UBER ORGAN ( body of life ) (text version 1.30)
Video 30 min 2003
UBER ORGAN ( body of life ), emergent selves, electronic opera, document series ﾅ
Notebooks - machines of production, spaces of thinking, diagrammatic universes, future machine, blocs of ages, epochs ﾅ
Harald Bode developed his work within the traditions of mathematics, physics, philosophy, music ﾅ electronics ﾅ like rocks, like apple pie (streudel) ﾅ
European classical music traditions, pipe organ music, choral traditions ﾅ the virtual voices, vocal modes ﾅ Dreams of Genesis with a vocoderﾅ Harald's father, Max, was a composer, church pipe organist and music teacher. Max's sister studied piano with Franz Liszt. Harald and his new family left
Using one hand built experimental instrument, the digital video frame buffer designed by David Jones, built with Peer Bode, to look at the electronic instruments of Harald Bode, from son to father, invagination, not the mythical theater of Oedipal anxieties, but the father, more positive and productive.
My father, Harald Bode (1909-1986), made and had many organs, Warbo, Melochord, Melodium, Polychord, the Bode organ: UBER ORGAN ﾅ he also had a body without organs ﾅ Ring Modulator, Frequency Shifter, Vocoder, BarberPole Phaser ﾅ The electronic music historian Tom Rhea informed me that Harald Bode was also the father (and mother) of the first modular audio synthesizer. My sense is that makes that system another brother or sister of mine, my mother Irmgard's other child, a member of the family, a cyborg relative of sorts, molecular, machinic, an open ended becoming machine ﾅ.
Real time digital reprocessing, hand built digital video buffer designed by David Jones, built with Peer Bode. Life moves forward and back, so does my digital video frame buffer. 48 frames under computer control and constantly there is a feeding of new digital video into the memory chamber. We see live and stored micro epochs, jumping forward and back in time, performing durations, vibrations, resonances, ﾅ electronic cinematics.
The video UBER ORGAN is an assemblage of several contingent elements:
1948 - Melodium sound recording, North German Radio,
1972 - b+w 1/2" video portapack recordings made by my brother Ralf D. Bode, his wife then Lenore Bode and myself interviewing Harald Bode.
1998 - digitally reprocessed recordings of the interviews and Harald Bode's notebooks of1937 to 1977 at the
2002 - non linear editing performance, Institute for Electronic Arts,
Experimentation ﾅ machinic, material opera.
From 1979 to the present, together with electronic wizard and designer David Jones and prodings and vision from electronic artist and legend Ralph Hocking, who taught me about the ethics of experimentation, I built and worked with the digital video frame buffer FB-1 to make my new media work. Woody and Steina Vasulka together with Walter Wright and Jeffry Schierhave been making work for years using their personally built and wonderful Digital Image Articulator. In 1986 video artist Shigeko Kubota told me that once recorded on video you never die. In 1988 Nam June Paik told me to send my father's studio and archive to
The sound, music, video units on UBER ORGAN were made of blocs of sound recordings that Harald Bode made over many years to explore and demonstrate the capabilities of his new instruments. Andrew Deutsch made wonderful loops and reconstructions of a number of these recordings. Steina Vasulka plays her violin through the Bode Vocoder in Harald's studio. Pamela Susan Hawkins plays her home made single stringed instrument that she has used to control video. I altered, chopped and shifted the interview sounds using L. H. Lowngrad's Amiga Harmonizer program. Collaborations in the Carrier Band with Pauline Oliveros, Andrew Deutsch, and myself brought Pauline's "Deep Listening" focus to reactivating Harald's sounds. I think of the sound players on the UBER ORGAN video as the virtual UBER ORGAN BAND.
Video tape images of the Bode family were shot in 1972 by my brother, New York and Hollywood cinematographer, Ralf D. Bode as well as Lenore Bode, the first female union D.P. in NYC and myself. Ralf and Lenore started with the plan to shoot with a 16mm Ariflex film camera and Nagra sound tape recorder. With the help of my old school friend Lee Belgard I borrowed a brand new, at that time, Sony 1/2" b+w portapack from the
UBER ORGAN ( body of life) is an image and sound performance piece which premiered at the 2002 exhibition " Signals from the Electronic Cloud" at the
Pappi, as I called my father, wanted in his later years, to do a collaboration piece with me. I didn't know how to then. This is a belated gesture to him and to a very good teacher and loved friend. It is also an opportunity through the crossing of life and art to remember and honor my family.
There is a theme that surfaces in all this, of electronic arts and its unique micro and macro time frames, its evolution that is fast as well as decades slow. Harald Bode's Vocoder was a planned project in the late 1930's. It wasn't built until around 1977. The cocoon that kept it going included the notebooks, a strategy of pragmatics, of experimentation with new available and affordable electronic components and systems to make electronic instruments for individuals, having a life, a family, a garden, an eating culture, a music culture etc.
In that context of micro and macro time I also want to acknowledge Sherry Miller and Ralph Hocking for keeping the
After seeing UBER ORGAN I realize there are many artists I could and should acknlowledge. On the video I mention quite a few, a short list. Not on that list is the film artist Ken Jacobs, who I am grateful to for many reasons including his opening up a vital space in the cinema where I and others have been able to now electronically roam. I am also greatful to have had the opportunity to read and reread Barbara Kennedy's remarkable book 'Deleuze and Cinema, the Aesthetics of Sensation' while I was in
One last thought about technology experimentation. In
(The E.T.C. and the I.E.A. are supported in part by the New York State Council on the Arts.)