Cracked Ray Tube is a collaborative hardware hacking project by artists Kyle Evans and James Connolly. The project creates a synchronized audio/video environment self-generated by the feeding back of communication networks between two obsolete technologies⎯analog televisions with their video transmitters and CRT computer monitors and their VGA video signals. The red, green, and blue video signals of the VGA cable are processed and fed back through a sound mixer simultaneously generating the audio and video information that is received, deciphered and displayed by multiple computer monitors. Additionally, transmitted video is distorted through physical contact with handmade circuitry utilizing the capacitance of the human body as a control interface, and by electromagnetic flexing and folding of high-powered electron beams within modified televisions. The collaborative performance is partially done while crossing systems, sending VGA outputs to television inputs and vice versa (as well as the performers physically switching instruments mid-way through), which increases the plurality of audio/video material and unpredictability of controls and results. Influenced by experimental media artists such as Nam June Paik, the project exploits the materiality of analog audio and video signals pronouncing the technology’s intrinsically hidden yet vastly complex spectrum of sound, image and color.
Elements of Cracked Ray Tube’s system will be adjusted in response to the dancers in Variations V:
-CRT’s system will be set up to run in its chaotic feedback loops as it does during live performances. Moments of controlled signal generated by the movements of dancers and the work of other performers will be sent through the system.
-Sine waves of 60 Hz and harmonics of 60 Hz sent to the electromagnets in the televisions and computer monitors will be triggered by dancers movements when they obstruct light from hitting various light-resistant photocells placed throughout the performance space.
-Dancers obstructing light from hitting certain light-resistant photocells will trigger square wave frequencies that generate vertical bars in the VGA computer monitors at certain parts of the performance.
-Dancers obstructing light from certain light-resistant photocells will trigger video that will be transmitted to the televisions at certain parts of the performance.
-Audio signals generated from other audio elements of the sound environment (synthesizers, tape recordings, contact microphones placed on various objects, etc.) could be sent to the VGA monitors to generate video and audio.
-Video of the dancers captured in real time during the performance could be sent to the televisions and computer monitors affecting their audio and video.