Paik's synth

Discussion of modular and standalone video generating/processing techniques and associated hardware.

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pinknoise
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Paik's synth

Post by pinknoise » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:28 pm

Here's a teaser from the Nam June Paik exhibit at the American Art Museum:

Image

Sorry about the poor quality, it's a cell phone pic of a poster -- but it's a really interesting exhibition! :tu: And it's there until August...

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samn
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Post by samn » Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:36 pm

They have it in his book "The worlds of Nam Jun Paik" its banana cables and im jealous of that :sadbanana:

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lizlarsen
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Post by lizlarsen » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:05 pm

Looks like a second revision Videolab! I'm still restoring my 1st revision one.

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Post by smrl » Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:56 pm

I also spot a JVC KM-2500

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Dirty_Bill
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Post by Dirty_Bill » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:10 pm

samn wrote:They have it in his book "The worlds of Nam Jun Paik" its banana cables and im jealous of that :sadbanana:
...must be the Berkeley CA influence!

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daverj
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Post by daverj » Thu Mar 21, 2013 11:25 pm

Yeah, that is an EAB VideoLab series 2 designed and built by the late Bill Hearn in Berkeley. They were in a lot of schools and artist studios.

Image

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Post by mmelnick » Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:45 am

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Post by Dirty_Bill » Fri Mar 22, 2013 9:46 am


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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet » Fri Mar 22, 2013 10:50 am

I had a friend back in the 80's who took a class from NJP and as part of the class they all made video synthesizers. I did a bunch of stuff with him. I did oscillograms with my 2 Synthi ASKs and he would aim 3 or four B&W Sony cameras at the scope and run the VS. If I remember correctly it was fairly basic. It had 8 channels of input from the cameras and each channel had it's own chroma key with upper and lower thresholds and a dial to change the color to anything you wanted it to be. There were also inversion controls and some other stuff. The main thing is it would sync all the cameras to a tape deck if you wanted one as a source too. He had a bunch of Sony reel-to-reel video recorders and he would set up the video equivalent of Frippertronics with them (running tape between decks a couple of feet from each other). Lots of controlled video feedback too. Nothing like what can be done today but I remember it was very colorful but "softer" than most of the stuff you see today. Even the keying had a dial-able soft edge to it IIRC. Fun times!
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pinknoise
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Post by pinknoise » Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:45 pm

This is awesome. :sb: Thanks for the additional info -- way more detail than the Smithsonian provided. I was wondering if he built that or if he sourced it from somewhere else.

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daverj
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Post by daverj » Thu Apr 11, 2013 4:03 pm

Nam June wasn't an engineer. The stuff he did build in the early days was very simplistic (and dangerous). In the 1960s he would wrap large coils of wire around the deflection coils of TVs and plug those coils into the wall. This caused massive electromagnetic fields that caused the raster do fly around the screen wildly. It also generated a lot of heat, so there were some melted coils and sparks on more than one occasion.

He also did a lot with placing large permanent magnets on top of TVs to cause large deflections of the raster. But those weren't electrical at all.

There was one piece of technology he was directly involved in, though more conceptually than engineering-wise. It was a device bult by an engineer from Japan named Shuya Abe, under the supervision of Nam June. The first one was built at the Experimental Television Center, with Abe hunched over the workbench and Nam June alternating between sleeping and vacuuming (Abe had a thing about dust). The device became known as the Paik-Abe Video Synthesizer, or PAVS.

Abe built a number of additional ones for Nam June after returning to Japan. I think there were maybe about a dozen ever made. The TV Center (and it's director Ralph Hocking) have three of them.

They were based around a Sony color encoder board from a Sony 3-tube color camera. Abe added special circuitry that mixed 7 external video signals through special amps that caused distortions to the signals and then mixed them to the RGB of the encoder. I modified the ones at the TV Center with rotary switches so that you could select different color combinations for each input instead of the fixed relationship each input originally had.

Image

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revmutt
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Post by revmutt » Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:39 pm

Now as a module something like this would be a lot of fun.
I am assuming there are numerous legal and technical reasons why it can't be done but the idea is thought provoking.
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Post by ndkent » Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:10 pm

At the Paik show at the Guggenheim some years back they had the video synth Abe made, though just on display

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Dirty_Bill
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Post by Dirty_Bill » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:41 am

daverj wrote:Nam June wasn't an engineer. The stuff he did build in the early days was very simplistic (and dangerous). SNIP
True. And his inspiration resulted in me getting my first zap from a flyback transformer, trying to dangle strong magnets around a CRT.

I find the strength of his work more in a conceptual piece like "TV Bra" than in any piece of hardware...

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Dirty_Bill
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Post by Dirty_Bill » Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:41 am

Double Post.

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theremin
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Post by theremin » Wed Jun 05, 2013 11:02 pm

Last week. There was Mr. S.Abe's study meeting in Waseda University of Tokyo.
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daverj
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Post by daverj » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:48 am

That's very cool. It's great to see he's still playing around with this stuff.

The last time I hung out with Shuya was probably in the late 70s at ETC in Binghamton, NY. (before we moved to Owego) He was probably delivering the P.A.V.S. in the picture I posted earlier in the thread.

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Post by snufkin » Thu Jun 06, 2013 5:37 am

AMAZING !

can I use the photos for ma blog ? @theremin
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wcfields
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Post by wcfields » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:00 pm

Is there anything special that the Videolab does that can't be done with the current offerings from LZX/Jones/Brownshoes/..... ?
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Post by nickciontea » Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:04 pm

i think so..

At the moment. soft keying? prolly some others. the key matrices seems to be something that Liz talked about enjoying while she has been studying/rebuilding hers. So I assume there is some substantial difference there

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