Green River Blues

Green River Blues

Green River Blues is the title of the first compilations of ETC work I created in 1981 - 82; it is also the title of the first piece in the series. At that point I was distributing compilation tapes, usually 20 to 30 minutes in length. The problem in creating digital versions now is that there were several compilations with the title Green River Blues, and all were different. The same goes for the next compilation called Video Haiku. To make it more confusing, Video Haiku and and Green River Blues both had some of the same pieces on them, and they included work from Suicide Blues (now Lonesome Blues). It made sense, few people saw these compilations, why not keep showing the best work, and as new better work was created the compilations evolved. What made this mess possible, and this was a bit insane, to maintain best quality, each compilation I edited from scratch thereby distributing second generation tape. And this is also why many of these clips are so beaten up, stretched and full of drop-out.

What I have done here is to divide the work properly into 3 compilations. Green River Blues for work from 4 Experimental Television Center sessions spanning December 1981 to March 1982. Lonesome Blues pulls from one ETC session: September 1982. Video Haiku includes work from 3 ETC sessions spanning November 1982 through May 1983.



This version of Green River Blues includes the following segments:

Green River Blues
Bridge and Street
untitled #7
Beater (#18)
Interactive Analog

This cut is abbreviated. Green River Blues originally also included work from August '81, September '81, and February '82, none of which is seen here. Either fortunately or unfortunately, I have yet to digitize those tapes, and now likely never will. The tape from September '81 is not in my possession.  

These were my first residencies at the Experimental Television Center and some of the themes and work here continued from what I had done as an undergraduate at SUNY Binghamton. It was in school that I first started making charcoal videos. It was also as an undergraduate that I shot the roll with Caleb (the source for the portrait that ends this series). 

This cut is 7:23, rather than the more typical 20 to 30 minutes, and presents work in the order they were created, with the exception of Caleb which was the first piece found on these source tapes. Caleb is a sequencer piece. It's one of the only pieces here where sound is not directly related to the image. The film was shot on a 16mm Bolex and the trick to that experiment was shooting single shot with long exposures, as in holding the shutter open with my finger, while zooming the variable focal length lens once for each frame shot. Green River Blues, and Bridge and Street, like so many pieces made at the ETC make use of the windows. After moving to Owego, the ETC was in a building that sat adjacent to the Susquehanna River. Untitled #7 and Beater (#18) represent most of what was created in these sessions, video using oscilator patterns and interrelated synthesized sound. Interactive Analog is another sequencer piece, here mixing a charcoal gesture with an analog construction. Most all of this work uses the Jones colorizer (v1) and keyer, the ETC yellow audio synths, and my red paneled modular audio synthesizer for sound, control and image generation. Those pieces with a digital layer used the Cat Frame Buffer, an early S100 buffer that was installed at the ETC at that time. Beater, and to some extent Interactive Analog, made use of the wobulator.