Cracked Ray Tube is a realtime audio/video installation and performative piece by artists James Connolly and Kyle Evans. The project explores the latent materiality of analog video through custom-built digital instrumentation interfaced with the hacked communication networks of both analog video transmission and VGA video signals. Driven by a custom programmed algorithmic digital system that uses malfunction as a methodology and performative platform, visuals information is generated through complex high-frequency waveforms juxtaposed with chaotic and uncontrollable feedback signals as hand-wound electromagnets “wobbulate” the displayed imagery, fully exploiting the CRT’s intrinsically hidden yet vastly complex spectrum of sound, image and color. Cracked Ray Tube revives archaic materiality that has acquired a renewed power and potency in the context of flat screens, slick interfaces, and digital immateriality. It investigates the cathode ray tube not as a dead object of the past, but rather as a symbol of the current material culture of obsolescence; a device that is capable of being revived and hybridized with digital tools to generate genuinely new aesthetic experiences that rouse our residual memories of the analog era while undermining our aesthetic fetishization of the “new”.
James Connolly is a video, sound and new media artist, instrument builder, curator and educator. His videos and real-time performances undermine the interfaces and break through the computational instincts of digital and analog consumer devices, liberating their latent audio and visual materialities. Kyle Evans is a computer musician, electronic instrument creator, realtime video performer and educator. His work ranges from music technology development to multimedia installation and explores relationships between modern and obsolete technologies through breaking and repurposing. URL: crackedraytube.com, jameshconnolly.com, kyleellisevans.com