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archives begin in 1996


Ideology and Synchronization

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 27, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

research: VISUAL MUSIC

Synchronization implicitly expresses an ideological conception of reality through its apparent resemblance to our everyday experiences: it renders whatever appears on-screen as a neutral fact. The apparently autonomous connection of sound::image::text in both varieties of direct synchronization, naturalistic and illustrative, acts as a demonstration that transfigures underlying ideo-cultural belief into immanence. Realist construction descends from naturalistic synchronization. This recreation of the appearance of everyday life (re)produces the phenomenal world as it appears to our senses; the realism created seems to lack articulation and construction, instead offering itself as an artifact, similar to the idea of the trace or footprint that define the photographic image for film theorists such as Andr Bazin or Stanley Cavell. The experiences of everyday life are the foundational reference point for all varieties of synchronization, but the two direct varieties explicitly create claims about the true nature of the worldwhatever that might meanat it most basic the immediate construction of reality through formal statements of audio-visual linkage, of voice to an image of someone speaking, creates the statement that the voice heard belongs to the person speaking; lip-sync is the underlying formal relationship for all statements emergent in synchronization and their superficially autonomous realism.

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On Synchronization in Movies

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 27, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

research: VISUAL MUSIC

Interpreting motion pictures depends on the syntactic organization that synchronization provides via audio-visual statements that allow the parsing of a movie into distinct sections governed by past experience. All the various methodologies and aesthetic approaches of visual music fit within a spectrum where the link of sound::image increases in complexity as it moves away from direct synchronization. The two variables that define this audio-visual syntax are what provides the sync-point, and when that sync-point occurs in relation to earlier/later sync-points in both sound and image tracks. Direct and counterpoint synchronization are distinguished by the proximity and distance between audible sync-points. The visual sync-points of motion on-screen, duration of the shot/music, chiaroscuro dynamics within the frame, (or a combination of all three), complemented by a second set of audible sync-points, the most basic being the appearance of a sound (as in the lip-sync of direct synchronization). The others, used in counterpoint synchronization all emerge over time, rather than being an immediately apparent connection: the beat, musical phrasing, or instrumental performance. These audible sync-points connect with the same set of visual sync-points, enabling the audience to identify the emergent statement of counterpoint as part of a continuum of synchronized links of sound::image that orients the soundtrack and the visuals:

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The Paradox of Agency - New Article!

story © Michael Betancourt | published December 5, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


CTheory has posted my new article, "The Paradox of Agency," that describes the new alienation we all live within: created by automation, this alienation masquerades as a liberating force enabling fluid forms of identity/action/being in the digital society, but if and only if we accept the limited range of constraints generated by the digital systems builders. A new, contemporary alienation originates from within this affective surplus of agency created by digital systems. Any action or behavior not contained by this structural preconception is designated as invalidrendered impossible through a technology that transforms the social restrictions into instrumentalities that cannot be questioned. The limits of this freedom are immediately apparent in the situation of gig workers (such as on-demand labor) whose work is managed by autonomous systems. The separation of action from result by the aura of the digital reveals this alienation in the paradoxical dispersal of efficacy and immediacy of control.

Agnotology wins (as always)

story © Michael Betancourt | published November 9, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print


The problem posed by a dominant regime of agnotology is that it makes challenges to established patterns of thought difficult if not impossible: the affect of agnotology, perversely, is a reinforcement of certainty since it undermines alternatives that could challenge those ideas; thus, it leads to an unwillingness to compromise, and an inflexibility of thoughtboth essential features of how digital capitalism is an ideological construction capable of governing what would otherwise appear as incompatible, mutually exclusive groups.

Generative Color and Time Displacement

story © Michael Betancourt | published September 7, 2016 | permalink | TwitThis Digg Facebook StumbleUpon  |  Print

movies: NEWS & REVIEWS

OtherZine 31 is running my discussion of using digital tools to create a movie with the same kind of RGB-based generative color used by Len Lye in Rainbow Dance .