Follow Michael Betancourt on Twitter Facebook Fan Page

Movies by Michael Betancourt


   Digital Capitalism
   Glitch & Postdigital
   Motion Graphics
   My Movies
   Visual Music
   Watch Movies

 exhibitions [pdf]


   avant-garde movies, motion graphics, and theory

theory fragment

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 30, 2009 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The accumulation and preservation of information has been a fundamental condition of human society throughout its entire history; to a lesser or greater extent, this history is coincident with the preservation, propagation and presentation of specific information sets and the paradigm-technologies they enableculture and society being simultaneously the vehicles and contaners for these specific information sets, described by the horizons they produce. Information differentials scale between the microlevel of the individual within a society in competition with other members for status, wealth, authority to groups within societies, to different paradigms jostling for dominance. The aggregate actions of each level of this construct depend on the indivdiual choices and actions of specific members whose cumulative impacts emerge at with variable coherence at different levels of organization. Because success depends specifically on both access to relevant information, and the more specific ability to apply and employ it, the organization as a whole has an in-built bias towards the accumulation and concentration of information maximally: the baseline condition for success within such structures historically has been one determined by an information differential: those lying at the greater end of the gradient tend towards success and dominance, with those falling at the lesser end tend to fail, excluding such mediating factors as already established positions and authorities that tend to replicate themselves.


Music and Speech

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 22, 2009 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The Not Exactly Rocket Science blog covers a new paper on the links between musical intervals and speech. Interesting read, very suggestive for experimental sound work.


Technesthesia and Synaesthesia

story © Michael Betancourt | published January 9, 2009 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


There is an analogous relationship between technological translations of data from one type to another with synaesthetic responses: the transcoding of electromagnetic telemetry by Dr. Donald Gurnett is one a striking and direct examples of this type of sonification of non-sound data; however, it is also, in many ways, a non-significant transfer: the data in question are readings of wave-form encounters. The electromagnetic information produced from the Cassini mission, among others, has a long-recognized analogous relationship to sound, so the transfer from light waves to sound waves should come as no surpriseeach is a physical phenomenon whose transfer is less dramatic than the cross-modal sensory transfers familiar from synaesthesia.

read more


About "Semiotic Disobedience"

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 21, 2008 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The other side of the "culture war.

read more


Some thoughts on the Avant-Garde

story © Michael Betancourt | published August 23, 2008 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Terrorism is a terrible thing, but fortunately for most of the world, it is also very rare; "aesthetic terrorism," however, isn't. It has certain features in common with the more violent variety: a fanatical devotion to a singular, unchanging world; the need to enforce doctrine on everyone uniformly; aggressive responses to deviations; and--most importantly--an inability to recognize that alternatives to dogma not only do exist, but are also equally valid positions.

read more


Art by Machine

story © Michael Betancourt | published July 22, 2008 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Conceptual art in the 1960s appeared at the same moment when it started to become possible for artists to stop making art and instead simply direct a computeror other machineto do it for them.

read more


The Influence of Music

story © Michael Betancourt | published March 6, 2006 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


This study shows that music and images can be used to create effective propaganda.


Analyzing Abstraction

story © Michael Betancourt | published October 9, 2005 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


I have written some notes on abstraction (.pdf) that might be of interest.


Videos Cause Blindness

story © Michael Betancourt | published August 18, 2005 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Here is the full story. Strong emotions may cause short bursts of blindness!


Stationary Culture

story © Michael Betancourt | published June 7, 2005 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


Here are some questions that have been bothering me lately:

  • Why has so much technology-based culture gotten "stuck" in the 1970s? (The "best" albums for scratch, and most common samples all come from 1970s funk and disco.)

  • Does the continuous extension of copyright serve to prevent cultural innovation by allowing companies to continually recycle older creations where each new issue is essentially all profit, instead of funding new work?

  • Since 1950, a great deal of both high and popular culture are simply recycling earlier innovations: what is causing this cycle?