Friday, March 18, 2016

Wrinkles in Time Travel

When I talk about the Creatures of Yes being set in 1979, I don't' mean exactly 1979. I'm not trying to adopt all the exact fashions of that specific year. I think of 1979 as more of a stoping place; a somewhat arbitrary number that seemed (technologically and stylistically) a good place to stop. Because 1979 isn't just that year, it encompasses every year that came before it.

I was recently doing a puppet show at an elementary school upstate. The auditorium / gymnasium was straight out of the 1950s (maybe earlier). Nothing had been changed. It was a perfectly functional time capsule! They made announcements (the lunch menu, a weather report, the pledge of allegiance and the joke of the day) over an intercom from that era and it was delightful. If I was experiencing this sort of time travel in 2016, imagine what points they were still hitting in 1979 - probably back to the 1800s! Of course, we can still see the 1800s and even further back today, in a museum, but I'm talking about accidentally stumbling upon another time, by magic!

This sort of time travel magic doesn't always have to be accidental though, if you know what you're doing you can conjure it. The difference between an exhibit of the past and time travel magic is that the real stuff has life and is functional still.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Obsolete Technology

I always think it's strange when people say something is obsolete - when it still works just fine! Or, there is a wonderful, aesthetic reason for using it. How can an artistic medium be obsolete?

Growing up I was very interested in analog music synthesizers, which at the time (the mid 90's, and the midwest) were considered obsolete. Some people would listen to my tapes with a sympathetic ear, but could only allow themselves to hear it in a retro or quaint context. I always wondered why the technology of guitars was able to be frozen in time at it's best, but synthesizers always had to be progressing. I think, in the dominion of synthesizers, the voltage controlled oscillator is akin to guitar strings. You would never get rid of guitar strings in favor of new technology, that would be absurd.

Well, it seems the rest of the world has come around to my thinking in regards to analog synthesizers (I'm way ahead of my time). But the visual equivalent, CRT video, is still banished to the land of the obsolete. Film = piano strings (it's so classic bring it back!), CRT video = analog synthesizers (it's not hi-def enough! get rid of it!), digital = digital (the end of all things). We'll just have to wait and see what happens.

But would I even care about any of this stuff if there was no grain to push against? ...YES!