The National Digital Library Program is an effort to digitize and deliver electronically the distinctive, historical Americana holdings at the Library of Congress. The American Memory Historical Collections, http://memory.loc.gov/a major component of the Library’s National Digital Library Program, are multimedia collections of digitized documents, photographs, recorded sound, moving pictures, and text from the Library’s Americana collections. There are currently 80 collections containing over one million documents in the American Memory Digital Library.
By tapping into the Library’s Digital Americana assets, the Revision History software enables users to observe as these historical documents are endlessly juxtaposed and decimated. These “revised” historical images can then be saved to the user’s storage disk and publicly shown.
The software was written with Max/NATO.0+55 for MacOS 9 and was publicly available for download through three versions, and finally made obsolete in 2005. Future update to MacOS X is under consideration. A full print collection of thousands collages is available for exhibition and/or sale.
- Software Exhibited at The American Museum of The Moving Image, New York, NY in 2004
- Software Exhibited at the “Sculpture Now” Exhibition, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA in 2003
From 1995 to present, I have been doing solo and collaborative live video performances around the world. The period between 2000-2005 was particularly active, touring extensively with my two projects at the time DYAD (with Jasch) and PURE DEKAM (with Peter Votava).
Notable appearences include: Pixelache Helsinki, MUTEK Montreal, Club Transmediale Berlin, Dutch Electronic Art Festival Rottterdam, Sonic Acts Amsterdam, Sonar Barcelona, Test Portal Amsterdam, V2_Center for Unstable Media, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, American Museum of the Moving Image Queens, European Media Art Festival OsnaBrück, AV Fest Newcastle, Le Mois Multi Quebec
Johnny has had several fruitful collaborations with Los Angeles based music producer Steve Nalepa. Most notable was the 2009 twin video releases for the song "4th of July". The video mix published on Nalepa's Flatlands Remixes DVD on 1320Records [available here]
In December, 2007 we created a temporary site-specific installation/performance in downtown Houston, TX. DeKam vs Nalepa was a live outdoor AV performance commissioned by The Mitchell Center for the Arts and The Buffalo Bayou Partnership for inclusion in the CITY SOUNDSCAPES series of public art events along a newly restored section of the Bayou. Steve Nalepa, created & performed a deep dub bass set for the performance. Johnny DeKam activated the underside of the Sabine Street Bridge by using the VMS- Video Moving System. This hardware innovation enabled DeKam to act as lighting designer, taking the video out of the frontal viewed box shaped screen, allowing him to move the video around the beams, girders and trusses of the bridge and onto the audience. DeKam's VJ set was inspired by the industrial nature of the bridge and urban bayou.
DYAD: Sonic Visual Improvisations, is the collaboration between Johnny DeKam and Jasch. We toured throughout Europe & North America between 2001 and 2003. Both artists wrote their own custom software in Max/MSP, each designed to exchange control parameters over a local network, creating a kind of iterative feedback loop (sound controlling video controlling sound etc). The visual performance always included a small set of objects/props shot with two cameras and hand controlled LED lighting. A microphone was trained on the ‘puppet set’ which would be used as a source for audio sampling and manipulation.
Johnny’s DVD project with Jasch “DYAD” has now been included in the permanent collection at laCaixa Mediateca in Barcelona, Spain
Pure / DeKAM was the collaboration between Johnny DeKam and PURE (aka Peter Votava). A feature length DVD was released on the dOc label in cooperation with Mego Records in Austria. The document was created while in a residency funded by the City of Rennes (France), its Art School and Jardin Moderne. 2000 copies were published. "Peaceoff" is the 3rd piece of a trilogy from the DVD. In addition the duo performed many concerts in the first quarter of the decade including Sonic Acts (Amsterdam), Club Transmediale (Berlin) and the European Media Art Festival EMAF (Osnabrück).
Johnny worked with the non-profit organization Musiqa for the opening performance of their 2010 Loft Concert music Series at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston. The show coincided with the exhibition "Dance With Camera". We worked closely with Musiqa to realize Stockhausen's "Vibra-Elufa"as well as Alvin Lucier's composition "The Queen of South" and Andy Pape's "CaDance for Two". This video contains excerpts of the latter two works.
Credits include: Craig Hauschildt and Luke Hubley on percussion, Johnny DeKam and Bree Edwards on video, and audio processing by Chapman Welch. Curated by Anthony Brandt.
54 hours total of movie footage were sampled from broadcast HD movie transmissions at a resolution of 1920x1 pixel resolution, with the horizontal center of the film recorded (@ pixel position #540).
This resulted in a collection of 1080 Quicktime movies, each being 3 minutes in duration.
The 1080 movies were then algorithmically composited into a single movie, one movie per line, for a total 1920x1080 pixels.
Max/MSP/Jitter was used to record the streams at the custom resolution, using a Decklink Intensity Pro analogue input. Compositing was achieved with Apple Motion 3.0 Colorgrading and final output using Magic Bullet Looks in Final Cut Pro.
Johnny created the visual and projection design for this new media opera at the Duderstadt Center in Ann Arbor. With music composed by Alicyn Warren, the approach with Mirror Story was to support a highly narrative theatrical piece without the use of physical set design. Instead, Mirror Story relied completely on high resolution 2K cyclorama projection.
Several of the movements included a special analog audio reactive component, achieved by attenuating musical FFT samples into a high definition audio stream capable of driving a CRT monitor directly with sound (instead of a video signal).
Thanks go out Jacques Mersereau, the staff and crew of the Duderstadt Center for providing the fine documentation.
Completed in 1998, Agents was my initial exploration into aleatoric image composition. The software captured video stills from from classic movies on the TCM Network. Subsequently it would process the images for color , and composite 3 images into a collage. This was done completely autonomously, with thousands of images produced. A small selection is included below.
At the beginning of the performance, blank lengths of paper sufficient to wrap a cylinder (such as a coffee can) are drawn with various marks or gestures, in a manner similar to a piano roll. The paper is affixed to the cylinder, and placed on a standard turntable. A video camera is focused on the cylinder. The camera is connected to a video tracking system which 'sees' the marks and interprets these a musical notes or sounds using a synthesizer or other device. Marks on the Y axis of the cylinder determine pitch, while the X axis determines time. The player can manipulate the speed and direction of the turntable to manipulate the audio/visual loop inherent in the system. A second turntable may be used with vinyl records to mix against the notes. The player may also wish to embellish the sound with effects processing. The player may wish to change to different sheets of paper during the piece. The direction and duration of the piece is indeterminate. The video feed from the tracking system should be projected for the audience to see, as well as any supplementary camera views that may be available.
This piece is from Johnny's early career working at Rensselaer's iEAR studios. Composed and performed in 1996, this is one of the earliest known examples of using video tracking software to create music. The software used at the time was STEIM's Big Eye (shortly after its release) running on a PowerPC 7200 AV. Other gear used: Kurzweil K2000, 2 Technics turntables, Mackie 1202 Audio Mixer, Korg Modular effects pedals, ink pens and of course paper. Video documentation was shot during an MFA performance at Bennington College, VT, mixed live with a WJMX-30 by John J.A. Jannone. (and projected on stage during the performance).