Pulse Shape 22: Audiovisual Performance and Data Transmutation






  • Pulse Shape 22 is an improvisational audiovisual performance featuring shortwave radio transmissions as the sole source material for real-time audio processing alongside video of the sun projected through cast-glass lenses designed specifically for this piece. The structure of the piece is derived from metrics on energy accumulation over a period of 2.2 nanoseconds resulting from the targeting of 60 laser beams on a single tetrahedral hohlraum in weapons testing experiments as carried out by the Los Alamos Inertial Confinement Fusion unit, at the Omega Laser Facility at the University of Rochester. Pulse Shape 22 is an exploration of architectural space through the use of site- and time-specific information found in regions of the electromagnetic spectrum outside the reaches of the human
    sensory apparatus. It is an attempt to alter the audience’s perceptions of their surroundings and create
    a moment of rupture from hidden worlds found in our local environment.


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    4. J. Cage, Silence (Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1961), 3.

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    14. Cavanaugh later withdrew all of his films from the Anthology Film Archives “at a time in his life when, due to extreme LSD experiences, he sank into a period of insanity during which he was institutionalized for several years,” cf. Fluxfilm Anthology, <http://home.utah.edu/~klm6/3905/ff5_ Blink.html>, accessed March 2016.

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    17. Ibid.

    18. W. Rose, “Annotated Filmography and Performance History,” Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs, eds. M. Pierson, D. E. James, and P. Arthur (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 270.

    19. Ibid., 272.

    20. J. Walley, “The Material of Film and the Idea of Cinema: Contrasting Practices in Sixties and Seventies Avant-Garde Film,” October Volume 103, 17 (Winter 2003).

    21. M. Pierson, “Introduction: Ken Jacobs—A Half-Century of Cinema,” Optic Antics: The Cinema of Ken Jacobs, eds. M. Pierson, D. E. James, and P. Arthur (New York: Oxford University Press, 2011), 16.

    22. C. van Campen, The Hidden Sense: Synaesthesia in Art and Science (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 45.

    23. Ibid., 20–23, 50–53.

    24. C. Cox, “Lost in Translation: Sound in the Discourse of Synaesthesia,” ArtForum, 241 (October 2005).

    25. P. Sharits, “Hearing: Seeing,” The Avant-Garde Film: A Reader of Theory and Criticism, ed. P. Adams Sitney (New York: Anthology Film Archives, 1978), 256–7.

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