[ index | 1970 ]

warner jepson

Warner Jepson was the composer for the [NCET] center after 1972; at first, he worked closely with the artists, putting sound to their tapes, but he has been experimenting all along with images of his own as well. Most of his imagery is generated by audio equipment that has been connected to the video gear. He talks about his latest work:

...I've been doing some things sending an audio signal into a machine we have at the Center called a mixer, a colorizer, and a keyer. It takes audio signals from the oscillator inside the audio synthesizer and changes them into bands of various widths and expansion on the screen and puts color in, so the color gets mixed in gorgeous arrays. I've even begun to use the camera and to mix audio created images with camera images. The audio things will go right through the camera images and make strange new colors.
His idea is to make a work that is totally integrated aurally and visually. He feels the two should complement each other completely. The problem is to balance the work so that both visuals and audio are interesting. He explains:
In a lot of these experiments, I'm not even putting the sound on because the sound is dumb. The thing about sound is, it's so complex that when it's represented in images, the images are so complex, they become chaos. Whereas the simplest sounds make the clearest images... There's a lot of activity in sounds and it becomes blurry visually; it looks like noise. So the simplest sounds, like single tones, make the best images... working with sounds you actually want to use and save is a problem.
Jepson explains the reasons he is looking for direct relationships between sound and image. Many video and film artists make the visual part of their work, and then set it to traditional music to give it structure:
Even going back to the 1920's, the abstract films that were made then relied on sound for their form. Even Walt Disney's Fantasia. Music has always been a moving art, and visuals had always been static, so when visuals got to moving, they needed that form that musicians have solved - it gives support to the visual artists. It's time for visual artists to find their own moving form, pacing, and development, and figure out what they need to do to make an existing work without sound, or with sound, but on its own terms.


The center entered a highly productive period in the spring of 1972. Don Hallock, Bill Gwin, Willard Rosenquist, and Bill Roarty all produced some of their most beautiful tapes. (Some of these tapes will be discussed in the third section of this report.) In the fall, Warner Jepson and Stephen Beck embarked on a concert tour around the country, giving performances with their audio and video synthesizers, respectively.

- Johanna Branson Gill: VIDEO: STATE OF THE ART, 1976

[ index | 1969 ]