|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Source||Afterimage, Visual Studies Workshop, Volume 12, Issue 10, Rochester, NY (1985)|
Video artist Barbara Buckner has been working with image processing devices for more than 10 years. She discovered video in 1972 after studying film and began working with processing tools. Over the years, she gained access to and explored the possibilities of increasingly complicated systems; including custom imaging tools such as the Paik/Abe, Jones, Hearn, Siegel, and Rutt/Etra synthesizers. Buckner has worked extensively under the auspices of several production centers, including the Experimental Television Center in Owego, New York, run by Ralph Hocking and Sherry Miller, which is an important center for artists producing works with image-processing devices.
Buckner's work has progressed over the years from short er explorations of formal imaging concerns to complex works that incorporate her concepts of spirituality and metaphor with a sophisticated use of these imaging tools. Her work is almost all silent, producing a contemplative, meditative quality. She has also begun working with computers and interactivity. Her most recent work is Analogs, an interactive installation using a computer and two video channels, which was first exhibited in 1983 in the "Video Installation '83" show at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, N.Y.
Buckner's work has been shown widely throughout the U.S. and other countries. She has received numerous grants and fellowships from, among others, the New York State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, which awarded her funds in 1982 for research into image processing and interactive video disc technology. She has taught at New York University, the School of Visual Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, SUNY/Binghamton, and SUNY/Buffalo. Her work is distributed by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Museum of Modern Art. She currently resides in the San Francisco area.
This article is an edited transcript of three interviews conducted in January. March, and October, 1984, and it includes Buckner's additions and revisions. An earlier, abbreviated version was published in Sightlines (Vol. 17, no. 3, Spring 1984). This article was funded in part by a grant from the media program of the New York State Council on the Arts.
Marita Sturken: When did you begin working in video?
Barbara Buckner: I became interested in video and computers while I was at New York University in 1972. I took film and television courses as well as an experimental video course with 'Bill Etra. We used to go to his studio and get hands-on-experience with the equipment. This was during the beginning of a lot of video activity; people were just realizing the potential of portable video equipment, especially in the political and social arena.
MS: Have you always worked with image processing?
BB: I made one film when I was in school that was shown at the Whitney Museum after I graduated. It foreshadowed concerns of transformation and metaphor in future video work. It was about alchemy and the union of opposites-ice and fire, white and black, liquid and solid, man and woman-which culminated in the birth of a new state or synthesis represented metaphorically by a silver head. Using in-camera matting, I created multi-image tableaux and used editing techniques to create incremental changes in color and position. When I saw keyed and colorized videotapes at the Kitchen in 1972, I realized that I could compound and synthesize video images electronically much more easily. The electronic medium allowed me to transform qualities and quantities in a real-time mode, where I didn't have to rely on the dynamics of editing or a lab to make expensive special effects. It was seeing those real-time image transformations that made me love video immediately. 'I had never seen color that was so pure or light that was so radiant; I had never been captured by a medium the way I was captured by the electronic image as I first saw it then.
MS: How did you first approach working in video?
BB: I began with a desire to create a kind of electronic poetics, where the video image expressed a metaphoric identity emerging from its organic structure, yet had a universal quality drawing on the traditions of poetry, painting, and music. There were always two central concerns-exploring the medium with the tools that were available and expressing inner states of beingness and becoming.
MS: I have always felt that the level of abstraction in your work and your choice of imaging tools have a lot to do with your use of metaphor. In many of your tapes there is very little relationship between the original camera image and what results, but in others the hint of that camera image is a significant part of the content. Your titles suggest the metaphors that you are constructing; they clue the viewer into the conceptual level of the tapes beyond the formal level.
BB: The more abstract the tapes are, the more the titles function that way. They serve to specify the abstraction.
MS: How did you approach these issues of metaphor and formalism in your early work? How did your titles function then?
BB: Well, back in 1973, I was using black-and-white equipment: a simple special effects generator with a genlock, a keyer, two black-and-white cameras, and two editing decks. The first piece I produced was called Geography; it used keyed feedback. It was divided into four short segments called "Lilies," "Terrace," "View from a Hilltop with Fence," and "Fire under Snow." You could identify them as landscapes because you could see perspective. So what the title Geography did was to give you a framework in which to look at those segments. If you saw little pointed spikes coming out of what looked like a snowbank and I labelled it "Fire under Snow," you would most likely see those pointed spikes as fire, not as oscillator patterns or sewing needles. So the language served to specify and make literal the abstracted image.
In another work, Tongue Line/Blood Linear, I externally synced two cameras so that the images drifted vertically and horizontally. The cameras were looking at copies of five ancient alphabets whose letters were very hieroglyphic. They were keyed together, drifting horizontally and vertically. What emerged was a tape about ancestry on the level of language and image succession. At the time I was studying ancient Chinese characters, whose meanings change when different pictorial elements are combined. It was a very organic progression, and I thought this corresponded well to video imaging where, if you key two elements together, the resulting third image is visually different from either of the original two, though a sum of them as well.
Later in 1973, I bought Bill Etra's synthesizer and began to use that in combination with the other tools to modulate feedback and manipulate the height and width parameters of images. One work from that period, Sapati (Sanskrit for "he serves"), used modulated feedback to create what looked like spiralling energy fields of jewels intercut with a molten-metal, square structure.
Moebius was a synthesizer piece that produced a aroun the same time in direct response to an out-of-body experience. I was lying on the bed with my eyes closed for what seemed like a split second. I had the image of passing through the earth turning inside out, in another time sense that was not detectable in this world. I wanted to try to reproduce that experience, so I drew original graphics, recorded them with two moving cameras, and genlocked layers of keyed material so structures appeared and disappeared at different gray levels. There was a feeling of passing through an animated world, as if travelling.
Then at one point, I wanted to create a work that had no edits, in real time, that didn't use a camera as an image source-that was purist in a sense. I used only one oscillator and one keyer. I created two structures that were mirrors of each other. By changing the oscillator frequency, they appeared to struggle with each other, culminating in a moving wall of three-dimensional knots. What was interesting to me, amazing even, was that whatever innerstate I was experiencing could manifest Itself physically in the work, even though the tools changed. I had made an inner struggle apparent, where one of the mirror images became the ghost of the other, like a haunting, so I called it Spectre.
MS: Do you think it was important for you to work without a camera at some point?
BB: Yes. The camera was like a cinematic hangover. I wanted to produce the video image as a self-generating entity, appearing to have as little human intervention as possible. I think of it as being similar to the vision we have when our eyes are closed, seeing the patterns projected by the mind without the intrusion of the external environment.
MS: So for you part of understanding video meant understanding that it doesn't need a camera?
BB: Yes, that you could generate something from within the architecture of the machine without using that window on the world that people had used for so long.
MS: It seems that many video artists, being basically self-taught, have gone through a process of reducing the medium to very specific functions and exercises at certain times in their development.
BB: Yes, we used a system of self-imposed rules to give ourselves a certain kind of discipline, because in a sense we really had no teachers. We were on our own to establish some rules, and later realized that we had the freedom to break those rules.
MS: When did you start to use color?
BB: In 1976, I went to live in Rhinebeck, N.Y., where I shared a big farmhouse with Gary Hill, David Jones, and Stephen Kolpan as part of Ken Marsh's Woodstock Community Video. This was an experiment with artists living together, having
dialogue, and sharing equipment. We had two editing decks, a color camera, and an Eric Siegel colonizer. The colonizer was single-channel, so without other mixing or keying devices, my focus shitted to concerns such as editing, fast-motion and slow-motion techniques. In Fell Fire, I recorded water and waterfalls in slow motion, played it back at normal speed, and colorized it, so that the water became a demonic, high-speed, molten fire. I was trying to portray the radically purifying aspect of fire. In Fire of Earth, I used slow motion. It had a shot of fire, a close-up of the flame, and then a hand came into the frame and struck a match, which slowly ignited a pile of wood. Because of the slow-motion technique and the Newvicon tube in the camera, the fire balloons into a globe of light at the end.
Then, in 1976, I started my residency at the Experimental Television Center in Owego, N.Y., and this was my first opportunity to work with a large array of processing tools. This system was much more complex and offered a lot more possibilities.
MS: So, each time, you graduated into new technical possibilities and did a series of pieces that explored that. What kinds of things could you do on the system in Owego?
BB: Well, first of all you could set up four to eight cameras as image sources. There was a large switching matrix so you could send signals to various processors, such as multiple keyers and a four-channel and sevel-channel colonizer, and out again into other modules, additional keyers and mixers, wish voltage-control devices to handle the processing that I had done manually. This was a period in which my fantasies far synthesis came true. In 1976, f created a series of works that were subsequently shown in the 1977 Whitney Biennial, and they took a definite turn in terms of being conscious spiritual metaphors.
MS: So you were coming from perhaps a more formal though certainly not completely formal-approach to using the equipment for metaphoric kinds of images.
BB: I think I settled into some techniques that began to serve me well for what I was trying to convey. I began consciously to use color harmonies and tightly edited rhythms to produce a kind of inner hearing and inner-directed vision, since the tapes were silent, producing a contemplative state. The titles Grace, Waters, Night, Body, Lamb, Dominion, Gathering In, and Image of the Kingdom are clearly allusions to spiritual process. They are like short poems, though they are very different from the 22 segments of Pictures of the Lost, which is more like a unified epic, a saga of the soul's journey into the spiritual worlds.
MS: Pictures of the Lost seems to be tike a journey in which each part is a separate entity but still very much part of a larger picture. Most of your work seems to have that kind of episodic format.
BB: I think that might be due to my psychic temperament. I see like a series of knots that are tied and untied; sometimes a knot may take 20 seconds and sometimes three minutes. I prefer that kind of dynamic puzzle that you resolve and then move on to the next one.
MS: It seems that Hearts was really the culmination of a lot of work for you. Certainty it is the longest of your later work.
BB: It gives things time to develop, which is perhaps more aesthetically satisfying to some people. In Hearts, I am trying to express the integration of emotional energy over a period of time. It is a cycle that continues, beginning slowly, climaxing, and then transforming. So perhaps because of the subject matter it had to be developed as one single piece. The heart is this generalized icon not only of emotional energy but also the seat of consciousness, the heart-center that informs the whole psyche, which I depicted as a magnetic landscape. The heart issues forth many kinds of energies within the landscape. Following that, Heads was an effort to depict mental activity in various kinds of beings-animals, humans, and other-worldly creatures - to explore portraiture.
MS: It is interesting to see the pattern in your work of the relationship of formal devices to spiritual content. In Heads and The Golden Pictures, you are using a specific technique - keying imagery into another image - to depict inner states of beings and objects.
BB: The Golden Pictures uses processing to show energies within an ordinary object, say the floor or a lamp, that are invisible to the human eye, but that if we were at another level of awareness we could perceive quite clearly. The term golden refers to an idealized condition, one several notches above the physical. So instead of being one even illumination, a lamp becomes light continuously moving in and out from the center. I was visualizing as dynamic energy what we normally see as static. We always think of ourselves as being the prime source of cause in the universe, so I was trying to say that these objects also have a power in the universe.
MS: In Millenia, there is also a direct correlation between your primary imaging technique and your subject matter. In other words, you use the effects of sliding the image horizontally across the screen to depict the passage of time.
BB: Millenia used a Z-80 Cromemco computer, which can display a series of stored images as a consecutive sequence or in a multi-image grid like a "memory window." I guess that the essence of Millenia is plus pa change, plus c'est la meme chose, the continuous occurrence of phenomena that is everchanging, yet finite within the material universe. So, it's as if we zoomed out and are seeing this cycle in miniature. I chose five categories: geometry, for structural changes in matter; moons, for planetary changes; animals, for variables in the animal kingdom; men, which depicts the human state of consciousness in a slightly negative way because the figures look fearful, like they are defending themselves; and the dead. It's very hard to depict the dead. I used moths flying around a light source, which look like white flying circular bodies. I depicted the same phenomenon differently in Pictures of the Lost in a section called "Sight Among the Blessed." I wanted to portray another plane of existence, and the light is so ethereal and radiant that you do get the feeling that you are somewhere else but that there are beings there. They are operating at another level of awareness; what we call death is simply life at a higher vibrational level, another set of frequencies.
MS: What about Greece to Jupiter: It's a Matter of Energy?
BB: That's the most formal piece I ever did. It's very reductionist because I was interested in dealing with the computer and the digital imaging process on its own terms. The only analog image is a voltage-controlled moving square created with the Rutt/Etra synthesizer. I used that image pattern through which to key and genlock other computer-created textures and square shapes. I was using a program called "Clear Center" where the pixel is routed from the center of the raster all the way around the rectangles in either direction at very high speed. By controlling the luminance and width of the pixel you get different kinds of textures within the square. Here, the square is articulated as an evolving architecture in time-from classical space (Greece) to outer space (Jupiter) using light energy as the building material. As an archetypal figure, the square is articulated as evolving states of consciousness-from exterior awareness to interior awareness, using light energy as a medium for self-knowledge. So, you see that I am always trying to merge those two sensibilities, to explore the subject matter both materially and spiritually.
MS: Can you explain your working process? How does the imagery come about, and how do you choose what imagery you are going to process?
BB: Well, the first thing that happens is that very mysteriously and out of nowhere comes a conception. I compare it to a fist in the mind, a nexus of thought and feeling that has coalesced in such a way that there is a definite knowingness. From there, I begin noting down ideas. It can be at the oddest moments that it comes to me and I'll write down an idea for an image or some content that I need to shoot some pictures for. On the other hand, there are also times when I will sit down with the equipment to see what I can create.
So, there are two approaches, one where I come from a preconceived idea and another where I approach the work using the technology as a vehicle. There is a concrete interception between hands-on exploration, which feeds back to you ideas at a particular moment, and the preconceived process, a lot of which goes out the window when you get into the studio. Say you come in with an image of a tree. There are many ways of dealing with that image, and it's only through the technology that you cart actually see it. Perhaps you say "I don't want one tree, I want two trees." So you set up two cameras, you frame that image, key them and you have two trees; it's that simple. On one level, it's a moment-to-moment perception and dialogue.
MS: Between the artist and the machine?
BB: Yes, you have this black box between you and the image, so on a certain level it's a very indirect way of dealing with imagery. Because of the nature of electronic imaging, a lot of changes and permutations can be set up automatically in real time through what we cal! a patch. You can set up a certain arrangement of signal controls and have the machine perform for you. That is not something that a painter can do. There is this wonderful sense-and here I am getting very metaphorical, perhaps metaphysical-that because you are using automated technology, you are on a one-to-one meeting with the life force of the image. It is like witnessing magic, because you are not doing anything-you are witnessing electricity doing it. If you are working physically with material, you have to lift your hand, shape the stone, lay the paint on, and you know that you are affecting the material. But if you have this black box between you and the imagery and there is all this electronic form happening in the box to make your image move and change, there is a wonderful sense of seeing a force at work that is both invisible and intelligent. That is one of the things that I really treasure in the working process.
MS: But then a lot of people probably assume that it is a very haphazard method of working because you leave certain things up to the machine.
BB: Well, you don't really leave anything up to the machine. You can agree or disagree with the machine. I think people are probably still very intimidated by the technology. .
MS: It seems from what you are saying that the more important part of the working process is in the studio, in manipulating the imagery.
BB: In a way, gathering the imagery is like setting up a library, a catalogue from which I can choose sequences or still frames. There is something much more secure about being on a landscape, where you have the liberty of shooting anything you want. Once you get into the studio it begins to narrow; you become more limited in your choices once you have that library of images. It is possible to just sit there and grind out hours and hours of variation upon variation; but after a while not only is it not necessary, but you are not interested in generating all of this material because it is such a pain to sort it all out. You want to work more like Michelangelo, who could perceive the form in the rock and simply sculpt away to reveal it. It seems like a more economical and direct approach.
What you are capable of doing with these devices is evolving an image process distinct from the painting process, the photographic process, or even the process of reading, although it partakes of all those media. Since it is electronic by nature, you can combine two or more sets of signal controls and have a contrapuntal kind of development between very different picture elements. It's not simply like multiplying an image as you would in Xeroxing or extending something as you might in film editing. What's involved is a kind of logistics about strategy. Strategy is important in this kind of work, because you are dealing with the video signal as a code; you are able to manipulate elements of that code separately, and each element effects a single image in revolutionary ways. If the horizontal or vertical sync is off, the image is going to drift up, down, left, or right, which is pretty radical. If you increase the pedestal you are increasing the whole brightness of the scene. You can also add one picture element to another, and anytime you add anything to the video frame it is a radical moment because the video image isn't meant for detail. It's good for iconic elements, but when you add too much it becomes confused and too rich. This is a problem with a lot of processed work. You have a medium that is meant for simplicity, with an incredible palette of color and capacity for synthesis, and it's overkill. I think that artists have begun to realize that; they are beginning to use electronic imaging more sparingly so that the underlying structure can be revealed and allowed to emerge. Otherwise I think what processing, does is act as a disguise, a sensuous cloak, and after a while it becomes very cheap.
MS: Can you describe how Analogs came about?
BB: I have been thinking about interactivity for a while. In 1972, while I was still at NYU I became very interested in computers. Although I didn't know anything about them technically, I used to write a lot of notes about the use of computers for what I called a "cybernetic system of metaphor." This was a series of notes about a system that I envisioned using various electronic media-text, image, and sound. I described it as game playing. I wanted to create a work that extended itself through the user, but I couldn't figure out how the user would organize the material at the physical level, or how the user's perception of meaning would interact to produce something new in material form. So, this has been an obsession, though no one would know it. It's just that an artist has to go through certain steps in the process. I now realize why I did the work I have done in the last 10 years. Analogs is based on the ideas of metaphor and transformation that my work has been about, but the viewer now isolates the metaphor as a code and with a program co-creates a new metaphor.
Actually the piece began as a non-interactive, two-channel piece that would be seen passively by a viewer, but I did not have the money to do time-coding to get frame-accurate edits. I was trying to set up causal relationships between two channels of video, and they had to be edited precisely. There were 26 analogs, and if they were a second or two off it wouldn't work. About two months before the piece was scheduled to be exhibited, I realized this was not going to be possible on the system 1 was using to edit, but meanwhile another idea had been surfacing. When I realized that my original plan wasn't going to work, I was very happy because this was an opportunity to do what I had wanted to do for a very long time. The piece consists of 26 analogs in which the viewer is looking at two monitors simultaneously displaying causally related sequences which correspond from monitor to monitor. An event or change occurring in one is followed or echoed by a related but different change in the other. The viewer looks at a menu to choose an analog, say "Drawer" or "Pluto/ Persephone," that he or she would like to see and interact with. The viewer perceives changes in color, luminance, scale, volume, direction, and text in each analog.
Some of the images are made with a Rutt/Etra synthesizer that manipulates the video raster. This means taking the homogeneous pattern of scanning lines and, by varying the frequency and amplitude, modulating the height, width, and depth of those lines. So you are in a sense sculpting the material electronically. The other images in Analogs are produced with colorizers, keyers, and mixers, and are processed for luminance, color, and key changes, with many combining text and image. Analogs is really about asking the viewer to engage in aesthetic coding. For example, when you look at a work of art in a museum, you are affected by its arrangement-texture, shape, and color elements. I think that you are aware of this arrangement mainly on a subconscious level. In this piece I wanted to have the viewer isolate this coding that is normally unconscious and make it a conscious awareness.
MS: By having the viewer make a choice?
BB: Yes. Using that conscious awareness to the point where they have to choose a relating term for what they are seeing, to connect two sets of images. According to their choice, new computer-generated text appears on a third monitor, which metaphorically relates both the user's response and what he or she has just seen on both monitors, which are analogs of each other. The work is a "branch" of meaning composed of physical data and the viewer's perception of relationship and meaning. That perception, the ineffable X, completes the work.
MS: It sounds like the kind of system that people usually design for disc.
BB: Well, it is optimum for disc, but disc is extremely expensive and since I didn't have the money I decided to do it on tape. It is much easier with disc because with videotape the user has to deal with the equipment functions on the decks, such as rewind, fast forward, and pause. In a disc system all of that is automated; all you have to do is push a button or punch in a number to get the image sequence you want. According to your choice, the disc then branches automatically to another section, and you can continue extending those relationships for a much longer period of time.
MS: So what you are describing is a real prototype for a disc system, and yet you had this idea a long time ago. It's as if you had to wait for the technology to catch up to your ideas.
BB: Exactly. At this point, I am interested in doing other things interactively that relate back to what I was thinking of in 1972, but only recently has enough memory been developed to store enough digital images, and only recently do we have random access technology where we can be free to make those kinds of choices in a relatively short period of time. This technology didn't exist 10 years ago.
MS: Is this a turning point for you?
BB: I think so. I really don't have any interest in linear formats anymore. One project I am interested in now is to create an interactive art kiosk-like a little pagoda with three to six aesthetic games. Unfortunately, games is not an adequate word because it has the connotation of a sort of frivolous activity and of competition. But, I call it gaming because it is not meant to be didactic. It is meant to be playful, where the user feels like he or she has some room to transform certain elements and relationships set by particular software. What I would like to do is to investigate three to six areas-science, history, language, religion, and psychology-in an interactive fashion, by using different interactive devices, including touch-sensitive screen, joy stick, cursors, and perhaps even voice recognition. For example, one is called "Billy Budd: Automatic Transformation Table." Melville's fictional hero Billy Budd is a tragic character of innocence and strength. The user could interactively coordinate objects and events of this story and interface them with real-life heroes in America: Clara Barton, Madame Curie, and John Glenn. Each of these heroes represents a different element: Budd is water; Curie is fire; Glenn is air; and Barton is the earth. Another interactive work is called "Model for Rocks Going to the Sun." In this one, the user transforms four rocks at four corners of the screen into gold or the sun, using commands such as compound, add, subtract, and mix. So while this involves gaming, I want to use aesthetic parameters of luminance, texture, color, text, and shape, and concrete relationships to create metaphors. In a way, I'm starting to do what I conceived of in 1972.
MS: Do you think more artists will do interactive pieces?
BB: Disc is still prohibitively expensive, and I think that is stopping a lot of people.
MS: So perhaps such projects will always be done under the auspices of a large institution.
BB: I think you could do an interactive work for $5000. It would be fairly simplistic, but a work like Analogs could be done for that. Artists have always gotten around this problem. When ADO and Quantel didn't exist what did we do? We weren't walking around in video limbo. So I am sure that people will find ways of getting things produced. Then there is also the question of what is truly interactive.
MS: The word tends to be misused. If a program asks a set of questions, it has already determined the potential answers.
BB: Yes. Is this program using you, or are you using this program? Are you something through which this program can be fulfilled, or do you really have some kind of extended choice? Some people's dream is to have a data base so large that you could file a million characters, hair colors, personalities, behaviors, motives, and so on, and have this data base to create any story you want. Now is that interesting to most people? Maybe, but that doesn't speak to me about the desire of the artist or the function of art as we know it. I would much rather interact with a work designed by someone who could put interesting limitations on it.
MS: In any medium, but especially in a technical one, there is a stage where one has to get beyond what the tools can do. Many artists have made tapes for years about what their tools can do and are now finally making tapes that go beyond that. It is something artists have to get through whether working in the high or low end of technology.
BB: But there is a kind of painting that is about painting and is self-reflexive. I think there is video work, image-processed work in particular, that is about the process. It is a documentation of the process, but it goes beyond documentation.
MS: There is also the element of "wow." The artist is so wowed by the technology and what it can do, that the work is preoccupied with technique. As video artists get more access to high tech, this is becoming more of an issue.
BB: Once they have access to state-of-the-art special effects, artists begin to realize "this could look a lot like television." I think there is a transition now in the video art world; people are talking about television art the way they once talked about video art.
MS: You mean video art that is made specifically for television?
BB: Video art that works on television. Work that is made or television necessarily partakes of visual attributes and dynamics that have been legitimized by television. There are, however, artists who feel that that's a compromise and that their work doesn't fit into that genre and never will. What's going to happen to them? I don't think it's stubbornness, it's just that-dictated by their work and integrity-they can't. Those people should continue to be funded. That is one fear I have about the New York State Council on the Arts and other funding institutions. When they see a work that is not broadcastable, the response is: "What are you doing? Are you some kind of oddity? You know being a video artist used to be very quirky; now it's become sort of chic, I guess.
MS: What do you think about an artist's relationship to technology, or your relationship to technology?
BB: In terms of artists using high technology, some people probably think that everything that was made as an artistic artifact before high technology may become an antique. That's one extreme: film is dead; painting is dead; weaving is dead. I think that's ridiculous. Anything that has the intent and original feeling of the artist can always be perceived as having chose qualities intact and having value. Yet, while I think all art forms are equal, there is an incredible challenge here because of the nature of the computer and its potential. It's another tool and a revolutionary one in the history of human events.
I am of the opinion that we don't really create anything, we simply manifest what already exists. So the infatuation with high technology is an infatuation with human capabilities, because whatever a computer can do is simply what the human mind can already do. It has all the powers of the human mind, such as pattern recognition, the power of execution, problem solving, and computation, but ii can do certain tasks more easily and quickly than we could do them manually. Now this doesn't have anything to do with conception or aesthetics, because you have to tell a computer everything. There may come a time when it can anticipate certain events, but that is also a human capability.
There is a very definite limitation on what we call human intelligence and computer intelligence. The computer is a model of the human mind, and the mind is limited. The soul is not limited by the mind or its creations and is the essence of the individual. People are thinking about technology solving problems, but in terms of age-old questions that human beings have been asking themselves like: Who am I? and Where am I going? artificial intelligence and high technology are not the answers and can't give the answers. The answers are found within, because we are spiritual beings. High technology might make things easier, but then people in this day and age seem to want everything easier. There's nothing wrong in that, it's just that it has a limit. You can't go further than that, can you? What's beyond ease and comfort and superior intelligence? I would say that it's Divine Imagination that can lead us into worlds far beyond the limitations of space and time and the mind.
Videotapes by Barbara Buckner:
Geography (1973), 3 mins., black and white, silent
Spectre (1973), 4 mins., black and white, silent
Starfish/Mouth at the River Nile (1973), 3:30 mins., black and white, silent
Bulk (1973), 3 mins., black and white, silent
Breast War/Erect (1973), 2 mins., black and white, silent
Pillar (1973), 4 mins., black and white, silent
Sapati (1973), 3 mins., black and white, silent
Scorpion (1973), 2 mins., black and white, silent
Century (1973), 12 mins., black and white, silent
Moebius (1974), 5 mins., black and white, silent
Tongue Line/Blood Linear (1974), 2:30 mins., black and white, silent
Red Ode (1974) 3 mins., black and white, silent
Arc Anthem (1974), 5 mins., black and white, silent
Maint-of-Way (1974), 1 min., black and white, silent
Song of Eye-Shift (1974), 5 mins., black and white, silent
China (1975), 5 mins., black and white, sound
Lune (1975), 5 mins., black and white, silent
The Infant Birch (1975), 3 mins., black and white, silent
Tectonic Portrait (1975), 5 mins., black and white, silent
From Sleep (1975), 1:30 mins., black and white, silent
Fig's Lay (1975), 3 mins., black and white, silent
Gentle Door (1975), 7:30 mins., black and white, silent
Duo Sangue (1975), 3 mins., black and white, sound
Blindness (1975), 7 mins., black and white, silent
Ring Psalter (1975), 14 mins., black and white, silent
O Rock (1976), 3 mins., color, silent
Breath (1976), 7 mins., color, silent
Tract (1976), 7 mins., color, silent
Episode of Cant (1976), 3 mins., color, silent
Trilogy (1976), 3 mins., color, silent
Love's Portrait (1976), 4 mins., color, silent
Fell Fire (1976), 3 mins., color, silent
Act of Numen (1976), 4 mins., color, silent
Fire of Earth (1976), 2 mins., color, silent
View From Christabel (1976), 3 mins., color, silent
Rose (1976), 1 min., color, silent
Mese (1977), 1'/2 sec., color, silent
Waters (1977), 2 mins., color, silent
The Blue (1977), 2:30 mins., color, silent
Gathering In (1977), 3 mins., color, silent
Mast (1977), 2 mins., color, silent Grace (1977), 6 mins., color, silent
Body (1977), 3 mins., color, silent Night (1977), 2 mins., color, silent
Lamb (1977), 1:30 mins., color, silent
Landscape (1977), 2 mins., color, silent
A Table (1977), 2 mins., color, silent
Axis (1977), 3 mins., color, silent
Hours (1977), 3 mins., color, silent
The Men (1977), 1:30 mins., color, silent
Image of the Kingdom (1977), 1 min., color, silent
Dominion (1977), 1:30 mins., color, silent
Pictures of the Lost (1978), 23 mins., color, silent
Astral Love (1978), 2 mins., color, silent
Blue House (1978), 2 mins., color, silent
Untitled (1978), 1 min., color, silent
Untitled (1978), 1 min., color, silent
Untitled (1978), 2 mins., color, silent
Nica Twice (1978), 2 mins., color, silent
Contemplation (1978), 45 secs., color, silent
Hearts (1979), 12 mins., color, silent
Heads (1980), 6 mins., color, silent
The Golden Pictures (1980), 6 mins., color, silent
Millenia (1981), 5 mins., color, silent
Greece to Jupiter: It's a Matter of Energy (1982), 5 mins., color, silent
Analogs (1983), two-channel, interactive installation