Browsing articles in "Music Video"
Apr 20, 2017

The wreck of former boundaries (music video)


This is a music video I made that features the electronic version of Aaron Cassidy‘s The wreck of former boundaries (“The wreck of former boundaries (2014-15) for fixed media 5.1-channel electronics”).

I asked Aaron if he wouldn’t mind sitting down with me while I filmed him. I didn’t know what I would make, but felt like I had enough kernal thoughts/feelings at the time that something not hollow would happen. I was sitting in a talk he was giving about his new work, and as he played this piece, I was struck by how he listened. That’s when it became clear to me that I needed to capture both of these things: his words and his listening. The rest of my ideas would hang on this as the material, or this would be the material through which I’d look into those things.  

This is the first thing I made out of that material: A music video.

For the most part, his reactions in the video are in sync with the sounds he’s hearing. It was important to me to preserve that. However, there are some time-stretch manipulations, and in just a few cases I cut in footage from other moments as necessary band-aids in the editing process. I also manipulated the footage in order to assist you in seeing what I see. I tried to do this as unobtrusively and subtly as possible.

It’s also worth mentioning that we ran through the piece only once. While I am very familiar with the piece (having listened to it many times leading up to this shoot) I felt it important to improvise the lighting direction. I have an almost metaphysical trust in improvisation, and enjoy the process of being in that kind of heightened state of awareness.

David Pocknee and Susie Green were my assistants on that day.
Susie helped with the gear and play-back audio,
and David helped me as a light operator, and by recording the interview’s audio. 
Thanks to them, and of course thanks to Aaron for his trust in my process.

(Here you can read Aaron’s post about it on his webpage.)

May 2, 2016

[ factory ] a long rope

A living score asks you if you’re interested in realizing a work she’s the archive to.
This video is my yes.

[factory] is a proposal for collaborative performance action(s).
This video realization–“[factory] a long rope”– was created by me and  features Mira Benjamin performing sections of her own realization of [factory]. She would normally do this in live performance settings so working on this video with me was a deviation from that too.

[factory] began as a set of 22 texts written by Luke Nickel. These texts—or verbal scores—were linked by a geographical map, with each text representing an individual conceptual area or room. Luke and Mira Benjamin (the original performer) agreed upon a risky proposal: she would read the texts only once and then delete them, allowing the work to exist solely in her memory and inviting forgettings and linguistic permutations to infect the ephemeral score-object itself. Mira is now the living score for the work, voluntarily responsible for its transferral, transformation and translation.

Jun 10, 2015

for mira

As ever, for you.

Like Rod’s ‘the keys to everything that ever existed’, this piece is a rite. He is my twin, and sometimes we make art from the same place. This place in particular…we saw this place together, and things kept happening in our lives that just seemed to be the universe folding over, necessitating serendipities.


Part of a constellation falls with perfect timing.



Millie walked a dead bird into the house in her mouth and dropped it next to me. I didn’t know what I was looking at at first.


As Cassandra explains, “the music takes a short sample of Kurt Cobain’s singing voice [from the song “Where Did You Sleep Last Night” as sang on the MTV Unplugged recording] and reveals facets of its quality and structure through repetition.”

As stargazer lilies here,

Kurt Cobain On 'MTV Unplugged'

So, stargazer lilies re-cast.


A burning heart. A complete, un-compromised heart.  In the world I create, there are no fragments or missing pieces.


‘for mira’ is the telling of a story of a memory. Meaning, I now feel the distance from it’s catalyst events, and underwent the physio-alchemical act of  housing this ghost in my long-term memory. That’s what making this video finally did to me. That, or  the two things just so happened in parallel. Anyway, the end result is the same. Time resonances become more and more faint. Though as Terence McKenna said, if you pay close enough attention you can feel that Rome falls nine times an hour.

above, from Rod’s score the keys to everything that ever existed

Click here to read Cassandra’s blog post about for mira, and here to read Mira’s.

[A post I had previously made on March 13, 2015]

On March 13th I shot most of the footage for ‘For Mira‘.
It is a work performed by violinist, Mira Benjamin
and was composed by Cassandra Miller.

Making for mira into a music video opens up the possibility of exploring the piece’s repetition in a way that is unique to this medium. Cassandra, Mira, and Rodrigo are working closely to treat the final audio with that in mind.

There are still a few shots I want to get, and then of course there is the editing (which is really where the heavy lifting occurs), but here are a few production shots in the meantime while it all comes together.

Hands on deck that day: Rodrigo Constanzo, Richard Craig, Cassandra Miller, Mira Benjamin, myself.







May 16, 2015

karma~ tutorial video

– “eerily well produced promo video” -awesome programmer Sam Tarakajian (“My Good Buddy Sam“)
– “my loardddd, you guys rock!” –world famous PA Tremblay
– “The only tutorial video I’ve wanted to watch over and over again” –world famous Cassandra Miller
– “holy shitsssss DAMN! that external looks insanely awesome and the video is fucking genius!” –world famous Danishta Rivero
– “stylistically bedazzling” world famous duo David Pocknee & Michael Baldwin

This is a tutorial video I made with Rod  about karma~ (a dynamically lengthed, varispeed record/playback looper external for Max).

Here’s Rod’s blog post about it.

Jan 10, 2015

Its Fleece Electrostatic


Make sure HD is on, and if possible full-screen. It makes a difference.
Here it is on vimeo too.


Mauricio Pauly asked me to make the videos for two of his works. I thank him for his trust and belief in me, because as we excitedly talked the project over at one of his favorite in-town coffee shops, he didn’t at all hesitate when I requested I be able to approach this however I wanted.

This first piece, Its Fleece Electrostatic, is for violin, and it’s Linda Jankowska’s performance(s) edited together in this video, which I shot over a few hours on a Wednesday in early July of 2014. What follows is how I manipulated that footage over the next several months.


[In this section, I’ve tried to detail some of the technical specifics regarding the making of this video. They are the methods I cobbled together from hours of research on the internet, as well as some tid-bits from some of my excellent programmer friends. (As far as I know there isn’t a more cohesive guide. If there is PLEASE share it with me!) So now that I’ve done the leg work, I want to pass it all along so it’s easier for others to explore video making in this way. Hopefully what follows can help you in some way. I’m just showing you to the digital finger paint–now go create!]

This is the first video where I really dig into datamoshing.

I had been drawn to it for some time, but felt like it was this very mysterious thing just out of reach, just outside the realm of my understanding and technical ability. Some years prior I had found a tutorial on youtube (How To Datamosh by datamosherand while the process shown is effective and educational, I also found it prohibitively tedious. Oh my god(!) how I could not handle having to set in and out points to manually delete every “I” frame in a length of video using the un-sexiest programs, and then having to convert files back and forth just to see what I had made. There are I frames and there are P frames. I frames are a keyframe or an image whose pixels are referrenced. P frames are frames where the data just refers to the motion of the pixels in the I frames. Datamosher’s youtube videos do a good job of showing you this stuff.  So I dropped it and went on to something else. That something else was working on these specific kinds of process drawings. Here’s an example (there are other posts about them).

pattern Above: a strong sense of the pattern (all the colors of sex)
owned by Linda Jankowska

Over the time that I was making these drawings I also saw two videos which inspired me greatly. They are:  Welcome To Heartbreak by Kanye West (for it’s use of datamoshing) and Body & Blood by Clipping (for it’s use of greenscreen). Damn it! If I had to do some tedious shit to datamosh, so be it. Welcome To Heartbreak is just too cool. So I braced myself for a massive undertaking.

The time spent making these drawings acclimated me to a certain attitude about process, that I think can be misinterpretted, but best understood, as patience.

So I revisited the idea of datamoshing and after having done some research I came across another way to datamosh using a program called GoldmoshLive. It is basically a Max patch that you feed a length of video into and it fucks it up in some way. The program gives you some options, but they don’t work as described, and what they do do really isn’t that great anyway. Datamoshing means things aren’t working right anyway though, so this is really no matter. Something goes in…something, something…something fucked up comes out. Ding! However, the things you feed into it greatly impact what comes out and the correlations are largely unpredictable. All I’ll say is every adjustment of parameter altered the outcome greatly: opacity, color choices, layers, re-timing of clips, treatment of each layer, keying, filters, clip length etc. But this was a good thing! It encouraged experimentation. And through this experimentation I learned how to ride the digital dragon!

So from this point the central mechanisms for building fleece were the processes of experimentation and selection.

Early into the process however, I discovered Final Cut Pro X couldn’t handle playing a timeline with too many of these Goldmoshed (ie corrupted) clips. One night, while I was knee deep (and I mean baaaalllls deep) and had really found a good groove with it all, I imported the clip that broke the camel’s back and crashed Final Cut. When I was finally able to reopen Final Cut–cuz it had crashed my computer hard–it decided it wasn’t going to recognize the project file at all anymore. EVERYTHING up to that point, GONE. All my greenscreen footage of Linda, seemingly gone (It is not a good feeling thinking you wasted another person’s time and effort). Everything I had constructed across several timelines, gone. This was a good month of work up to this point. Final Cut took its ball and went home. My technical advisor, Rodrigo Constanzo, was away at the time (crushing it at Darmstadt), so that night we performed triage over a long distance phone call.

In the end, I lost everything I had built, but salvaged the initial footage I had shot of Linda in front of the green screen. I didn’t return to the project for a few months because I had to start again…well, not quite from zero…I had learned some things through all the experimentation I had done.

When I started up again, I worked only seconds of footage at a time (really to minimize the risk of another bad crash), in what I perceived to be the moments that make up the whole of the piece. On average building 10 seconds of footage took me 3-4 days. Nothing in the video is automated…or automatically mapped.  The decisions are mine. What I mean is, I did not give some program the specification that every time you hear a F# for instance, that the screen goes blue (that never happens anyway, but you get the idea).

While I tried to give each moment in the piece unique consideration, I’ll try to give a very general over-view. These considerations are not sequential and would be repeated throughout

+ Figure out which clips to include and which work well together as layers. Linda and I filmed for the good part of a day so I had a fair share of takes, both of individual sections and some full run-throughs.

+ Think about MOTION and COLOR

+ Consider re-timing sections (slow-motion, speed ramping, f-fwd). Was it appropriate or not? What kind of things to do?

+ Make decisions about color. Really, broad strokes stuff. I’d add layers that would normally not be seen, but datamoshing fucks things up in unexpected ways so I’d add opaque layers on top of opaque layers and experiment with the treatment of each layer just to see what would happen.I can think of this stuff in terms of painting, and I’m just blocking things in. A big brush. A wash.

+ Datamosh the shit out of that stuff. In my case using Ruby scripts or Goldmosh. Changing things so different things happen (as previously mentioned) and then choosing the things I’d feed back into the timeline to then re-export and continue this experimentation with, until the section was what I needed. Each time something got moshed and reimported it felt like I was  flattening things down. I don’t mean as in making them less complex. I mean as in cooking them. Rodrigo mentioned that a good parallel might be how Aphex Twin constructs his music. I fucking love Aphex Twin. Also it’s important to note that the first time you import a freshly Goldmoshed clip back into Final Cut it is suuuuuuper corrupted. Sometimes this looked quite cool–but is unpredictable, as I think Final Cut plays/processes that section of video anew each time it drags the playhead across that clip in the timeline. Sometimes that’s [very] good. Sometimes I wanted to lock something down and so I had to import the freshly Goldmoshed clip, export it from Final Cut, then re-import the clip, deleting the first iteration of it. This made that clip more stable. Here are a few screen shots of my timelines (even with sections already flattened–cooked–you can see the beautiful layer-braid-sausage-stacks): 007


E01 As I continued making the video for fleece, I continued researching. I came across a way to do the initial moshing I had found so tedious years earlier, using a Ruby script. Up until now, I hadn’t gotten around to that technique because Goldmosh was varied enough to keep things interesting.

But then I found AviGlitch – “A Ruby library to destroy your AVI files”.  

Perfect! What took me minutes to do before by deleting I frames manually (and god forbid I accidentally delete the first I frame, which would crash Avidemux and I’d have to start all over!), I could do with this script in seconds. I still had to convert my file into an avi file using ffmpegX, and convert the avi file back to an mp4 using Handbrake, but that tedious process that datamosher teaches us about in his youtube video is now automated. The results of doing it manually and tediously are EXACTLY the same as running this script. There are no creative decisions to be made. This is the kind of automation that grants a person freedom. It is what is good about technology.  Here is the code for that kind of I frame deletion moshing, which I simply called “mosher”:


require 'aviglitch'

avi = '/Users/Rodrigo/Desktop/tomosh.avi'
avi.glitch(:keyframe) do |data|
data.gsub(/\d/, '0')
avi.output '/Users/Rodrigo/Desktop/moshed.avi'

Ok, so here’s how to use Aviglitch: Install Aviglitch: Export a clip from Final Cut. The higher the resolution the better, but make sure you don’t export it at a resolution greater than what it was originally filmed because ffmpegX doesn’t like that and it will refuse to convert the clip (or something like that. Rather, if ffmpeg isn’t converting try exporting at different resolutions until it sticks. This is the problem 9 out of 10 times). Convert it to an avi file using ffmpegX. To do that make sure you have these settings:

+ video codec: “XviD[.AVI] (ffmpeg)”

+ audio: un-tick “encode audio”

+ select options: “High Quality”, “Two-pass encoding”, and “Decode with QT” (but UN-tick “Letterbox”) Then change the name of that avi file to “tomosh”.

Then open terminal on your computer and copy this in, making sure your file path is correct…This was mine for example:

cd /Users/Rodrigo/Dropbox/Angie/5\ DATAMOSH/RUBY

In terminal, type the name of the Ruby script you want to run. There’s the one I already typed up above, “./mosher.rb”. Then there are these bloom-ing scripts I used. You can play around and modify the code to change what it does. So this one of my blooming scripts “./bloomer.rb”. This one basically jumps around and blooms a frame referencing just another random point in the same clip. It does this to several frames so it’ll give you a variety of stuff you can then select the good stuff from. So you run, discern, select, reimport. This was my process and I loved how exciting it was because of the different things it’d spit out. You can spend sooooo much time here and it is time well spent:


require 'aviglitch'

a = '/Users/Rodrigo/Desktop/tomosh.avi'
d = []
a.frames.each_with_index do |f, i|
d.push(i) if f.is_deltaframe? # Collecting non-keyframes indices.
q = a.frames[0, 5] # Keep first key frame.
15.times do # AMOUNT OF TIMES TO RUN
x = a.frames[d[rand(d.size)], 1] # Select a certain non-keyframe.
q.concat(x * rand(120)) # HOW MANY FRAMES TO BLOOM
o = q # New AviGlitch instance using the frames.
o.output '/Users/Rodrigo/Desktop/bloomed.avi'

And this is another “.bloomerx1.rb”. This one just blooms the 5th frame of a clip, with the motion of the frames that follow it. Note: The clip used has to be at least 13 frames long. The eight frames that follow the 5th can be from a different sequence, not necessarily the continuation of that same clip. So it’s cool to look at sequences/frames and consider them in terms of the motion they’ll impose on an image/pixels of the 5th frame:


require 'aviglitch'
a = '/Users/Rodrigo/Desktop/tomosh.avi'
d = []
a.frames.each_with_index do |f, i|
  d.push(i) if f.is_deltaframe?     
q = a.frames[0, 5]                  
1.times do			    
  x = a.frames[d[10], 1]  
  q.concat(x * (200))            # HOW MANY FRAMES TO BLOOM
o = q                # New AviGlitch instance using the frames.
o.output '/Users/Rodrigo/Desktop/bloomed.avi'

After you run these things a bunch and they make some building blocks you think you can work with, you convert these avi files back to mp4 files using Handbrake. I found Handbrake sometimes fucked up the aspect ratio during conversion. This is how you fix that….(again, knowledge gained through experimentation and discovery)

+ In toggle presents make sure you have ‘High Profile’ selected

+ Then go to “Picture Settings”

+ Set anamorphic to “None”

+ Un-select “Keep Aspect Ratio”

+ Select Cropping to “Custom”

+ Change all those parameters to zero (one of these will be some other number–this is the problem!)

+ Then manually enter the width and height to match the dimensions of the original video.

So that’s how you make the building blocks–just the technical specifics. I’m going to continue to experiment with datamoshing and learn about as many different types of processes as I can.



Of course I made aesthetic decisions, large and small, all throughout. The thinking that took place on this video as I made it was thick muck. Each section, in addition to being personally deeply significant, also navigates the following relationships in specific ways depending on the section that’s being played:

+ the seen and the heard

+ artificial (recorded/looper) space vs real (air/performer) space

+ co-operative vs disruptive, or even destructive, sounds

+ the silent and the not

+ melody and texture

+ past and future

There is much I can say on each of these points, but I’ll just simply say that I’d invent new puzzles to solve, and try to solve those puzzles the most beautiful ways I could.


However, engaging in the process of making this video was different from engaging in rational, problem-solving thought. Logos. Bios. Technos. Novelty articulated via the modalities thereof. Yes, I believe in serendipity, as well as something like animism which extends itself to media. Mind in media. Life as media.

1 The Past

0.9 The stages of decay
0. 5 A small catastrophe
0.1 Shadow boxing

0 The Present

life is long and beautiful