by Dan Senn
4K Video with Stereo Sound (See sample video)
Duration = 10:14

Danger Alley (2023) was filmed on March 29, 2023 in Prague and is of the underside of a sports stadium seating area, a area consisting of 50 old, wooden, defaced double doors backing onto alley-like street named U městských domů. The site is in Holeševice, a few blocks from DOx and Senn's Gasworks Studio where the video was edited and sound generated. The title of the work was derived from Caroline Senn's 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 soundtrack also 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 concerts were presented. The sound for here were generated using a Korg MS-20 clone (Behringer K-2) triggered by a LaunchPad Pro,  then processed in Ableton Live.

All of Dan's 1990s "percussive" videos, made in Tacoma, Washington, were mappings of objects, terraine, structures, etc. Danger Alley rhythmically maps these wooden double double doors, moving left to right in a visual narrative. The image sequence is thus imporant and intact throughout.

Dan's percussive video from the 1990s were in-camera edited, an unique improvisational visual-to-aural rhythmic link. This work, with technology far in advance of 1992, is still informed by his 1990s shootings that were often shot from the shoulder to enable flexibilty, camera rotation and speed—the camera movement acceptable as long as the image was stationary. Danger Alley shot in 2023 from a Sony 4K camera mounted on a shaky, cheap tripod, impacted by wind, passers by, the police, age... to create a sequence of moving stills that, by chance and choice, align with the sound track made with a old synth and improvised in a way not unlike his 1990s videos.The two mediums are thus closely integrated.

* Listen with headphones.
Rhythmically, in a sense, this is a three track work with two sounding. The silent track, the video, was shot (performed) first and then trimmed to produce artifact initially nearly 15 minutes. The analog sounds from the K-2 were then improvised with the edited video just within eye sight. Another the track was then improvised with the first sound just within earshot, the video not playing. These tracks were then processed in Ableton Live (no changes made to the order of the events... (a form of in-camera-like sound editing) and then combined with the video where "drawing-up edits" were made in both mediums to enhance simultanaities, a new-old feature in my work.

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, the attraction to video in the 1990s was that it had become accessible ($) and brilliant. These days, this 720x480 resolutions seems primative, but even in the 1990s, it was possible doubled and tripled the resolution by using multiple monitors in rotation side-by-side where possible.

Again, the integration of the film and sound is thusly established—the silent images and sounded events acting in a well-considered dance of mediums. The shaky camera movement in these 1990s works is necessary, desirable and intended. The out of synch-ness, at times, and then desirable. The chance simultaneities, intended, albeit paradoxically. The precise connections, contrived but far 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 molded blatantly into the moment. DS 113023

Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia/fluxus artist working in music composition and production, kinetic 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 festivals, 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 of Roulette Intermedium in New York City, Cascadia Composers of 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, and U Garáží. This work, Danger Alley, was reworked in Prague in November 2023.