Sunday, July 12, 2020


[Please see below for the script for my latest video, as seen above.]

(black screen)

Do not adjust your device, or do not adjust it any more than you already have. Your screen has been intentionally left blank.

However, that might change, so don’t look away either. This is not a podcast, and this is not radio. This is a video.

This isn’t a confidence trick either. Videos need pictures, but my conscious decision to put nothing on screen still leaves a picture frame. I may also change my mind.

Mind you, that frame is never empty – even if your screen is turned off, it still reflects light. In 1951, the artist Robert Rauschenberg painted a series of canvasses with white house paint, but those paintings are not blank, for the brush strokes played off the ambient conditions in the room, and off anyone that looked at them.

The following year, Rauschenberg’s friend John Cage composed the musical piece “4’33”” [pronounced “four minutes, thirty-three seconds”] which of course, is not four minutes, thirty-three seconds of silence: it is composed for any instrument, any band, any orchestra, but while the players do not play, the room, and the audience, plays with them.

Ideally, you want your work to be received hot, rather than cold, but I will explain that later.
I actually found this blank screen online, but in searching the term “blank screen”, I either get this:

(white screen)

Or this:

(black screen)

I recently bought a new television, and the energy-saving options actually affected how it dealt with the difference between black and white. When a video cut from black to white, or even if white text is added to a black screen, my television faded it in instead. For me to see a video properly, I have to turn off all of its fancy processing features... and set the picture mode to “sports,” for some reason. So, if I cut to a white screen:

(white screen)

And back again:

(black screen)

...and your screen faded instead, your settings are not acting in my best interest.

Video crosses over with both film and television, but these two media are not the same: as classified by Marshall McLuhan, in his book “Understanding Media,” there is “hot” media, and there is “cold” media, according to how much participation is required of the audience. For McLuhan, film is “hot”: the picture is dominant, and you are ideally in a cinema, so you are captivated by the image, because less is required of you to remain captivated. On the other hand, television is “cool”: there are more distractions, and you have to take account of this before you can start paying attention to whatever is coming from the TV. Films can be shown on television, but “hot” media cannot be rendered “cool” – making it harder to focus on a film may make it impossible to watch, missing out on detail television knows not to include.

When I next make a video, do I want to be hot, or do I want to be cool?

Thank you for watching. As ever, the nostalgia culture crisis continues at  [].

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