by Dan Senn
Jack (see video) Use headphones for full sound spectrum.
Video with 2020 improvisation

duration 6:00

"Whistle Jack"was filmed in the autumn of 1995, a "percussive" mapping of a granary on the farm of Marilyn Hahn in Rooster Valley, MN. It was made for the Catacombs of Yucatan Sound and Video Installation. The film was shot without a fixed sound track in mind. but added at Waterhouse Studio in Watertown, Wi, in September 2020.

"Percussive" is used here to describe a "tap-recording" method of filming objects close up and rhythmically. This was made possible by a Sony Hi8 CCD-V801 camera which could record as few as three frames (1/10th of a second) when quickly pushing the record button twice enabling improvised visual rhythms. The videos were conceived for playback on two or more monitors and for gallery installations as accompanied by my auto playing kinetic sculptural instruments.

By necessity these "percussive" video were edited in-camera as I did not have access to video editing gear this providing an improvisational edge I was familiar with from live performance. The works, again, were also meant to be viewed over two or more monitors simultaneously, a preference evolving from easy access to used 13" computer monitors. From late 1992, I was already viewing these flickering hand held videos over 2-6 screens at various angles and rotations in my Tacoma studio, aka Shy Anne Studio. At the time I was also building pendulum-based instruments for installations, and often performing my nonlinear sculptural instruments with silent video. Therefore, my filming was  informed by the live interactions of all these mediums, including spoken texts and speech rhythms. My attraction to fluxes art and artist mostly in Europe was grounded in this.

Recent versions of these early percussive, multi-monitor videos use mirror images which were imposible in the 1990s unless I used physical mirrors. identical to the original versions, however, is the maximum 720x480 Hi8 pixel resolutions as repeated in variation over multiple virtual monitors rotated on a 1920x1080 pixel canvas.

today I will work for weeks on soundless video leaving the work silent for weeks, months, years and decades only to, perhaps, impulsively decide to combine/fix sound from current work or any part of my library of improvisational work. Videos with sound thus arrive in spurts as I combine improvisations composed out of context, the unifying factor being an integral interdisciplinary aesthetic.

My mother, Elayne Bender Senn, was a gifted photographer virtually unaware of her ability accept for the occasional comment, like, "You take a good picture, Elayne." In another world and time she would have been a force to reckon with in the arts, I am certain. From her example, since early childhood and up to the age of 41, my two dimensional visual art was mostly photography-based. When I purchased a video camera in 1992, every "percussive" frame was shot to have a still photo integrity of its own. DS September 28, 2020

Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is an intermedia 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).

A high resolution and full sized video is available for download from the artist.

Dan Senn's Site