by Dan Senn
4K Video and Stereo Sound (See sample video)
Duration = 14:53
|Danger Alley (2023)
was filmed on March 29, 2023 in Prague and is of the storage underside
of a sports stadium, a storage area consisting of 50 old, wooden, defaced double doors
that back onto alley-lke street. The site is located in Holeševice, a
few blocks from
Senn's Gasworks Studio where the video was edited and sound generated.
title of the work was derived from Caroline Senn's comments and reluctance to walk
through this "scary" alley at night.
Shot in 4K, Danger Alley, has direct links to the artist's "percussive" videos of the 1990s. The sounds too have linkeages to his electronic music of the 1970s while at the University of Illinois-Urbana and then in Chicago in 1978-1979, his Jefferson Street Studio where early Roulette Intermedium were presented. The tracks for Danger Alley were generated using a Korg MS-20 clone (Behringer K-2) triggered Senn performng on a LaunchPad Pro and then processed using Ableton Live.
All of Dan's 1990s "percussive" videos, made while living in Tacoma, Washington, were mappings of objects, terraine, structures, etc. This work likewise maps rhythmically the wooden double double doors, moving left to right in a visual narrative where one door contextualized detail and and subsequent shots. Thus the order of the filmed images is imporant and remains intact throughout.
The percussive video from the 1990s were all in-camera edited creating an unique improvisaitonal visual rhythm to aural rhythmic link. This work, with technology farin advance of 1992 gear, is well-informed by the 1990s shootings that were often shot from the shoulder to enable fleibilty and speed while accepting camera movement. Danger Alley using an expensive 4K camera from a shaky, cheap tripod, impacted by wind, passers by, the police... to create a sequence of moving stills that align by chance and choice with the sound track made with 1978 gear and improvised in a way not unlike his videos in the 1990.
* Listen with headphones.
|Rhythmically, this is a three track work with only two sounding. The silent track, the video, was shot (performed) first and
then trimmed to produce artifact lasting nearly 15 minutes, a duration that would not change. The
analog sounds of the K-2 were then located in the synth and the first of two sounding tracks
improvised with the edited video just within eye sight. A the second
track was then improvised with the first sound just within earshot, the video not playing. These two sound
tracks were then processed in Ableton Live (no changes made to the order of the events... (a kind of in-camera-like editing) and
then combined with the video where microscopic edits were made only in the video to enhance
The brilliance of 4K video, already stunning at 2k, is breathtaking in detail and color. As a photogragher for many years, both analog and then digital, before embracing video in 1992, an experiential path also taken by Phill Niblock, a close friend of the artist, the attraction to video was that it was time-based and brilliance of the medium. These days, this 720x480 resolutions seems primative, but even then, Senn doubled and tripled the resolution by simultaeneously using multiple monitors in rotation to display his videos where possible.
Thus, the linkage of the film and sound is established through rhythm—the silent images and sounded events as place with purpose in a well-considered dance of mediums. The shaky camera movement in these work now and int 1990s is necessary, desirable, and intended. The out of synch-ness, at times, intended. The chance simultaneities, intended albeit paradoxically. The exact linkages, contrived but less than you may think. The transitory unlinking of the video and sound, like the simultaneities, intended. The entire process is integrated, rule-based and utterly informed by the work of Cage, Niblock and from a time when in-camera editing forced a consciousness-deliberateness of image, image stability, movement, memory, visual narrative, chance and planned simultaneities blatantly into the moment. DS, in the third person.
Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an
intermedia/fluxus artist working in music composition and production,
sound sculpture, experimental and documentary film. He has been a
professor of music and art in the United States and Australia and
travels internationally as a lecturer, performer and installation
artist. He lives in Prague where he directs the Echofluxx
and Watertown, Wisconsin, the USA, with his partner-collaborator,
Caroline Senn. Dan's work moves freely between expressive extremes and
languages depending upon the aesthetic joust at hand. Dan is cofounder
Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia
Portland Oregon, and the Echofluxx media
festivals in Prague. (read more).
Note: Following this work a series of videos with sound were made in quick succession including Banana Telegraph, U Garáží, Three Panes, and Habitat. They are all similar in style, temperament and technique.