In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • LoVid's Kiss Blink Sync Vessel
  • Kyle Lapidus (bio) and Tali Hinkis (bio)

Sound examples related to this article are available at <>.

Our video recordings and performances are abstract audiovisual compositions [End Page 44] converting electricity into intense patterns of color and noise in which image and sound are created as one entity—the video is audible and the sound visible. As a result, our performances are experienced physically and viscerally as enveloping and engaging environments. Exploring this tactile relationship with media as well as our own bodies' physical relationships with our instruments, we create sculptural analog hardware synthesizers. Our sculptural instruments elicit a cross-generational dialog with early experimentation in image processing by video artists/engineer pioneers as well as with current aesthetic pursuits within DIY and hacker culture among our contemporaries. We are interested in the evolution of media and the different goals and pursuits of these two eras.

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Fig. 17.

LoVid, Sync Armonica, 2005-2006. Clockwise from top left: detail of VCO module from Sync Armonica; Sync Armonica on display at Eyebeam, New York City, 2005; installation of Sync Armonica at Digital Salon, New York City, 2006; detail of bottom side of modules.

Photo © LoVid

Kiss Blink Sync Vessel developed from these interests and influences. It is a group of sculptural custom AV synthesizers. Peeking into a parallel world where media is tangible and emotional, the synthesizers materialize our fascination with the tension between wireless and wirefull, hi-tech and lo-fi, handmade and machine produced [1].

We began this body of work during a residency at Eyebeam in 2005, with the support of the Experimental TV Center's Finishing Funds.

Sync Armonica (Fig. 17) was designed as a modular instrument for us to use in performances, recordings and installations. The instrument has 28 multipurpose modules for sound and video, including VCAs, VCOs, VCFs, LFOs, envelope generators, sample-and-holds and a video-specific sync generator and encoder.

The modules are encased in clear acrylic tubes, which are placed inside holes in a custom-made 2-x-9-x-4-ft table. The top of each module is etched with a drawing based on video stills from recordings of the instrument's output as well as graphic signs forming a legend for each of the inputs/outputs. The name Sync Armonica reflects an analogy between the flow of water and the flow of electricity, as it is inspired by Glass Harps or Glass Armonicas—glass cups of water that are rubbed with the fingertips to produce tones. Because of the modular nature of this instrument, each composition is created within a patch; a pattern of interconnections between the different modules made using ¼-in cables. The technical construction of the patch becomes a central element of the work. We use the mass of colorful cables as an aesthetic element in the physical presence of the instruments and develop visual scores for each piece. Other recent work from this series develops the patch composition into circuit-composition works, where the connections are done internally within an electronic circuit that is hardwired to produce its particular output.

Coat of Embrace is a portable, wearable handmade AV synthesizer. Modules similar to those used in Sync Armonica were installed inside two 24-x-24-x-6-in boxes. In this version, many of the connections between the different modules are made using switches rather than exclusively through cables.

On the faces of the boxes are drawings of a monkey and a dragon, drawing inspiration from medieval coats of arms based on visual symbols and codes that retell family stories.

Glome Mountain is an installation in which our AV synthesizer expands into a room-sized object. The piece was created for Lumen's Evolution Festival in Leeds, U.K. During a 2-day workshop, students participated in the soldering of the different components and boards, which were then mounted on a 7-x-7-x-6-ft cardboard structure. The piece was designed as an inside-out video synthesizer inspired by four-dimensional mathematics and built to be played from the inside while projecting sound and image outside into the performance room...


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