Video, an Audiovisual Medium

2 First Experiments with the Video Signal

The first experiments with television and video took place in the early and mid-1960s. Due to the lack of recording technology, they were conducted with synchronous or time-delayed signal transmission in a closed circuit of input and output. Video pioneers such as Nam June Paik, Steina and Woody Vasulka, and, first and foremost, Skip Sweeney discovered the possibility of delayed feedback early on and achieved strong multiplications of electronic wave forms through video feedback.[1]

They also began intervening in the line configuration by undertaking deliberately non-synchronized changes of direction in the constant vertical and horizontal movements of the video signal, interrupting the broadcasting of image and sound signals, and generating deviations from the televisual raster image (in the standardized formats PAL, NTSC, and SECAM). For this purpose, a television, video cameras, and a recorder were modularly combined, for example, with electromagnets (Paik’s Demagnetizer, 1965), synthesizers (the Paik/Abe Synthesizer, 1969), and image processors (the Rutt/Etra Scan Processor, 1973). This approach was taken with the intention, on the one hand, of testing the variability of electronic wave forms in frequency modulation, by means of which the image content is dissolved into abstract graphic patterns and three-dimensional forms, and, on the other hand, of obtaining more information on the transformation possibilities of processual forms of progression (i.e., the transformation of audio into video, changes of the direction of signal motion).