vertexlist blog is an online extension of vertexList gallery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The content is a collective effort of artists and curators working with vertexList. (

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

"Making 8 BIT" in Sienese Shredder

A brand new art/poetry & culture journal Sienese Shredder launched last thursday at the Cue Foundation in Chelsea. The magazine is published/co-edited by my Dartmouth buddy Brice Brown, who is also an accomplished painter and writer. Sienese Shredder is a beautiful, uber-slick, 250 page book with a CD insert, which will be published annualy. The first issue features work by John Ashbery, Miles Champion, Larry Fagin, Trevor Winkfield (who also is the other co-editor), Jane Hammond and, the "darkest man in history", Joris-Karl Huysmans. I can hardly believe I am in it too!
I was invited to write a short story about "8 BIT", the documentary I directed and recently premiered at MoMa. You can find the magazine in Saint Mark's Bookstore, Spoonbill in Wburg and through their website: www.

Cover image by Don Joint

Below is a couple of paragraphs from my original text which didn't make it into the final article but I'd like to archive... may contain pre-editor errors.

I was sipping a leisurely martini at Open Air in East Village with my friend Chris Burke (aka Glomag). Chris has been playing Game Boy in NYC since the beginning of the century, and that particular night, (perhaps under the influence of Bombay Saphire), he was telling me how everybody thought chiptunes were the scene but didn’t do anything about it. “Somebody should make a friggin movie about this stuff, it’s long overdue,” whimpered Chris. Since I too had a few I immediately decided that I shall be the one to make the "friggin movie".
To be completely honest the longest piece of linear video I worked with before was about 5 minutes: I used video clips as part of my generative software pieces and installations, so I had a decent idea how to point the camera, shoot and edit it. Little did I know, that what was conceived that night as a little expose about the New York chiptune scene in would eighteen months later become a feature length piece about so much more then the music and New York.
Of course nobody took my claims seriously, as I am known to colorize my statements under the influence of alcohol. Somehow this time I was firm in my intentions. I thought that the phenomenon was genuinely exciting, unique and lets face it: I was really digging the music. So I sat down with a piece of paper and started putting together thoughts, names, ideas. Very soon I realized that Game Boy music was so exotic to an average viewer that just showing guys playing music without explaining it wouldn’t do much good. I had to go deeper; get into cracking games, the demo scene, original chiptunes, and many other things, which I didn’t even anticipate. I figured one discovery would lead to another, and eventually I would get to the core of it all. I also realized that the scope of the project has outgrown me; I needed a good producer who would be into the material as much as me.
A couple of weeks later, with a loose concept of my documentary, I approached Justin Strawhand, the CEO of Mutationengine production company in Jersey City. I knew Justin from NJCU where I teach digital media. I liked his work and was confident that if anyone could handle this project technically and deal with my lack of focus that would probably be Justin. We tossed the idea around; finally I came up with a somewhat more conclusive timeline concept, where the content was organized around several semi-independent chapters. I decided to start interviewing people from my list and let the meaning slowly define itself. The final topic of the project was music and art influenced by video games, far beyond the original idea from Open Air. Suddenly visual arts became as much a part of the equation as music, which was only a natural progression: demos were both visual and sound pieces.

So check out Sienese-Shredder, it is plenty of reading; and I promise it is all better than mine:)

I also thought I would include a picture of Brice Brown from college, just to remind (and embarrass) him about the old good times before Chelsea, when he wore Kmart and our band Red Van rocked Phi Delta.. Cheers!


At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, he sure is a hot piece of ass, then and now.


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