Archive for the ‘Noh TV’ Category

Noh TV

October 17, 2009

Kabuki by David Mack [1984] Caliber Press.


“In the story, there is a kind of interdependence between the organized crime, corporations, government, and media. And there is a government agency that polices that interdependence. It is an agency called the Noh. The Noh also has its own television channel called Noh TV in which it exerts its influence by soft power or cultural power. With characters clothed in nationalistic iconography and cultural masks. The general populace believes these characters to be kind of media idol talking heads about the daily propaganda. But there are also rumors that the masked animations on the news are also operatives of the media that keep the scales balanced between the organized crime corporations and the political pundits if they go too far in either direction.”

– David Mack, from an interview with

I remember seeing the comic in a store off Harvard Square in 1995. I never picked up a copy. I used Noh TV 15 years earlier for a gig in Southern Michigan. I made a couple of VHS tapes on my Amiga 2500. Later I released a series of cassette tapes of improvised music using the name Noh TV.

Neither organized crime, corporations, government, nor media had anything to do with the name. I was teaching computer graphics, film theory, and video and sound production at William James College. I made multilayered films with a Fuji single8 camera, recorded in a multitrack audio recording studio and wrote algorithms for generating ‘art’ in Assembler, Basic, Fortran, Forth and APL. My ‘process’ was simple and formal.

Preparing a film theory lecture, I read that Eisenstein, and other Russian Constructivists, were influenced by Japanese Theater. I discovered Noh Theater. It combined narrative with music and dance. It’s process was simple and formal. Strangely architectural, Noh was a good model for a new theater that layered narrative over electro-acoustic music, video and dance. I called this new theater Noh TV.