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Stephen Beck, Artist & Inventor, Berkeley

Photons, Electrons, Icons and Phonons: Materials and Makings of Pre- and Post-Digital Art




March 1, 2006; 60 Minutes; Video

This presentation is dedicated to Nam June Paik, who passed on to that great cathode ray tube in the sky on January 30, 2006, at the age of 73.

Steve Beck postulates that we are entering a "post-digital" era in which tools for image making, sound, music, and communications are mature and ubiquitous. How do we use these tools wisely, and what might be their implications and consequences? What becomes of visual language, sensory and optimal perception? Will diffusion of analog motifs result? For Beck, creative necessity propels artistic realizations and explorations via hybrid electronic technologies.

Steve Beck's artistic and technical innovations in luminous, dynamic, emitted light span his transformation from the analog world of the 1960's to today. Beck's work has investigated visual tools and visual language, archetypal modalities, internal imagery, spiritual technology and compositional structures in video, music, animation, light sculptures and games.

Beck will show examples from his body of work, ranging from early electronic neon sculptures with the 1968 charter Chicago chapter of Experiments in Art and Technology, to video compositions such as "Union," an allegorical portrayal of internal bodily energies, and performances of "Illuminated Music" created on his invention, the Beck Direct Video Synthesizer. He'll also present studies of dynamic, magic square color matrix sequencing in Video Weavings, analog video fractals in a music video for Jimi Hendrix, Ambient Video sculptures created in Japan, and recent HDTV "Solaris Series" Videon video painting studies of real time variant, dynamic atmospheric optical colorations of Pacific Coast sunsets and sunrises.