A couple of weekends ago, while strolling through Moogfest’s Broadway Outdoor area en route to see Giorgio Moroder, I happened upon a pyramidal video installation. Its colorful, glitchy transmissions, simultaneously sacred and cyberpunkish, beckoned me Videodrome-style to gaze upon and enter its embedded TV sets. It turned out that this installation was a giant glitch video synthesizer built by Tachyons+, a collective that builds “custom modified electronics” for video artists.
The Florida-based Tachyons+ was formed in 2012, born out of thrift store and flea market junk. Masterminds Logan Owlbeemoth and Omebi Velouria forged the design project out of a desire to “offer low cost unique video gear to video artists interested in working with analog-based video creativity.” To that end, The Tachyons+ Video Pyramid works by outputting to a HI-8 camera, which users can aim at themselves or at the installation’s TV sets. The camera’s signal is then routed to the TV sets’ cathode ray tubes, which display the results of the user’s knob tweaking. In the words of Owlbeemoth, this allows users to create “all kinds of lovely psychedelic video feedback tunnels.”
Owlbeemoth recently took some time to talk about how he and his team, which also includes video artist Jason MCC, built the Tachyons+ Video Pyramid. He also mused on the art of glitch, video synthesis, and what we can expect to see from Tachyons+ in the near future.
When and how did you come up with the idea for the video synth that became an installation at Moogfest?
We had been seeking a place to do a video installation, and when a friend sent us the Moogfest MAP proposal, ultra-lightbulbs immediately fired up in our heads. What better place to display live, hands-on analog video art to an audience of thousands that fully resides in the spirit of Bob Moog and the experimental electronic dimension. The unreality answer to this question is: Some odd night in a dream, OG video art master Nam June Paik drove up in a bright holographic television and showed us the blueprints while a smiling old man named played organ in the background.
Where is the video pyramid now that its festival debut has come and gone?
It seems that three days at Moogfest is fairly dignified in the life of a video pyramid. A few people have inquired about using it for events, but it’s a pretty big thing to load in and out. At 10 feet by eight feet wide, plus the technical time of connecting it all together correctly, its ultimate fate seems to be eventually used as scrap wood for other projects by Phantomphoton. We could build another one pretty easy if anybody really wanted something like it for an event. Maybe as stage prop for a live band that can afford to carry something like that around?
So, what roles did you, Velouria, and Jason MCC take on with the video pyramid’s construction?
Jason MCC directed the hand construction of the pyramid. He also works as a video artist under the name Phantomphoton, using his own modified vintage video gear to project for live performances. Omebi painted and created the color design. When not working full-time in the Tachyons+ lab, she moonlights as a ambient synth artist under the name of Omebi. I designed the idea of the video pyramid. And when not running Tachyons+, I create music videos for bands. I recently did a video with Gary Numan using Tachyons+ gear.
Read the full interview here.
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