[May 9-11] David Linton: the bicameral research ‘Cortical Degausser’

The Cortical Degausser is a site-specific Intermedia installation in which visitors experience pulsating harmonic bands of colored light “Flicker” and synchronous sound “Drone” ( both generated from a fundamental frequency range of 10-15 Hz ) delivered via video signal that is in turn mediated by parabolic diffusion screens.

[May 9-11] David Linton: the bicameral research ‘Cortical Degausser’ (iteration #4) sound and light (video) installation

David Linton
Fri May 9, 7pm Reception
Sat/Sun, May 10/11, 3-7pm Installation

Location: Harvestworks 596 Broadway, #602 | New York, NY 10012 | Phone: 212-431-1130
Subway: F/M/D/B Broadway/Lafayette, R Prince, 6 Bleecker

The Cortical Degausser is a site-specific Intermedia installation in which visitors experience pulsating harmonic bands of colored light “Flicker” and synchronous sound “Drone” ( both generated from a fundamental frequency range of 10-15 Hz ) delivered via video signal that is in turn mediated by parabolic diffusion screens. The immersive relational environment thus established stimulates neurological mechanisms within each viewer’s own visual cortex triggering the spontaneous display of self animating geometric patterns which appear to hover in space in front of the subject’s field of vision with eyes either open or closed.

The Bicameral Research ‘Cortical Degausser’ refers to a series of related site specific installations realized since an inaugural residency at the Clocktower Gallery in the Fall of 2011 where it was shown in it’s 1st iteration. The version installed at Harvestworks this May will constitute it’s 4th iteration. While all ‘Degaussers’ work with same basic materials – pulsating audio visual flicker in the range of 10 to 20 Hrz – no two ‘Iterations’ are identical pertaining to site specific aspects… The Harvestworks ‘iteration’ will take advantage of the multichannel audio architecture of the installation site to expand the generative mono analog pulsating signal (on which the work is based) via a realtime digital (audio) signal processing chain to result in an unprecedented re-spatialization of the audio element reinforcing the cinematic ‘phantom ride’ aspect of the visual immersion associated with residual flicker induced ‘self animating’ visual cortex artifacts… 

BIO

lintonlargeDavid Linton (born Newburgh NY 1956) is a Temporal Media artist traveling the vectors of sound, light, subculture, media ontology, and signal flow. Since his arrival upon the downtown NYC experimental arts scene at the end of the 1970’s Linton has consistently sustained a multi-faceted reputation as an innovative and influential collaborator as well as a driven solo performer over the course of this 30+ year period. With his arrival in NYC as a hi energy punk era trap set drummer with attitude to spare – after his mid 70’s student days devoted to exploring experimental film under the primary formative if unsettling influence of american avant gard legend Ken Jacobs – Linton rapidly developed an innovative personalized approach to producing hybrid musical/sound scores for the many collaborative dance, theater, & performance contexts his life in the downtown milieu of the day provided (realizing notable and in some cases award winning works with ‘punk’ ballet diva Karole Armitage and theatrical art stars the Wooster Group for example… all the while maintaining his stride as a drummer “in demand”. Within this decade filled with a good deal of touring and recording percussion work among fellow musicians: Lee Ranaldo, Rhys Chatham , Glenn Branca, Elliott Sharp, Zeena Parkins and others – he would soon become equally well known for high energy improvised solo performances on his hand built early hybrid electro-acoustic drum kit upon which he would erect spectacular spontaneous architectural monoliths from piecemeal slabs of analog sound triggered in time by each and every contact miked drum hit – as well as for his marginally more relaxed & explorative soundscape productions usually rendered to tape for theatrical playback . In 1986 a studio expansion of his live drum/trigger approach led to an elite edition solo Lp “Orchesography” (issued on vinyl only for Glenn Branca’s “Neutral Records” label) which delivered an unlikely collusion of distorted classical motifs, street beats, & slabs of early sampling tek noise – all intermingling in a context derived from the theatrical post modernism indigenous to the downtown arts environment of the day – to a not yet entirely ‘tuned in’ public.

By the turn of the decade Linton felt compelled to move on – leaving the drum kit and physical percussion behind – to explore new tools… By 1990 David had for the most part withdrawn from performing in the live percussion vein to concentrate on the vocabulary of entirely electronic music and the resultant paradigm shift in performance priorities that this new ‘compressed’ format demanded. *With a couple of notable exceptions: In 1991 David briefly took up sticks to attend to percussion duties required by Diamanda Galas’ Plague Mass as incarnated at the Cathedral of St John the Divine, NYC and subsequently recorded and released by Mute records * Once a drummer always a drummer… yet it was the technologically mediated aspect that had deeply insinuated itself in Linton’s work over the course of it’s first decade which was destined to stay nearest at hand in the core of all subsequent work.

Throughout the 90’s Linton became an ever more dedicated advocate for the expansion and appreciation of realtime performance in electronic media through the production & design of (often ‘underground’) event/environments such as ‘SoundLab’ (1996) and eventually ‘UnityGain’ (1997-2008). From 2001 Linton’s fascination with instantaneous collaborative audio visual communication among select units of electronic sound and projection artists assumed the form of a live experimental television Manhattan cable TV/webcast project – UGTV – Unitygain Television (2001-2004) – for which he was the curating producer/ director working in conjunction with DCTV (downtown community television center) and MNN (manhattan neighborhood network) and a crew of graduate design students from the Parson’s School of Design ‘digital’ department to present live in studio performances from some the finest electronic innovators on the NY audio visual scene mixed live to cable TV uplink…

While this period proved to provide fertile ground for imminent development in areas that had remained dormant in Linton’s work – primarily those dealing with visuality in conjunction with aurality – it did for some time deflect his energy vector as a solo performer in favor of the more organizational role of curator / director / producer while at the same time allowing for some new growth and focus upon overall design parameters that would soon prove to be useful in the next phase of his own realtime media based Art.

In 2003 David was invited to curate the Roulette Mixology Festival which convened at the Performing Garage in June… this proved to be a concentrated who’s who of the NYC multimedia arts of the day…

By 2004 David had embarked upon his present course with the launch of his first solo audio-visual project. Having by this time tired of the reductive micro clime of the digital audio work process Linton was drawn back to the basic energies of analog processes via a simple hack he devised to cross patch analog audio and video signals driven by sine tone oscillators combined within closed circuit rescan feedback loop… This primitive hack formed the basis of a system he would soon develop into a quite effective live performance vehicle which he christened “the bicameral research sound & projection system” Some history of the project can be found here:

With his “Bicameral Research Sound & Projection System” (2004) Linton has aimed to make vibrational wave induced perceptual energy states manifest via the deployment of interconnected proportional measures of electric sound & pulsing light in live action with hand manipulated objects in physical (live camera) space. Employing an integrated recursive audio & video feedback system of his own perversely simple design modulated by freehand intervention he delivers a vigorous eye, ear, and – sometimes – body shaking realtime audio visual performance from which a kind of retro-tech animist ritual “medicine show” emerges where subject and object blur. Thematically David likes to consider that within the 20th Century 60 Hz alternating electrical current gradually came to function as a primary subliminal Prana in the mass bio-energetic body/culture of human life in North America…

Indeed many of Linton’s live performances in recent years have featured guest musicians intoning on top of the line buzz of the NTSC video standard commenced under the title “60Hz Raga”. When combined with the fundamental subharmonic visual ‘Flicker’ rate we have the raw material of Linton’s “Cortical Degausser” installation.

Linton’s Cortical Degausser Installations are a distillation of forces explored in his Live Performance work. The Cortical Degausser is a site-specific Intermedia installation in which visitors experience pulsating harmonic bands of colored light Flicker and generative synchronous sound Drone ( in a fundamental frequency range of 10 to 20 Hz ) delivered via video signal that is in turn mediated by diffusion screens refracting the video information back into the realm of pure Light. The immersive relational environment thus established stimulates neurological mechanisms within the viewer’s own visual cortex that trigger the spontaneous display of self animating geometric patterns which appear to hover in space in front of the subject’s field of vision even with eyes open.

Recently quite a bit of new information has been accruing around the subject of Flicker and the neurological and cultural implications of the geometric patterns and forms it induces in almost all ‘normal’ human subjects.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed