CREATING TIME-BASED MEDIA ARRANGEMENTS USING DISTINCTIVE
Scott Foresman Brett Bagus
B.A., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2000
A thesis submitted to the
University of Colorado at Denver
in partial fulfillment
of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Recording Arts
A Portfolio for the Master of Recording Arts
Scott Foresman Brett Bagus
has been approved by
Bagus, Scott Foresman Brett (M.A. Recording Arts)
Creating Time-based Media Arrangements Using Distinctive Film Content
Portfolio directed by Assistant Professor Leslie Gaston
Creating Time-based Media Arrangements Using Distinctive Film Content
documents the planning and creation of three collaborative audio/visual
compositions. The works consist of strategically dissected audio tracks and
their corresponding video frames. The pieces progress from stereo audio
and a single video to multi-channel audio (4.1 surround sound) accompanied
by four simultaneous videos. Each selection provides an immersive
orchestral arrangement of dialogue and sound bits extracted from genre-
specific films. All of the audio and video clips are native to one another,
confronting the viewer with a conceptual and visually rhythmic composition.
This portfolio serves to document the significance of the included time-based
This abstract accurately represents the content of the candidates portfolio. I
recommend its publication.
I dedicate this portfolio to my father, Stuart, and to my grandparents, Al and
Rita, who have always supported my creative explorations and academic
pursuits... and encouraged me to follow through until the end.
I would like to thank my friend and collaborative partner Kelly Monico for
approaching me to synthesize our creativity and project it into the universe.
I would also like to thank the late Richard Sanders for taking me under his
wing as an advisee and encouraging me to create a more efficient way to
extract the ENF from recordings. Thank you to my current advisor, Leslie
Gaston, who has not only been accommodating and influential in completing
this portfolio, but who has guided me through several other audio-related
obstacles. Finally, I wish to thank Daniel Koetting and Hans Rosenwinkel for
serving on my committee and reviewing my portfolio.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
2. REVIEW OF THE COMPOSITIONS................................10
The Quiet Man........................................10
A. Denver Post References The Quiet Man..................19
B. ZEMOS98 Details for The Quiet Man (web)........21
C. VIDEOMEDEJA Exhibition Listing for The Quiet Man (web).22
D. Ruckus Exhibition Details (web)..................23
E. Sociometry Fair Flier............................24
The purpose of this document is to chronicle and defend a series of
three audio/video collaborations that I participated in between the spring of
2008 and the spring of 2009. In January of 2008 I was approached by new
media artist and designer, Kelly Monico, to see if I would be interested in
working on a multidisciplinary time-based media art installation.1 Upon
receiving positive feedback locally and nationally, we collaborated two more
times, successively varying technical characteristics. Our intention was to
create a unique point-of-view by creating rhythmic collages out of genre-
specific films. The workflow is different than most video production and
editing projects because we used existing footage and created anomalous
features by editing with audio as the primary focus while the native video
accompanied the chosen sounds. When we created our third piece,
1 In 2005 Kelly Monico received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the Electronic Media Arts
and Design Program at the University of Denver and in 1997 her Bachelor of Arts degree
from the University of Minnesota. Her interactive art and videos have been shown
internationally at film, performance and interactive media festivals and exhibitions. She is
currently an Assistant Professor of Art in the Communication Design and Digital Art program
at Metropolitan State College of Denver.
Hitchcock Heroine, our focus switched to a more complex use of space by
creating in a 4.1 audio environment accompanied by four simultaneous
images. As artists, we chose to depict certain messages that could be
deducted from each film, and we addressed a common conceptual theme that
pertained to each work.
Traditional visual art is stationary and often depends on a source of
light for illumination. Electronic media has renovated the traditional idea by
using light itself as the media. Since the early twentieth century, artists have
used neon, fluorescent, laser, and other forms of electric light as bona fide
artistic media, often in ways that incorporate motion and time (Shanken 14).
The incorporation of motion and time in visual art morphs rapidly as we move
further into the twenty-first century with the advancement of computers,
software, and other technical innovations. Furthermore, electronic media has
played a role in the juxtaposition of disciplines such as design, art, music,
dance, and electrical, mechanical, and audio engineering. Parallel to general
advancements in technology, the progression of digital sound and music was
expedited by musical experiments by artists such as John Cage, Pierre
Schaeffer, Brian Eno, and Laurie Anderson. Cage and Schaeffer both
composed using existing materials or found sounds. The work of these artists
foreshadowed the ability of current devices to copy and remix existing audio/
video files (Paul 133). Eno and Anderson created environments and
installations that blurred the distinction between audio and video realms and
paved the way for interdisciplinary creations by individuals or collaborations.
While Cage, Schaeffer, Eno, and Anderson were some of the pioneers
of modern sound art or sonic art, the roots go back the works of the Futurists,
an Italian art movement of the early 1900s. While falling short of outlining a
new form of art based on noises or sound, the Futurists manifesto, The Art
of Noises states that there should be no barriers or distinctions between
musical sounds and industrial sounds, including those from warfare. It was
written by painter Luigi Russalo in the form of a letter to the composer
Francesco Pratella (Gibbs 22-23).
Defining sonic art and its practice is a slippery task at best. The
distinction between music and art is not always easily identifiable. Musicians
often claim that certain works are a sub-set of music considered sound art,
while at the same time some fine artists claim sound art as a category within
their own discipline. Tony Gibbs states that sonic art covers a huge range of
creative activities, many of which have absolutely nothing to do with music
save that, like music, the audience experiences the finished work by hearing
it (8). Gibbs further attempts to define sound art as follows:
A work that seems to communicate with its audience through
sound or be informed by ideas that are based upon sound
would be a work of sonic art; by contrast, a work that happens
to make sounds as a by-product of another activity (as many
kinetic works do) or that has no conceptual reference to sound
would not. (11)
Sound art is digital art and my collaborative partner, Kelly Monico states that it
is problematic to claim that all digital art can be defined neatly into separate
categories of content, form, and creator. Digital art is in every way
interdisciplinary and should have no definitive boundaries (Monico).
Some contemporary artists whose works fall under the wide scope that
sonic art encompases are Britains Robin Rimbaud, a.k.a. Scanner, Vicki
Bennett, Max Eastley, Janek Schaefer, and Knut Aufermann.
Scanner became well known as a sonic artist due to his use of
intercepted radio and mobile phone signals and using them as instruments in
his live compositions. His work has progressed to focus on sounds (and
images) that are usually concealed from the public which he integrates into
his performances and installations. In 2004 Rimbaud was commissioned by
Tate Modern to collaborate with Stephen Vitiello on Sound Surface, Tates first
sonic arts work.
Vicki Bennett has been making radio broadcasts, CDs, and audio/
video (A/V) multimedia for 16 years (Gibbs 44). All of her works are made on
her Apple Powerbook, utilizing Digidesign ProTools, Adobe After Effects, and
Final Cut Pro. Similar to the works in this portfolio, Bennett animates and
recontextualizes (Gibbs 44) found footage. She has shown her work Tate
Modern in London, the National Film Theater, Purcell Room, the Institute of
Contemporary Art in Philadelphia, the Sydney Opera House, Pompidou
Center, Sonar in Barcelona, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Max Eastley combines visuals, music, and sound sculptures into a
novel art form. In 1999 He was a research fellow at John Moores University
in Liverpool and performed at ICC Tokyo (Intercommunications center). In
2000 he exhibited six installations at Sonic Boom. The Art of Sound at the
Hayward Gallery in London. Sonic Boom featured the use of sound in
connection with visual media by contemporary artists. Eastley exhibited at the
Festival de Arte Sonoro in Mexico City in 2002, and at Cologne, Germany in
2004. He is still producing sonic art that shows around the globe.
Janek Schaefer sent a sound-activated dictaphone through the post
office while studying architecture at the Royal College of Art in London. The
sound-fragmented noises were part of a work titled Recorded Delivery which
was made for an exhibition curated by former postman, Brian Eno. The work
was his stimulus to switch his focus to sonic art. Janek invented and built
custom record players and created recordings, installations, and concerts
using found sound. In 2004 Janek won a distinction at ARS Electronica for his
random-play LP Skate. He has exhibited, lectured, and performed around the
world and his Triphonic Turntable is listed in the Guiness Book of World
Records as the Worlds Most Versatile Record Player (Gibbs 54).
German-born Knut Aufermann studied audio engineering in London
and received a Masters degree in Sonic Arts from Middlesex University in
2002. From 2002-2005 he managed Resonance104.4fm, a London-based
radio-art station. He has played hundreds of concerts across Europe playing
improvised electronic music with various groups. In 2004 Knut curated and
played in a UK tour called Feedback: Order From Noise, alongside American
sonic artist and composer Alvin Lucier and Japanese electronic musician
Otomo Yoshihide. Knut lectures at the Universities of Brighton and Central
Saint Martins, curates for the European radio territories project, and directs
workshops for the British Council, Dutch Art Institute, and Profile Intermedia.
Often, sonic art can also be music and visual art can be design. The
inverse is not always true. Technology and/or instruments(musical or tools)
are the medium or platform in which all of the preceding are created. Hybrid
art merges technology with traditional artistic media such as painting,
sculpture, film, performance, music, and photography. Therefore hybrid artists
are artists that are drawn to the mediums and technology of other disciplines.
My hybrid artistic discipline comprises musical composition and performance,
as well as the recording, editing, and production of audio and video. Kelly
Monicos hybrid artistic discipline includes film, painting, digital media art, and
design, as well as the ability to create and edit with the tools used in film,
digital media art, print, web media. By combining our disciplines, we are
expanding the possibilities for experimentation and innovation in digital art,
which includes sonic art.
In order to preserve our individual methods of self-expression without
compromising our collaborative vision, we implemented some production
rules to create unified pieces: each work employs rhythm and sustains
graphic continuity, each piece incorporates repetition (which magnifies certain
clips), and each piece sustains a narrative so certain aspects of character
development or motifs become apparent. We worked independently but
passed the files back and forth. Because editing at the scale I was working in
was so time consuming we agreed that we would not delete any content that
previously existed. After choosing each film and agreeing on some basic
conceptual visions, Kelly would begin by extracting one to three-minute clips
from each film using Techspansions Visual Hub.2 These clips were then
dumped into an Apple iMovie project in chronological order to be viewed and
manipulated by me. Upon creating a rhythm, I would pass the project back to
Kelly for feedback and suggestions. By subjectively examining the piece, she
helped me recognize whether the work was conveying the point-of-view that
we were trying to express. After agreeing upon any changes or additions, I
would implement them and we would continue this process until we had a
finished work. We both worked with Apple DVD Studio Pro 4.2 to create
looping DVDs which we used to show our work at art galleries and festivals.
Kelly also created a black template in Adobe Photoshop that I imported into a
track in Apple Final Cut Pro 6.0 in order to separate the four videos used in
Hitchcock Heroine. Our first two collaborations, The Quiet Man and
2 Visual Hub is compression and encoding tool for Mac OSX. It has been discontinued but its
successor, FilmRedux is available in open-source code format.
Battlestar were created in iMovie, while our final work, Hitchcock Heroine
was created using Final Cut Pro.
While working in iMovie and Final Cut Pro to create the A/V rhythms, I
reviewed the clips that Kelly extracted from the films (DVDs) that we worked
with. I would choose words, phrases, percussive sounds, and some melodic
sounds that I could use to create an audio rhythm. Some of the clips were
only a few frames long. I used two stereo audio tracks while working in iMovie
and eight stereo audio tracks while working in Final Cut pro. Audio levels
were automated and muted during certain moments of the projects. I used
some equaliztion and filters on the audio in order to make certain sounds or
voices more audible. There was no processing on the accompanying video.
When a section of each project was complete, I would export it as a
Quicktime movie with no compression. I would then import the new Quicktime
file to work with because selecting and moving many small clips lead to some
gaps and shifting of the audio and video. This process continued until I felt the
piece was complete.
Review of the Compositions
The Quiet Man
My first collaborative work, The Quiet Man is a recontextualization of
the 1952 Oscar winning movie of the same title. It is a love story that stars
Maureen OHara and the legendary John Wayne. The story is set in Ireland
and focuses on a tumultuous relationship which is constantly in upheaval over
the brides marriage dowry. The couple doesnt need money, so the groom
doesnt understand why its important. By dissecting and reanimating a
combination of of the audio and video tracks from the film, we created a
rhythmic arrangement of audio and visual patterns, while collectively
presenting notions of feminism, cultural identity and the historical roles of
American icons. I collaborated with Professor Monico for the Metro Biennal
which showcased of over forty artists who teach at Metropolitan State College
of Denver. This work recieved praised in The Denver Post3 in February of
2008 and was also shown in the Zemos984 International Festival in Sevilla,
3 see appendix A for the full article
4 see appendix B for online exhibition details
Spain, the VIDEOMEDEJA5 International Video Festival in Novi Sad, Serbia,
and in Ruckus, Repeat, Ruckus: Visual Noise6 at the Lab in Denver,
The use of rhythm in The Quiet Man is suggestive of a profound
representation of cultural Ireland which has strong roots in folk and traditional
dance music. The title of the film and this piece is ironic because neither one
is in fact, quiet. The slapping, slamming, hitting, and yelling hint at violence
in John Wayne films and explore early ideas about feminism and gender roles
in terms of patriarchy, objectification, and equality. Because the work is a
collaboration, it has the potential to appeal to a widely varied audience. This
opens the doors for interpretation and in turn makes the work more powerful
than initially intended.
5 see appendix C for online exhibition listing
6 see appendix D for online exhibition details
Battlestar Galactica was set in the seventh millennium of time and
chronicles part of a thousand-year war between a race of robots known as
Cyclons and humans. After betraying a truce, the Cyclons destroy most of the
twelve human colonies and their protective base-ships called Battlestars. The
1978 film documents the collection of survivors by space-fleets from the
remaining Battlestar, Gallactica, and their attempts at survival and peace. The
plot is laced with romance, politics, and alliances between robots and aliens.
Our artistic reconceptualization of the film aimed to confront the viewer with
questions about gender roles, political-hierarchy, and the stereotypical
portrayal of the womanizing male hero present in 1970s kitsch action films.
We showed this piece at the Sociometry Fair at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in
Chicago, IL in June of 2008.7
While Battlestar flaunts Lieutenant Starbucks role as a Cassanova, it
also suggests some intimate moments between him and other men. The
piece identifies the dichotomy between the serious nature of war and the
7 see appendix E for official event flier
playful nature of some of its main cast members. This is achieved by
exploiting Lieutenant Starbucks flirtatious engagements with various women
interwoven with explosions, flying fighters, and battle countdowns. The
repetition of Starbucks name in the work suggests that he important to many
people in many ways. This repetition along with the comment I wish he could
be my daddy by a young boy promotes his role as a male-authority figure or
hero to the viewer. The clip where Lieutenant Starbucks comrade claims,
Starbuck, you promised, and is promptly hushed by Starbuck, implies that
the sexuality of the male hero may be more flexible than commonly portrayed
in 1970s action films.
The main focus of this project was to continue the process which we
had previously implemented and expand on it and advance it in the technical
domain. We achieved this by using four movies simultaneously instead of one
and using eight channels of stereo audio mixed into 4.1 surround sound for
presentation to our audience. I chose to work with four channels to have an
independent speaker for each film. This is an uncommon way to present
multichannel audio for film but I wanted each video projection to have its own
unique audio track that occupied its own use of space and time. When
walking in front of each projection and its respective speaker, I wanted the
listener/viewer to be able to quickly move between and experience our
conceptual vision in the realms of hearing, sight, and the mind. Collectively,
the four speakers and their respective projections create a unified experience
Hitchcock Heroine features the leading female figures from four
Alfred Hitchcock films; Psycho, Stage Fright, Notorious and Rebecca, each
presented in reverse chronological order.8 Hitchcock's films are known for
their instrumental use of the heroine, however, when the story-line is peeled
away, the audience is left with a transparent examination of the heroine. The
spectator takes a role in the analysis of Hitchcocks films and their portrayal of
women, sometimes as voyeurs, and sometimes through self identification.
Tania Modleski points out that in Rebecca:
...the camera insists on the heroines point of view as she
descends the stairs looking at the people... the interchange is
filmed with progressively tighter closeups suggesting the
claustrophobia experienced by the heroine... It might thus be
said that the spectator is here forced to undergo an experience
analogous to that of the heroine: both she and we are made to
experience a kind of annihilation of the self, of individual identity,
through a merger with another woman; (Modleski 49)
Similarly the spectator of Hitchcock Heroine experiences multiple identities,
themes, and points of view, which are often gender specific. Without plots, the
four films in the piece expose the dependent and subsistent nature of the
heroine figures. Dark and negative phrases such as you have nothing to live
for, I hate you, Ill go away, I feel desperately sorry for you, and He
doesnt want you, he doesnt need you convey the eternal suffering of the
heroine and the loss of identity in becoming a wife and mother. The shower
curtain clip and the images of women wearing make-up and curls reveal the
concept of the fetishized female female, that remains a vital component of the
8 Psycho-1960, Stage Fright- 1950, Notorious- 1946, Rebecca-1940
Sonic art is gaining momentum as a movement yet still lacks a
concrete definition. At the same time, it has gained notoriety around the world
and has been featured in festivals, galleries, events, and museums. It has
been displayed amongst other works of traditional mediums and digital media
Festivals such as Sonic Boom focus solely upon sound art. The collaborative
pieces that I took part in fall within this category. The process and content is
audio-centered and the works use technology as a method of expression,
which is a main factor in defining any digital art. As a body of work, these AA/
collaborations explore some common themes including gender roles. Similar
to the works of the sonic artists referenced in this portfolio, our collaborations
have been reviewed in the press and shown locally, nationally, and
internationally. Each piece embodies a documentable concept and explores a
unique point of view.
If I could turn back time, there a few things I would have done
differently regarding my work in this portfolio. I would have made higher
quality extractions and encodings of the video clips through out the process. I
also would have used Final Cut as my editing software for all of the pieces. I
believe I could have avoided the audio clicks that are apparent in The Quiet
Man and Battlestar if I had created and edited them in Final Cut. I am
pleased with our collaborative process and my individual editing process
would have remained the same.
ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Metro State faculty show worth a look
By The Denver Post
Like most such faculty presentations, "Metro Biennial, a showcase of more than 40 works by
artists who teach at Metropolitan State College of Denver, contains a mix of the good,
disappointing and easy to ignore.
Highlights of the short- lived show, which runs through Saturday at the Emmanuel Gallery on
the Auraria campus, include:
Tonia Bonnell never fails to impress with her unassuming, intimate intaglio prints. She is
represented here by a pair of 2-by-3-inch abstractions the airy delicacy of "3/Rise vividly
contrasted with the contained turbulence and bold relief of "11/Storm."
Morgan Price's two stunningly executed, emotionless monotypes, which depict ungrounded
wrestling figures against an orangish, blank background, have an appealingly contemporary,
au courant feel.
Working like dance choreographers, Kelly Monico and Scott Bagus isolate 10 or so key
movements from "The Quiet Man" and then rhythmically arrange them to make a highly
"Metro Biennial" is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Admission is
The Quiet Man
1 min. 30 seg.
Formato de Realization:
Formato de Presentation:
Estandar de color:
Fecha de Produccion:
enero de 2008
Ciudad de Produccion:
Pais de Produccion:
By dissecting a combination of video and audio tracks in the classic John Wayne film, we
collaboratively created a rhythmic arrangement of visual and audio patterns, while collectively
exploring notions of feminism, cultural identity and the historical roles of American icons.
The Quiet Man
Kelly Monico, Scott Bagus
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Monlco, Bagus: The Quiet Man
By dissecting a combination of video and audio
tracks In the classic John Wayne film, we
collaboratlveiy created a rhythmic arrangement of
visual and audio patterns, while collectively
exploring notions of feminism, cultural identity and
the historical roles of American icons.
Kelly Scr.'tt 3a;-_^ The Quiet Man : The Quiet Man
1 of 2
11/22/09 9:00 PM
Ruckus, Repeat, Ruckus: Visual Noise
the lab notebook videos & podcasts photo album
address and phone directions hours of operation admission belmar
contact us press students artists dogs jobs
RUCKUS, REPEAT, RUCKUS: VISUAL NOISE
POOP DECK PROJECT 4
JUNE IB-JULY 20, 2008
RUCKUS, REPEAT, RUCKUS is a video art exhibition that
explores the spectacular and dynamic dimensions of the
digital art medium. Artists in this exhibition find artistic forms
that engage with the widespread and fast-paced display of
media in mass culture. The metaphor of noise is meant to
suggest an urban environment, a background feature that
nevertheless persists in making its presence felt an
aesthetic experience that is neither contemplative nor
decorative, but continually draws attention to itself.
Phillip Faulkner. Still, Backgrounds. 2008
Hln keeping with the theme of visual noise, works in the
exhibition are more abstract than narrative and more
sensory-based than conceptual. They were selected on the
basis of compelling visual and audio effects and imagery.
Josh Fishbum, Stil. Prana. 2006
RUCKUS, REPEAT, RUCKUS: Visual Noise is sponsored by Rubi Rey Rum and the66coilective, an art entity
supported by Rubi Rey.
1 of 2
11/22/09 7:40 PM
Chicago IL, 'i/.S.A.
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Battlestar Galactica. Screenplay by Glen A. Larson. Dir. Richard A. Colla.
Prod. John Dykstra and Winrich Kolbe. Perf. Richard Hatch, Dirk
Benedict, Lome Greene, Herb Jefferson Jr., Maren Jensen. Glen A.
Larson Productions and Universal TV, 1978.
Gibbs, Tony. The Fundamentals of Sonic Art and Sound Design. Switzerland:
AVA Publishing, 2007.
Goldsmith, Kenneth. Bring Da Noise: A Brief Survey of Sound Art. New
Music Box. American Music Center, 1 Mar. 2004. web. 5 Oct. 2009.
Holman, Tomlinson. 5.1 Surround: Up and Running. Boston: Elsevier, 2000.
Modleski, Tania. The Women Who Knew Too Much. New York, NY:
Routledge, Chapman & Hall, Inc., 1989.
Monico, Kelly. Personal Interview. Oct. 2009.
Morton, David. Off the Record: The Technology and Culture of Sound
Recording in America. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2000.
Notorious. Screenplay by Ben Hecht. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Prod. Alfred
Hitchcock. Perf. Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis
Calhern. Vanguard Films for RKO Radio Pictures, 1946.
Paul, Christiane. Digital Art. London: Thames & Hudson, 2003.
Psycho. Screenplay by Joseph Stefano. Dir. Alfred Hitchcock. Prod. Alfred
Hitchcock. Perf. Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, and Martin
Balsam. Shamley Productions, 1960.
The Quiet Man. Screenplay by Frank S. Nugent. Dir. John Ford. Prod. Merian
C. Cooper and John Ford. Perf. John Wayne, Maureen OHara, Barry
Fitzgerald, Ward Bond, and Victor McLaglen. Argosy Pictures, 1952.
Rebecca. Screenplay by Robert E. Sherwood and Joan Harrison. Dir. Alfred
Hitchcock. Prod. David O. Selznick. Pert. Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine,
George Sanders, and Judith Anderson. Selznick International Pictures,
Shanken, Edward A. Art and Electronic Media. London: Phaidon Press
Stage Fright. Screenplay by Whitfield Cook, adapted by Alma Reville. Dir.
Alfred Hitchcock. Prod. Alfred Hitchcock. Perf. Jane Wyman, Marlene
Dietrich, Michael Wilding, and Richard Todd. Warner Bros. Pictures,
Tribe, Mark, and Reena Jana. New Media Art. Germany: Taschen, 2006.