TECHNOCULTURE Constance Penley and Andrew Ross, editors (for the Social Text collective) Cultural Politics, Volume 3 University of Minnesota Press Minneapolis Oxford Copyright (c) 1991 by the Regents of the University of Minnesota 420w

= page 271 = Black Box S-Thetix: Labor, Research, and Survival in the He[Art] of the Beast by Jim Pomeroy

= page 281-286 = Ed Tannenbaum

Discernibility is going to pieces. -Ed Tannenbaum, in an Exploratorium announcement, 1980

Moving from Providence, Rhode Island, where he had been active in Electron Movers, an experimental media collective, Ed Tannenbaum was hired in 1978 as the technical director at the Center for Contemporary Music (CCM) studio at Mills College, where he helped to extend the program's emphasis on electronic media into the areas of computer visuals and video. Now working free-lance, Tannenbaum is one of the few techno-artists to survive independently on the strength of his personal production, which is most often seen outside of mainstream art venues, in science and children's museums and at technology shows and computer events.

A pioneer in the art of inter active environments, he creates computer/video installations that function as real-time video mirrors that seductively engage even the most reticent viewers. Discernibility (1980) explores the thresholds of perception by allowing the viewer to alter the pixel size, and thus the coarseness of the mosaic that constitutes the video image.

Recollections (1981 and recent revisions) presents a room-sized space facing a large rear-projection video screen. Visitors moving across this area see a multitude of concentric or trailing silhouettes, oscillating contours, and reverberant figures of their own bodies, brilliantly cast upon the screen. The temptation to paint with one's own body movement is irresistible and instantly gratifying. Recalling the multiple exposures of Etienne-Jules Marey, Doc Edgerton's stroboscopic composites, and the blurred movement paintings of Duchamp and the Futurists, Recollections encapsulates a whole century of locomotion research into a direct, personal, and beautiful experience. Recollections is also often presented in live public performance with dancer/ clown Pons Mar, and in collaboration with electronic composer Maggi Payne.

Tannenbaum's most recent work includes a 1989 commission from the Saibu Gas Museum in Fukuoka, Japan, to design and program Flamo-Vision, a three-meter matrix of 768 colored gas jets that function as a giant pyrotechnic monitor for (very) hot videos. Back at home in Crockett, California's sugar capital, he is branching out into private enterprise, offering the world's first International Telefax Shredding Service as well as a Picturephone answering machine that sends back the caller's own picture, heavily rearranged, at the sound of the beep.