PROCESS AND META PROCESS

The exhibition includes nine separate works. A series of information environments will fill all four of the Everson's upper galleries, and a video tape retrospective will be shown in the video gallery.

 

Between Paradigms (Published by Gordon and Breach, 1973): A mythological text connecting classical modes of thought with systems theory and cybernetic principles.

 

Video tape retrospective: A series of video tapes will be shown in the video gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition. The retrospective ranges from 1968 through 1973,

 

 

1. Track/Trace: Three television cameras record and transmit the contents of the gallery to a matrix of 15 television monitors arranged in the face of a tetrahedron. A switcher changes images every eight seconds. One television monitor is mounted at the apex, two televisions are mounted on the second row down, and so on to the bottom row, which contains five monitors.

 

A television camera pointed at the observer feeds a "live" real-time image to the single apex monitor. The image is delayed three seconds and then replayed on the second row. It is then delayed an additional three seconds (a total of six seconds) and replayed on the third row. The process continues until the bottom, or fifth row, displays the original image 12 seconds after it appeared on the top monitor. These images, and those from two other television cameras placed in the environment, are alternated on the monitors. All 15 monitors feedback their contents simultaneously.

 

Track/Trace incorporates the audience as content. The viewer becomes the information, which he receives both in real time and in four layers of delayed time, so that he experiences “self" at five different periods in time, simultaneously; and from three different points in space, sequentially.

 

2. Tetragrammaton Thirty television monitors are placed equidistant around a 25 foot diameter circle, in three sets often. Each set of ten is stacked to form an equilateral triangle. Six channels of video information are simultaneously displayed on the monitors, two different channels to each stack of ten. The piece is designed to immerse the audience in the processes of nature and thus surrounds the viewer with a video ecology of oceans, forests, ponds, insect life, birds, clouds and lakes. A single audio track of natural sounds unifies the work.

 

3. Terraquae: Five identical cases, nine feet high, six feet long, two feet wide, are positioned down the center of the gallery. A television camera is mounted at the top of each case. The camera scans the contents of the cases and transmits it, in real time, to a horizontal matrix of ten monitors in the same gallery.

 

Each case houses an evolving life cycle: metabolic exchange, symbiosis, birth/growth and decay/growth. The first case contains agar, spores and bacterial molds, the second, iguanas and geraniums; the third, snails, slugs and insect larva; the fourth, tortoises and tarantulas; the fifth, shell life, crabs and crickets.

 

The processes occurring in the systems evolve and exchange at different rates. The television cameras/monitors depict these systems as information. The audience's participation of both levels produces a third, or meta-level.

 

4. Subterranean Field: Along the wall of the gallery, a closed environment, six feet high and eight feet long, houses approximately 10,000 termites and cherry wood veneers. The termites devour the thin sheets of wood, creating random patterns. Two television cameras scan the evolving ecological process from above and transmit the information to a matrix of monitors in the same gallery.

 

5. Integration Matrix: Ten monitors display the information from Track/Trace  Gestation/Growth, Subterranean Field and Terraquae. This integration of information from the different ecological systems exposes the differences and similarities between the systems. The nature of these differences and similarities, and their permutations, is the primary theme of the show.

 

5. Gestation/Growth: At the center of the gallery an 18 foot diameter geodesic dome is connected to an incubator. Each day a row of eggs hatches and the chicks enter the dome to grow. The environment continues for 21 days, the gestation period of a chicken.

 

Two scanning television cameras translate the birth/growth process into information via closed circuit television. The images are displayed on a matrix of monitors in an adjacent gallery. The processes inside this environment are both discontinuous and continuous; i.e., eggs evolving into chickens, and the growth of chickens into maturity.

 

Although the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse has exhibited the works of many video artists in the past, the recent month-- long exhibition devoted to artist/theoretician Frank Gillette was the first time any Museum has used its entire facility to display the works of a single artist working in video . Gillette's exhibition at the Everson was held between May 19 and June 18,1973 .

 

Gillette gained recognition as an early maker of 1/2" video tapes, as the co-founder of Raindance, and as a lecturer and author of Between Paradigms, a mythological text connecting classical modes of thought with systems theory and cybernetic principles. His exhibition at the Everson included a videotape retrospective and a series of unique information environments which incorporated television as one of their elements.

 

Gillette believes that the traditional perception of man as separate from and superior to nature has provided an ideological basis which encourages technology to ravage nature and thus threaten man. The Everson environments juxtapose biological and technological processes and suggest that man, nature and technology are all parts of a unity. Television is used as one of the new references which re-relates these elements; because Gillette uses its processes (rather than just its images) as a com-positional element, he augments the definition of its scope and purpose.

 

Many of his environments, such as Track/Trace, Gestation/Growth  Subterranean Field and Terraquae consist of closed ecological systems which are scanned by television cameras and fed back on monitors as information. Thus the spectator is able to experience the actual process, as well as the televised information of the process; his participation in both produces a third, or meta-level.

 

Each of these environments possess different characteristics. In Gestation/Growth chicken eggs hatch and the chicks grow to maturity; thus the processes inside the environment are both discontinuous and continuous. In Subterranean Field termites eat random patterns in wood veneers. In Terraquae five separate closed environments depict various ecological processes, such as metabolic exchange, symbiosis, birth/death, decay/growth . In Track/Trace a pyramid of monitors displays the contents of a Museum gallery so that the viewer experiences himself as in-formation, both in real and delayed time and from different points in space. 

 

The televised information from all the different systems is displayed on a single Integration Matrix, in which the viewer can explore the nature of the similarities and differences of the various systems.

 

In the remaining work, Tetragrammaton 30 television monitors are placed equidistant around a 25 foot diameter circle in three sets of ten. Each stack receives two different channels of video information, creating a multi-screen triangle of moving images. In all six channels of video information surround the viewer with images outside the gallery: oceans, forest, ponds, birds and clouds, and a single audio track unifies the work.

 

The Everson has published a comprehensive catalogue of the exhibition, which includes articles by James Harithas and David Ross of the Everson, as well as the text of a Willoughby Sharp interview of Frank Gillette, an illustrated description of the video tape retrospective, and an extensive description of the pieces in the exhibition. The 44 page catalogue contains numerous pictures and illustrations and is available from the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse, N.Y.

 

James Harithas, Director, Everson Musuem of Art

Tetragrammaton:

 

Thirty television monitors are placed equidistant around a 25 foot diameter circle, in three sets of ten. Each set of ten is stacked to form an equilateral triangle. Six channels of video information are simultaneously displayed on the monitors two different channels to each stack of ten.

Terraquae:

 

 

Five identical cases, nine feet high, six feet tong, two feet wide, are positioned down the center of the gallery. A television camera is mounted at the top of each case. The camera scans the contents of the cases and transmits it, in real time, to a horizontal matrix of ten monitors in the same gallery.

 

Each case houses an evolving life cycle: metabolic exchange, symbiosis, birth/growth and decay/growth. The first case contains agar, spores and bacterial molds; the second, iguanas and geraniums; the third, snails, slugs and insect larva; the fourth, tortoises and tarantulas; the fifth, shell life, crabs and crickets .

 

The processes occurring in the systems evolve and exchange at different rates. The television cameras/

monitors depict these systems as information. The audience's participation of both levels produces a third, or meta-level.

Integration Matrix:

 

Ten monitors display the information from Track/Trace, Gestation/Growth, Subterranean Field and Terraquae. This integration of information from the different ecological systems exposes the differences and similarities between the systems.

Gestation/Growth:

 

At the center of the qallery an 18 foot diameter geodesic dome is connected to an incubator. Each day a row of eggs hatches and the chicks enter the dome to grow. The environment continues for 21 days, the gestation period of a chicken. Two scanning television cameras translate the birth/growth process into information via closed circuit television. The images are displayed on a matrix of monitors in am adjacent gallery. The processes inside this environment are both discontinuous and continuous; i.e. eggs evolving into chickens, and the growth of chickens into maturity.

Subterranean Field:

 

Along the wall of the gallery, a closed environment, six feet high and eight feet long, houses approximately 10,000 termites and cherry wood veneers. The termites devour the thin sheets of wood, creating random patterns. Two television cameras scan the evolving ecological process from above and transmit the information to a matrix of monitors in the same gallery.