Ernie Gusella

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Ernest Gusella's videotapes combine experimental engineering, avant garde music, psychedelia and Dadaist theater. As he once put it, "my art is 1/4 fornicalia funk, 1/4 New York punk, 1/4 European bunk, and 1/4 Canadian skunk." With a background in classical music, Gusella immigrated from Canada to the United States where he studied with composers John Cage, Steve Reich and Constantine Xenakis, and became involved with the emerging video art scene through friendships with Nam June Paik and Kitchen founders Steina and Woody Vasulka. Many of Gusella's tapes make use of sound and image processing tools designed by himself, other artists and sympathetic engineers. These include the VideoLab, a voltage controllable, multi-channel switcher, keyer, and colorizer designed by Bill Hearn that was used in Gusella's 1978 work, Exquisite Corpse. Here, a composite image of the artist is created through live switching between shots of different parts of his body. Other works explore the relationship between video and audio signals, often using one to generate or transform the other. In Audio-Video Rituals, jerky boxing movements trigger a range of electronic sounds while in Violin D'Ingres, drawing a self portrait with a marker attached to the bow of a violin produces an indexical sound track. In Gusella's words, "all of my work is about things which turn me on — either visually, mentally or through sound, and are rites of passage to that ultimate future in which all the best aspects coalesce." Ernest Gusella lives in Cumberland, MD with his wife and collaborator, Tomiyo Sasaki.