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A CONVERSATION ON ELECTRONICS AND BLACK TV

A conversation with Aldo Tambellini and four engineers: 
Charles Bruner, Ronald Reisdorf, John San Pietro and Kenneth Wise

in: VIDEO HISTORY PROJECT | Experimental Television Center Ltd | Newark Valley | USA | April 1968

Tambellini: To dream of structures which can transform, structures in a state of flux structures to float, to constantly change relationship, which like living organisms will grow and transform themselves and react to the environment. The faster man expands in space, the more he expands his senses, the harder it becomes for him to retain and preserve his sense of permanency. Man considers weight mass and size in terms of stability upon this earth. We are impressed by enormous physical size like pyramids, gothic cathedrals, sky-scrapers. The future will deal with energy. Like atomic energy, which is constantly in motion, in the process of fusion. The concept of instability, impermanency, weightlessness will become a part of it. Concepts will become instantaneous, not everlasting but everchanging. Man will adjust to it, he will reshape his environment, his social pattern, he will mutate.

Wise: Everything I'm involved with is impermanent. Everything that happened 20 years ago in electronics is obsolete today We are now at the point where it is computers and television and god knows what else in electronics with lasers. The more we learn, the more impermanent things will become; the more we learn the less physical things we are going to have. What we are going to find in the future will be sophisticated electronically.  We’re going to find that electronics will do our work for us.  With the push of a button, the heat of a hand, all the labor of the world will be eliminated.  And this is going to give man the leisure to sit back and think of art, and the art of communicating with other people.  And this is where you’ll find that the buildings will change and art will be looked at from a different point of view.  An impermanent type of art is in the future.

Bruner: We’re going to have walls made of some sort of cathode ray tube; and by either predetermined or random electronics you will be able to get an art form on the wall which will appear, fade, and another picture will arrive.

Tambellini: Television is a means of communication in the larger sense, which should enable us to relate instantaneously to each other.  It is the case of an impermanent electronic beam capable of exchanging inter-global communications, a medium which should be explored for its speed of light, its instantaneous quality.

Wise: There will be a three dimensional wall where you will sit inside art, sit inside communications.  You’re going to be there.  If a symphony orchestra is going to play, you’ll be sitting front row center.  You’ll see art in a three dimensional form.

Tambellini: Holograms are a kind of form, which projects three dimensionally in space.  You can feel the space around it; yet if you put your hand in it, there is no solid object.  In this case, the old concepts of weight no longer apply.

Reisdorf: I would like to get into the idea of physics and art.  If Tambellini decides there is an aesthetic value to a mu meson, or to an electronic particle traveling through space at the speed of light, this point in time, this thing has force, has vitality, has a sense of being, has essence.  It takes the human mind to apply it as an art form.  This is more or less the human mechanics of unreality applied to a realistic force.  Though it is impossible for the human eye to detect a beam which travels down a tube at the speed of light, through mechanics, through other forms of abstract thought we can control and transmit a beam in an image form.  The image could be controlled by the artist, the engineer, or perhaps the entire society.  Tambellini wants to prove there is a form of art totally in Black, a moving, vital force, temporary but constantly there, constantly available.  He has control over this availability.  It is not the machine that has control of the projection but it is Tambellini’s mind that has this projection.

Wise: What Tambellini has been doing with a little video tape recorder and a monitor has taken the electronic era one step farther and brought it into the home.  An art form, this light and black thing, the pure nature of light which is electronics at birth.  He made a tape recorder do crazy thing, things which normally we try to repair but that he wants to amplify because no one has ever seen this before.

San Pietro: Well the way I see it, Tambellini asked us to put all sorts of wave shapes on the screen.  It wasn’t us that did it, it was him, it was his feeling.  There is a relationship, only we can’t see beyond physical forms.  And he sees in a new dimension.  He wants to create a bridge between the artist and the engineer.

Reisdorf: Tambellini took the giant step forward.  In his case, the by-product of miscalculation has come out of aesthetics.  He has taken the normal disorientation of electrons, put it together and come out with an art form.  Anything conceivable is possible.  There is the idea now that man can possibly someday travel at the speed of light to the planets and back again.  His parts can be reduced and reassembled in wave components through a computer and there you have light energy space travel.  It’s far out.  It’s far fetched.  But one hundred years ago, they weren’t flying, they were just sitting on the beach watching the birds fly by.

Tambellini: As he penetrates deeper into the black nature out there, man will lose his fear and his whole secure concept of stability.  He will move in space as a nomad of the sky.  Yesterday we crawled on four, today we walk on two, tomorrow we will float, and tomorrow is here.  We are born and we die, the body is not permanent.  In the future there will be floating spheres to live in, floating in the sea and sky.  It is not impermanency against permanency, but a realistic approach to the space age based on energy, demanding new solutions.

Source: © http://www.experimentaltvcenter.org/history/tools/ttext.php3?id=29&page=1

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