G.R.I.D. - Works

Publication Type:



Ralph Hocking


The Arnot Museum, Elmira, NY (1986)




Works and statements by Phil Edelstein; John Driscoll; Peer Bode; Ralph Hocking; Curt Dunnam; Peter Chamberlain

The Arnot Museum
The Arnot Museum
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        I was trained in the making and study of pottery and sculpture. The Han Dynasty in China and The Medieval period of England produced what I wanted to do with pottery. Rodin did the same for sculpture. I turned to photography partly because of a lack of patience in the art-making process and partly because the art-was stackable in a small amount of space, Video and computers were the logical next step because they are photography dealing with time and the processes are more immediate than film.   

      Video and computer tools can be used to generate and record images and sound. I welcome the limitations of these tools: A defined two-dimensional space governed by laws perpetuated by the profit motive. Much more understandable than the problems I have with charcoal and paper. Remote control, a concept dear to a child of the Thirties, knobs to twist, switches to flip, images being banged out by little hammers onto paper, and electrons spraying a magical pattern of light before my eyes, The stuff dreams are made of.

      I live in my senses, especially the eyes, and then the ears and touch. Video gives me a connection between these parts and thinking. That's enough. I don't want to change society, protest current conditions, or make sense to others through my art, I do those things in other ways, My art is simply the result of my experience. The work has to do with naked women, sex, machines, and problems related to seeing.

      My early work began with single camera images processed with a keyer and limited special effects generator, When I acquired a Paik/Abe synthesizer in 1972, I began exploring multiple camera images based on mixing, image reversal, horizontal and vertical rate switching and color, The next development was voltage control of the image processing. Most of this work was done in collaboration with Sherleen Miller. I would set up a situation and she would react to her image and I would keep changing the relationships she saw. The main body of the work was concerned with simultaneous views of Sherry in movement or in a single pose. Usually we would use between four and six cameras. Most often the cameras were black and white and the signals were processed through the synthesizer, I often used square waves to control the keyers clip input allowing for offsetting of portions of the images, Most of the work during 1971 to 1978 was not edited. We would do several versions of the same setup, repeat ourselves, rather than try to edit on the decks available to us at that time. Time was not rearranged.

      I am currently working with computer processed frames of video. I have always  had problems with the time aspects of video. I tend to see video as single frames strung in a continuum representing movement in time, which of course it is and should  be, I have a tendency to look at the frames individually and become enamoured with the structure of the individual frame thus losing the sense of continuity needed to  understand time. For now I have given in to the struggle and am concentrating first on the individual frame and secondly on exploring time using more than one frame within the design of a single space. I am still making tapes but they are all based on thinking about the resulting printouts from the computer.

     In the process of this exploration, David Jones and I have developed a computer program that now encompasses twenty-six individual commands ranging from the input of images from tape, disk. or camera to outlines, keying, superimposition, and other traditionally analog video techniques. All of these machine simulations are the result of software commands controlling locations of memory in a frame buffer and the main computer memory thus making it possible to store two frames and have them interact with each other, store the result of the two, add another, and so on. The results are printed on a dot-matrix printer in 256 x 256 resolution. The printing is done with black on white. The shades of grey are dependent on multiple passes in an additive buildup of ink. While I am curious about using color printing I am also somewhat content with the strength of spatial and form definition in the black and white mode.

      In addition to my personal art-making I have been teaching video art-making in the Cinema Department of The State University of New York at Binghamton, New York for the past thirteen years. I am also the founder, president and director of the Experimental Television Center Ltd.. located in Owego, New York. Both of these activities are directed toward the exploration and development of video as a visual art form. The University is a training ground for cinema artists. The ETC Ltd. is a place where practicing video artists work on their individual productions. The ETC Ltd, also has a research and development program concentrating on the invention of low cost analog and digital tools and the development of software to support these tools. The main thrust of the ETC Ltd. is to encourage individual artists to develop a personal studio for their own purposes of video art-making. This is based on my feeling that the artform will not develop fully unless daily contact is possible with equipment necessary to produce the art. As the cost of machines and components declines, we are coming closer to that goal.                          

                                                            Ralph Hocking, 1986.


Generic Real-time Interactive Digital catalog, Arnot Art Museum, July 12 ヨ September 28, 1986

Curated by Peter Chamberlain