The Analog Color Field Computer


Photos of the ACFC at the  Mapping Festival
Geneva, Switzerland. April 2008

Photos from the ACFC exhibition at  BAPLab
New York City. July 2006

BAPLab photos by Brendan Fitzgerald

ACFC installation at   Greylock Arts
Adams, Massachusetts. July 2007

Photos from the ACFC exhibition at the  Share Festival
Turin, Italy. January 2007

Photos from the ACFC exhibition at  soukmachines
Montreal, Canada. September 2006

Reclaiming the Video Screen

The Analog Color Field Computer (ACFC) is an interactive video and sound installation that makes both minimal and maximal use of computer monitors. Exhibitions of the piece employ a suite of sculptural computers whose custom electronics drive standard video displays and loudspeakers. Instead of presenting complex images (like computer graphics or photographs) each ACFC unit repurposes its monitor such that at any one time a solid field of color is spread across its entire display surface. Likewise with sound, instead of producing complex timbres each unit produces a pure sine tone. The sculptures' colors and tones surge in steady pulses, conveying sonic textures and luminescent patterns into the sparsely lit exhibition space.

The ACFC endeavors to revisit the computer as a standardized multi-function instrument. By reducing the content of its audiovisual renderings to solid colors and pure tones, the device offers relief from the myriad of visual, sonic and operational conventions traditionally associated with computer displays. Each unit provides controls for users to adjust its hues, pitches and rhythms. The audience is offered a renewed ability to determine what they see and hear. This experience represents a novel mode of interaction with everyday computer hardware and affords participants a fresh perspective on a ubiquitous technology.

An installation of the ACFC demonstrates the complexity encountered when multiple sources of steady, asynchronous pulses are combined. When a number of units are exhibited together, their individual surges of light and sound merge to form emergent textures of hue and melody. Simple pulsations give rise to intricate musical passages with compelling rhythmic structures and shifting multi-part harmony. The walls, objects and visitors in the sparely lit exhibition space become illuminated by stray light from the computer screens. Their surfaces serve as palettes where colors are blended in manifold and changing proportions. The ACFC's continuous audiovisual renderings along with its controls for color, pitch and volume, allow its exposition of light and sound to satisfy both contemplative experience and purposeful composition. The piece can accommodate a wide range of audiences, from a small group of passive listeners to a crowd of active participants.

Presentations of ACFC are flexible and easy to install. The devices are compatible with any VGA computer displays including CRT monitors, flat panel LCDs, plasma-screens and projectors. This makes them well suited to a wide variety of configurations and exhibition settings.

Alternate ACFC Video
(with voice-over)
mp4 (2.5Mb):
Video footage taken at the
Soukmachines Festival. 33sec
Exhibitions of the Analog Color Field Computer:

- Tweak Festival  Limerick, Ireland  9/2008

- Mapping Festival  Geneva, Switzerland  4/2008

- Transmediale 08  Berlin, Germany  1/2008

- Piksel 07  Bergen, Norway  11/2007

- VAD Festival  Girona, Spain  10/2007
     1st Prize for Digital Art -- VAD competition

- Greylock Arts  Adams, Massachusetts  7/2007

- Share Festival  Torino, Italy  1/2007

- Northeast Westside  Danforth Gallery Augusta, Maine  9/2006 

- Soukmachines Festival  Montreal, Canada  9/2006

- BAPLab - Bushwick Art Project  New York City  7/2006

On-Line Presentations of the ACFC:

- Monochrome series

- Biennale of Sydney

- Hz Journal

- Vague Terrain

The ACFC exhibition at  Piksel
Bergen, Norway. November 2007

Panorama (top) assembled with Autostitch . Side-view photo (bottom) by Olle Cornéer

The ACFC exhibition at  Tweak
Limerick, Ireland. September 2008