Archived entries for Live Image Processing and Performance

Phnom Penh Drift

I first traveled to Cambodia in August of 2004 with faith-based organization Asian Access to meet people, listen to their stories, and document the landscape of this vibrant kingdom. We returned again in 2007 and were impressed by changes occurring all around the capital city of Phnom Penh—new construction, a higher ratio of cars to motorbikes, and newly paved roads to smooth the way for them. Today, as the Khmer Rouge war tribunals proceed, Cambodia seems to be reconciling with its past in the midst of a phase of growth and stability.

Since the last trip, I’ve been meaning to do a project that draws from the archive of video collected along our way as part of an ongoing series of meditations inspired by countries of Asia. My summer class, Live Image Processing and Performance, was just the occasion for this. Applying techniques introduced to us using Max/MSP and Jitter, Phnom Penh Drift explores the topography of Cambodia in fragments of color and light.

The composition is visually structured by an act of wandering beneath a variety of materials stretched over the peripheral corridors of Phnom Penh’s Central Market, Psah Thmei. Fabric, umbrellas, and tarpaulin are the patchwork through which different scenes appear. The direction and speed of this video are determined by cursor movement along the horizontal axis while the vertical axis controls brightness. Finally, sound is generated from scans of the video image processed through a series of oscillators.

As my first full project using Jitter, Phnom Penh Drift allowed me to retrace the threads of a familiar theme in a language that opens up lots of new possibilities. I’m grateful to Luke DuBois for the instruction and offer the Max patch for others to download here.

Cambodia Sketch

The first draft of my final project for Live Image Processing and Performance.

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