Looks like the Paik/Abe

I made a dozen different kinds of video loops to use with the new mixer patch. I have short loops, long loops, slo-mo and speeded-up loops. I have one-shot loops, forward and back loops and ‘bowties.’ In the process turning some of them b&w, posterizing and solarizing.

Here are the results –

image07  image08

image09  image10

image11  image12

I thought, “These images look like they were made on the Paik/Abe!” What’s a Paik/Abe?

The Paik/Abe was the first video synthesizer build at WGBH in Boston in 1969 by Nam June Paik and Shuya Abe. A year or so later Paik and Abe built another synthesizer at the Experimental Television Center in Binghamton, NY. That was the machine I used at the ETC in 1971. It has 2 major components – a magnetic scan modulator and a colorizer. The colorizer has 7 b&w video inputs. Each input can be toggled positive/negative and passes through a non-linear amplifier that on high-gain ‘solarizes’ the image. The signals are then mixed together and the result input to a standard a color encoder. The result is a layered image in which the original b&w signals were subtly washed with color.

Could these images be created on the Paik/Abe? I think not. However, after looking at them for a couple of days I know why I thought of the Paik/Abe. First, the video loops that were input to the mixer were solarized. I can’t remember another video processing system that does this. It’s unique to the Paik/Abe. Second, the video inputs were mixed or blended without keying. Other video systems had keyers built in. The Jones Colorizer had clipping controls that cut out parts of the image. The video output of the Paik/Abe was like a watercolor painting and output of the Jones Colorizer was more like a collage.

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