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Steina and Woody Vasulka fonds

Series: Digital Image Articulator and Multi-Level Keyer


Digital Image Articulator and Multi-Level Keyer. - (1975-1979). - 0,65 meter of technical drawings and other documents.

Scope and content:

In the early seventies, videomaker Woody Vasulka began following the development in digital technologies closely, while primarily using analog tools (keyers, switches, colourizers) to manipulate video signals. A digital multi-channel keyer, the Multi-Level Keyer, was designed and built by George Brown in 1973 at the request of Steina and Woody Vasulka. A computer interface was added in 1977 to simplify the control, storing and triggering of programmed sequences (see Operating Mode). The Vasulkas still have one copy of the Keyer at their residence in Santa Fe (NM, United States).

Around 1976, Woody acquired an LS-11 microcomputer to begin programming video signals with binary code. Thanks to a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts, he teamed up with physicist Don MacArthur and computer scientist Jeffrey Schier, who helped him build and operate the Digital Image Processor. At this stage, the device was a prototype, but its components would later be recycled within the complex structure of the Digital Image Articulator. Don MacArthur was mainly responsible for the infrastructure of the analog digital converters. Videomaker Walter Wright joined the team and devised the first programming schemes. That same year, Jeffrey Schier and Woody Vasulka designed the Digital Image Articulator (also known as the Imager, Vasulka Imaging System and Emulsifier), which improved the interface between the hardware and software components of the Image Processor. Tested by Steina and Woody Vasulka between 1979 and 1987 in many different videotapes, the Digital Image Articulator remained at the prototype stage.

This series brings together the original schematics and technical drawings related to the design of the Multi-Level Keyer and the Digital Image Articulator. It primarily consists of notes taken by Jeffrey Schier during the preliminary research to convert analog signal into binary code and program the resulting video information. The series also contains detailed technical drawings of each tool's hardware components at the prototyping stage. In addition, certain files include documents resuming the commands of the Arithmetic Logic Unit (ALU), the Boolean software added to the interface of the Digital Image Articulator. The content of some technical drawings and notes is summarized in the instruction manual of this tool.

Title based on the content of the series. - Documents in English. - Originals and reproductions. - The person who processed the documents established the arrangement of items in each file.

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Vincent Bonin © 2005 FDL