filmic techniques. For example, at times she cuts sound completely to emphasize the fact that she has the ability to manipulate what we are feeling. By taking away the music (African drumming in this case), a tool filmmakers often rely on to tell us how we SHOULD be feeling, we are left to our own devices and must figure out on our own what we are seeing, what it means to us, and why. At times this makes viewing her film fairly difficult, but ultimately it's a rather interesting and thought-provoking experience." (Youtube)

Trinh T. Minh-ha's website

The Flattering Illusion

‘An eminent philosopher among my friends, who can dignify even your ugly furniture by lifting it into the serene light of science, has shown me this pregnant little fact. Your pier-glass or extensive surface of polished steel made to be rubbed by a housemaid, will be minutely and multitudinously scratched in all directions; but place now against it a lighted candle as a centre of illumination, and lo! the scratches will seem to arrange themselves in a fine series of concentric circles round that little sun. It is demonstrable that the scratches are going everywhere impartially and it is only your candle which produces the flattering illusion of a concentric arrangement, its light falling with an exclusive optical selection. These things are a parable’. 

George Eliot, Middlemarch, Chapter 27.

Austin Osman Spare

Austin Osman Spare (30 December 1886 – 15 May 1956) was an English artist who developed idiosyncratic magical techniques including automatic writing, automatic drawing and sigilization based on his theories of the relationship between the conscious and unconscious self. His artistic work is characterized by skilled draughtsmanship exhibiting a mastery of the use of the line, and often employs monstrous or fantastic magical and sexual imagery. (Wikipedia)

Simon Schubert

Simon Schubert (born 1976) is an artist based in Cologne, Germany, his birthplace. From 1997 to 2004 he trained at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the sculpture class of Irmin Kamp.  Inspired by Surrealism as well as by Samuel Beckett, Schuberts works imagine architectonical settings, common situations and objects, whereas the material he uses are either simple or sophisticated - white paper folded or mixed media arrangements. Some of his paper foldings entered the West Collection, Oaks, PA, while the Saatchi Collection, London, owns sculptural works in mixed media. (Wikipedia)

Vasily Vereschagin





Vasily Vasilyevich Vereshchagin (Russian: Васи́лий Васи́льевич Вереща́гин, October 26, 1842 – April 13, 1904) was one of the most famous Russian battle painters and one of the first Russian artiststs to be widely recognized abroad. The graphic nature of his realist scenes led many of them to never be printed or exhibited.

Tropic of Chaos

Tropic of Chaos: Climate Change and the New Geography of Violence

By Christian Parenti 

Nation Books, 304 pages 

From Africa to Asia and Latin America, the era of climate wars has begun. Extreme weather is breeding banditry, humanitarian crisis, and state failure. In 

Tropic of Chaos

, investigative journalist Christian Parenti travels along the front lines of this gathering catastrophe--the belt of economically and politically battered postcolonial nations and war zones girding the planet's midlatitudes. Here he finds failed states amid climatic disasters. But he also reveals the unsettling presence of Western military forces and explains how they see an opportunity in the crisis to prepare for open-ended global counterinsurgency.  Parenti argues that this incipient "climate fascism"--a political hardening of wealthy states-- is bound to fail. The struggling states of the developing world cannot be allowed to collapse, as they will take other nations down as well. Instead, we must work to meet the challenge of climate-driven violence with a very different set of sustainable economic and development policies.

BHUTANESE PHONOGRAPHIC STAMPS

Bhutan issued these phonographic stamps in 1973.  The first of their kind, the records contained recordings of folk songs, facts about the country and the Bhutanese national anthem.  They have adhesive backs for use as postage.  In 2008, Bhutan issued a CD-ROM stamp as an update to this design.

RECORD 1:

RECORD 2:

Angela Carter - BBC Radio 3 Interview - 1991

Angela Carter - BBC Radio 3 - 1991 by DecorporationNotes

I was first given a copy of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber in high school by the smartest person I knew, and I am sad to say I can now no longer look forward to reading any more novels by her (having read them all in rapid succession after my first encounter).  I can, however, continue to reread the stories and novels, rediscovering the immense explorations she undertakes in the various phases of her work — from anarcho-feminist fantasy to farcical family romance and everything in between — and continue to ferret out gems like this 1991 Radio 3 interview.  In it, she displays all the power of her timeless vocabulary, iconoclastic vigor and bawdy charm (as in her description of the public reception of the political themes in her books: "One is only supposed to be pink and insouciant after a day in the sun"), and provides much insight into her methods and inspirations.   I highly recommend leafing through any of her brilliant novels or essays (LoveThe Bloody Chamber, and Wise Children having positions of the greatest importance in my literary pantheon) some afternoon — with a bag of apples by your side, of course.

A Moment In The Sun

A Moment In The Sun

by John Sayles

McSweeney's, 935 pages

"Spanning five years and half a dozen countries, 

A Moment in the Sun

 takes the whole era in its sights—from the white-racist coup in Wilmington, North Carolina, to the first stirrings of the motion-picture industry, to the bloody dawn of U.S. interventionism in Cuba and the Philippines. The result of years of writing and research, the book is built on the voices of a breathtaking range of men and women—Hod Brackenridge, a gold-chaser turned Army recruit; Royal Scott, an African American infantryman whose life outside the military has been destroyed; Diosdado Concepcíon, a Filipino insurgent preparing to fight against his country’s new colonizers; and more than a dozen others, Mark Twain, Damon Runyon, and President William McKinley’s assassin among them. Shot through with a lyrical intensity and stunning detail that recall Doctorow and 

Deadwood

 both, this is a story as big as its subject: history rediscovered through the lives of the people who made it happen."

PLAYLIST 07: SUMMER

Caroline Quigley of Derry, age 7, was recorded in 1971 singing this famous little song from the early days of the "Troubles" in the six occupied counties of Ireland.  It stems from the bitter "Battle of Bogside" in Derry city when the residents of the Bogside (the main "nationalist" area) for three days successfully fought off the attempts of the Police to enter the neighbourhoods in 1969.  Her mother was Helen Quigley, a very fine singer and a well known member of the Republican Movement in Derry. This is a live recording made at The Bogside Inn in Derry at a special concert organised by members of the Official Republican Movement.

Flaming Tunes was a collaboration between Mary Currie and Gareth Williams, and was originally released on cassette in 1985.  The album was recorded after Gareth left This Heat in the early 1980’s and returned from the first of several trips to India.  Except for its initial release there has been no official edition of FT, although a bootleg CD from the late 1990’s included the tape in its entirety.  It was misleadingly described as "This Heat’s final demo recordings" which was a great cause of annoyance to Gareth.  He considered the Tunes album a deliberate attempt to create a music with a different mood and texture to the often harsh and uncompromising This Heat recordings, whilst giving full reign to his eclectic tastes and distinctive musical stylings.

The Tower Recordings were a group of friends in Brattleboro, Vermont. Revolving around Matt Valentine (featuring at times, PG Six, Helen Rush, Tim Barnes, Samara Lubelski, S. Freyer, Esq., Andre Vida and Dean Roberts), they were one of the more innovative groups bundled under the ever-growing umbrella of the psychedelic folk scene (or "New Weird America" as The Wire would have it). Although they have been largely overlooked in the wake of the bands who were better placed when the media began to take an interest, they’ve consistently been viewed by musicians and discerning fans alike as one of the psych-folk underground’s best kept secrets. With an encyclopedic knowledge of blues and folk traditions and a fascination with the avant-garde, they created a suitably far out sound filled with brittle acoustic picking and mind melting experimentation. The recordings often involved retiring to a suitably isolated and atmospheric location and playing with a tape rolling.  Gradually they folded, with Matt Valentine evolving and creating beautiful work under the MV & EE collective umberella.

The Books are an American duo, formed in New York City in 1999, consisting of guitarist and vocalist Nick Zammuto and cellist Paul de Jong. Their releases typically incorporate samples of obscure sounds and speech.They have released three critically acclaimed albums on the German label Tomlab, and recently released their fourth studio album, The Way Out, on Temporary Residence Limited. 

Movietone is an English post-rock band.  They formed in Bristol, England in 1994.  Core members are Kate Wright and Rachel Brook (now Rachel Coe).  Brook was also a member of Flying Saucer Attack during the first few years of the band's existence, and Wright is also currently the bass player for Crescent. Other musicians have included Matt and Sam Jones (both of Crescent), Matt Elliott (The Third Eye Foundation), Chris Cole, Florence Lovegrove, Ros Walford and Clare Ring.  2003's The Sand and The Stars was recorded almost entirely live on a beach. 

Ernst Reijseger (born November 13, 1954, Bussum) is a Dutch cellist and composer. He specializes in jazz, improvised music, and contemporary classical music and often gives solo concerts. He has worked with Louis Sclavis, Derek Bailey, Han Bennink, Misha Mengelberg, Gerry Hemingway, Yo-Yo Ma, Albert Mangelsdorff, Franco D'Andrea, Joëlle Léandre, Georg Gräwe, Trilok Gurtu, and Mola Sylla, and has done several world music projects working with musicians from Sardinia, Turkey, Iran, Senegal, and Argentina, as well as the Netherlands based group Boi Akih.  He has made numerous recordings, both as solo cellist and with other groups, and has been the subject of a documentary film. He has also written several film scores, including scores for two Werner Herzog films: The Wild Blue Yonder and Cave of Forgotten Dreams.

Steady On Your Aim With The Petrol Bomb

A famous little song from the early days of the "Troubles" in the six occupied counties of Ireland. It stems from the bitter "Battle of Bogside" in Derry city when the residents of the Bogside (the main "nationalist" area) for three days successfully fought off the attempts of the Police to enter the neighbourhoods in 1969.

The song is performed here by Caroline Quigley of Derry, age 7 at the time of recording in about 1971. Her mother was Helen Quigley, a very fine singer and a well known member of the Republican Movement in Derry. This is a live recording made at The Bogside Inn in Derry at a special concert organised by members of the Official Republican Movement.