Signal Studies is an ongoing series of short audiovisual works made with very specific tools. They are based on rare (often unique), usually analogue, and often very old.  Some of them I have been lucky to get access to at specialist centres around the world, some of them I have built myself. My aim is to develop a lovingly hand made approach to electronic media, in some ways positioned in opposition to the depersonalisation that can occur through the use of AI etc.

This doesn’t reflect a backward-looking, retro or historical approach. I am interested in combining these analogue tools with contemporary digital techniques and developing my own software to help me get new things out of them, that would not have been possible when they were first developed.

Signal Study 1, seen here, was made at Signal Culture, the world’s centre for analogue video, situated in upstate New York. I have been lucky to have been offered two residencies there as part of their AIR programme, in 2018 and 2020. The visuals here were made using their Paik/Abe Raster Manipulation Unit – commonly known as the Wobbulator – first developed in the 60s and a key part of seminal video artist Nam June Paik’s visual vocabulary. Sounds were produced using a Serge modular synthesiser, also first developed in the 60s. The sounds are in many cases used to directly drive the visuals. Custom control software, developed in Max/MSP, was used to extend the variety of gestures and forms, sounds and images, possible with these tools, but what you can see and hear here is directly captured from the analogue domain without further manipulation.

This material often finds its way into other, more varied works. The second video here is a clip from my ‘signal to noise’ AV performance (more info here), where you can see this wobbulator footage layered with other material to show a different context.

See below for some images of the Signal Cuture studio, including the Wobbulator.