SYSTEMS AND LAYERS
REBECCA BARON AND DOUG GOODWIN: ARTIFACTS
SPEAKERS: Rebecca Baron and Doug Goodwin
MODERATOR: Toby Lee
The dematerialization and construction of images through non-optical based vision take disparate forms through these five works by Los Angeles-based artists Rebecca Baron and Doug Goodwin. Their collaborative Lossless series “explores the possibilities of the transformation and distortion of images and ultimately the creation of new ones within the digital realm”. Rebecca Baron’s newest film, Detour de Force, depicts the mid-1960s milieu where hundreds of “thoughtographic” Polaroids were produced by Ted Serios (1918-2006). Doug Goodwin, in his companion performative lecture Is Thoughtography Obsolete?, will attempt to produce a Thoughtograph via vintage Polaroid film and camera while tracing the trajectory of the Thoughtograph into our digital present and neuro-imaged future.
Detour de Force
USA/Austria, 29 min, digital, 2014
Detour de Force presents the world of thoughtographer Ted Serios, a charismatic Chicago bell hop who, in the mid-1960’s produced hundreds of Polaroid images from his mind. Constructed from 16 mm documentation of Serios’s sessions and audio recordings of Serios speaking with Dr. Jule Eisenbud, the Denver psychiatrist who championed his abilities, the film is more ethnography than biography, portraying the social and scientific environments in which Serios thrived. The film foregrounds the state of image and sound recording technologies of the period as essential to the emergence of Serios’s psychic photography. It is also a document of the filmmaker’s encounters with the archival materials themselves. The film enjoys a rich sound environment by Ernst Karel, Kyle Bruckmann and Guiseppe Ielasi.
Is Thoughtography Obsolete?
by Doug Goodwin
A companion work to Detour de Force, this performative lecture (approx. 30 min) expands upon a lecture Goodwin presented at Orphans 9: The Future of Obsolescence in March, 2014.
“The presentation begins by attempting to produce Thoughtographs with a Polaroid Model 110 (Pathfinder) camera loaded with some of the last available film, moves to consider strategies for producing a Thoughtograph with digital media then concludes with current scientific research that claims to have found images in the brain. “ -DG
Lossless #2, 3 & 5
Rebecca Baron and Doug Goodwin
USA, 2008, digital, 16 min
"In Baron and Goodwin's Lossless series the “materiality” of the digital becomes the source-code for experimental execution. The artists' renditions of appropriated films are certainly not “lossless” (i.e. a copy of the original in which nothing is lost), but rather gainful: through various techniques of digital disruption - compression, file-sharing, the removal of essential digital information - the artists reveal the gain of a “new” media, full of material forms ripe for aesthetic sleuthing." --Braxton Soderman
Lossless #2 (3 min) is a mesmerizing assemblage of compressed digital images of Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid’s 1943 masterpiece Meshes of the Afternoon. Baron and Goodwin play heavily with Teiji Ito’s 1959 soundtrack, making the film’s lyrical ambience feel more astonishing than ever before. --Neil Karassik
Lossless #3 (10 min)
Removing keyframes from a digital version of John Ford's The Searchers, Baron and Goodwin attack the film's temporal structuring to render a kinetic “painted desert” of the West. The dust kicked up by the movement in the film is pure pixel, unanchored from the photographic realism that used to constrain it. “Truth, 24 frames a second!” is rewritten according to the odd clock-times of digital processing, splaying movement and transition into the void of machine temporality. In the Lossless series, the artists themselves are the searchers, seeking to uncover differences between the bitstream and the celluloid strip. These differences might be blurry at our historical juncture, but Baron and Goodwin's work leads us closer to the over-coded heart of the digital video image, dissecting its anatomy to expose its entrancing mechanisms.- Braxton Soderman
In Lossless #5 (3 min), a water-ballet crafted by the famed Busby Berkley is compressed into an organic mitosis, within which we detect the spirit of a "buggy" Brakhage ghosting about the integrated circuit. - Braxton Soderman