VinylVideo

"VinylVideo" is an art project by Gebhard Sengmüller. It was shown in the exhibition of DEAF98.

VinylVideo

Gebhard Sengmüller: VinylVideo (installation view)

VinylVideo is a reconstruction of an omission in media history: the storage of moving images on a conventional vinyl record. These records are played on a standard turntable and the signals are then processed by a 'Black Box' into a video signal that is displayed on a black and white TV-set. This collaboration of analogue and digital elements results in low-definition images. Visitors can select an VinylVideo LP, play it on the turntable, sit back in a comfortable atmosphere and enjoy the missing link in media-archaeology. Video-artists Geert Mul, Vuk Cosic and Alexej Shulgin are invited as guest for this project.

VinylVideo is an invention by Gebhard Sengmüller and Onlineloop (Günter Erhart, Martin Diamant), represented by BestBefore.


Text from The Art of the Accident

BestBefore, Onlineloop and DEAF98 are proud to present to you the top-of-the-line, cutting-edge technology of VinylVideo™. VinylVideo™ is based on the high-performance and totally user-friendly-trashpeg technology which Onlineloop have developed after three years of intensive research. This technology allows video data to be transformed into sounds and then pressed onto normal long-playing records. With our VinylVideo™ home kit, this output is reconverted into film images which you can then conveniently view on your home TV set.

VinylVideo™ is a fake media archeology. A discontinuity in the development of electronic film technology constitutes the historical background for this video disc technology: Even though television, the electronic transmission of moving images, had been feasible since the late 1920s, storage of these images became possible only after the development of the video recorder in 1958. Recording images for private use did not become available until the mass introduction of the VCR in the early 1980s (!). Before this, the average consumer was confined to using Super-8 film, a technology dating back to 1900, usually without sound. Recording of television programmes was not possible at all.

VinylVideo™ reconstructs a home movie technology of the late 40's/early 50's and thus bridges a gap in the history of consumer technology. The images are stored on a conventional analogue record, with a running time of ca. 12 minutes per side. These records are played on a standard turntable with an ordinary diamond needle, the signals are then processed by a "Black Box" into a videosignal that is displayed on a black and white TV-set.

Lack of bandwidth poses the main problem for the mechanical storage of film on a record: Unlike TV with a bandwidth of 3-5 Megahertz, LP's hardly provide capacity for 1/200 of this, ca. 25 Kilohertz. To accomplish the storage of film, radical data reduction has to be used. For VinylVideo™, the number of frames per second and resolution were drastically reduced, storage of color is not possible. But this is not enough: switching from frequency modulation, that delivers stable signals but takes up a lot of bandwidth, to amplitude modulation results in additional data reduction. The downside of this is a loss in the quality of the stored images, the pictures become more sensitive to disturbances, like imperfections of the LP. The difference in quality can be compared to the difference between FM and AM radio broadcasting, the latter being much more sensitive to interferences. Instead of building a circuit based on vacuum tubes, VinylVideo™ uses a computer program for real-time processing of the video data.

VinylVideo™ is presented on a home entertainment unit with integrated turntable and television tube. The visitors may select among available video discs and enjoy the new medium in a relaxed atmosphere. VinylVideo™ also supplies VJs (video jockeys) for the first time with the possibility of real video scratching. This means that it is possible to jump around in the visual material simply by moving the turntable1s pickup, and the picture can be manipulated by changing the record1s speed. Furthermore, the video discs can be played on a regular audio turntable, which results in interesting acoustic signals - especially when played at an extremely reduced speed -, caused by the constantly changing visual content.

Records available:

vv rec.no. 02 Heimo Zobernig - avoidance
vv rec.no. 03 Oliver Hangl - sky is the limit
vv rec.no. 04 Annika Eriksson - three possibilities, sometimes i want to be somebody else
vv rec.no. 05 Monoscope - feat. Jürgen Moritz, Norbert Pfaffenbichler
vv rec.no. 06 Harry Hund - guinea pig massacre
vv rec.no. 07 Visomat Laboric: Loops (music selection: Paul Paulun)
vv rec.no. 08 Cut-Up (Geert Mul): Visual Breakbeats for D/VJ'S (18 loops for visual scratch breaks) & City At Night on Vinyl
vv rec.no. 09 Vuk Cosic and Alexej Shulgin: ASCII Video meets Cyberpunk Rock Band 386 DX

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