I’m not a ghost in the machine just yet.

I’ve not posted anything in a little while, but that’s because I haven’t really created much in a little while. I’ve been taking a much needed break from work after getting my uni grades for the second year, but I’m back now and steaming ahead preparing for my third year dissertation.

I’m trying to move in to glitch art in the moving image, so I’m going to experiment with analogue and digital formats while I TRY to plan out how I’m going to build a switchboard type thing to glitch a live video feed.

I know very little about electronics. The most I’ve done is to replace a battery in my copy of Pokémon Gold. But that just leaves me with a lot of fascinating things to learn. What I’m hoping to create is a box that has various switches, knobs, buttons, dials, levers and sliders. Going in to this box will be an unglitched form of video, but coming out again will be something entirely more interesting. I’m imagining it to function a bit like a guitar pedal seems to.

Signal goes in. Signal gets manipulated based on the settings of the switches etc. Signal goes out.

I’ve not decided if I want to give it a dirty 80s chassis with some old buttons and stuff, or a shiny new aperture science looking box with a clean, medical standard look to it. Or, in another area, try to get ahold of a load of arcade game controls and old game controllers and use the buttons and things off those for something more playful. Maybe I’ll make something for each, soon as I figure out how. My ambition is often beyond my abilities, but hey; I wouldn’t grow at all if I stayed within my comfort zone eh?

I’m also debating between what sorts of input/output cables to use. That’s what I’ll be experimenting with first I guess, so I know what sort of connectors to use.

The input for this will most likely come from a webcam (or video camera), which will probably have a USB connection, depending on the age of the camera. But it would be interesting to have it go through my laptop, then I can pull up literally any video and have it feed out through the VGA port. That would then pave the way to have the output from “Pandora’s Box” (temporary name :P) have a VGA connection so that it could hook up to a sweet, old computer monitor – or a projector!

RCA cables seem another good choice. There’s a bajillion old televisions out there just waiting to display something, and that would also mean I could feed it in to a VCR using a scart connector and record the images on to tape. And the best part? I could tape the recorded tape downstairs and use the family DVD player with a built in VHS to burn the video on to a DVD. Straight back to the laptop ready for upload or display.

Ah, VHS tapes. Another thing I’m looking at. I just went out and bought an old VCR (I don’t want to ruin the one I actually use!) and some tapes. Men in Black, Blade, Halloween and Jacob’s Ladder should make fine source material for possible glitching and distortion experiments! Like, what happens if I briefly microwave a tape? Or what if I use different strengths of magnets on the tape? Or various chemicals? I’ve also got an old 8mm Super 8 style camera. Another very interesting place to start from. It’s going to be a fun year.

I have no idea how to tell you how I get away with doing this kind of thing as a means to getting a university degree. Someone may well give me a degree for doing this. Would my degree be in “subverting modern conceptions of technological limitations”?

Yes. I want to hang that on my wall.

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  • > This is a side blog compared to my Tumblr blog, where I post pretty much everything I make. Happy to help you guys out if you get in to trouble with glitchin' or whatever! Drop me a line on here, on Tumblr, or via email (Joltanine@gmail.com).

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