by Dan Senn
Nash (see video) Use headphones for full sound spectrum.
Video Updated in 2020
with fixed sound added,
stereo or quad (2022)
duration 8:37

"Montana Nash" was filmed in the spring of 1994, a "percussive" mapping of a 1949 Nash sedan parked on the street a half block from my Tacoma, WA studio. The video was shot for an installation and live improvised performance accompanied by my sculptural instruments. The current fixed stereo tracks were added in September of 2020, a quad version in August of 2022, both at Studio FMEra in Watertown, WI.

Without much thought, I have long used the words "percussive video" to describe a method of filming objects close up and rhythmically using a hand held camera. This technique was as enabled by a quirk I discovered in my Sony Hi8 CCD-V801 camera, purchased in 1992, my first camcorder, where as few as 3 frames (1/10th of a second) could be shot by pushing/releasing the record button quickly making possible live, improvised rhythmic recording. For me this was like visually tapping the object shaky frame by frame.
All of my percussive videos from this period were by necessity edited in-camera as I did not have access to video editing equipment until the late 1990s. Subsequently, they were copied onto S-VHS or VHS tape for installations and live performances. The videos were also meant to be viewed over 2-6 rotated monitors simultaneously as I had easy, cheap access to used 13"-27" computer monitors from Tacoma thrift stores adding video-sculptural component to the presentations.

The crudeness of the in-camera technique here  was to impose a unique level of performance  pressure (no mistakes!) that was physically difficult (young man's work) as I needed to instantly frame a "still photo", maintain an improvised, linear sensibility, all while considering how each frames would re-align with rotated versions of itself. This also lended a jazz-like magic to the works.

For most projects, I dispensed with the tripod in favor of the
flexibility of manually moving and  rotating the camera but was also drawn to the image instability off the tripod rationalizing that if an object was still, the viewer could tolerate some camera motion as this is natural to human perception. Alternatively, while shooting moving objects, as in December Quivering (1998), the handheld movement was disturbing and a tripod was needed. Even so, in Montana Nash, about half way through, I impulsively put my camera on a tripod and continued, a compositional decision.

From late 1992 on, I was viewing these
almost real-time and rhythmic videos over 2-6 monoiters piled up, rotated and placed at various angles in my Tacoma studio. I was also building
pendulum-based instruments for installation and live performances within range of these stacked videos demonstrating my comfort and connection with fluxes art and artists, mostly in Europe where I often traveled and now live part-time.

As the feasibilty of multi-monitor presentations of these old works no longer exists, my monitors all returned to thrift stores, in 2020 I decided to stick with the original SVHS resolution, 720x480 pixels, and "rotate the monitors virtually" over a 16:9, 1920x1080 pixel canvas. As the physical, sculptural, monitor building blocks were now missing, I fixed sound tracks to the new videos made from the recordingsmade at the time, that is, of me performing sculptural instruments presented live in the 1990s, specifically my Fayfer Harp in Montana Nash. DS 080922


Dan Senn (Prague-Watertown) is a fluxus and 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 cofounded 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. (read more).