THANKS SHARON (2001 – 2004, 2017)
Thanks Sharon is a video improvisation using the sanitized nature of the local evening newscast as source material. The piece examines an aspect of newscasts known as the throw, when one anchor or reporter throws the newscast back to his or her colleague. More times than not, the throw is followed with “thanks Bob” or “thank you Sharon” spoken through a fake smile stretched across an anchor’s face.
In 2000, I collected tapes of local newscasts from Seattle, New York, Minnesota, N. Carolina and of course, Los Angeles. The generic qualities and lack of cultural imprints found in the newscasts was fascinating to me. Local newscasts generally follow a cookie cutter format utilizing overblown graphics, Barbie and Ken doll anchors, and the special moment when the actors in these polished mini theaters thank one another for a job well done.
The performance of Thanks Sharon is an improvisation using the computer program Image/ine, developed at STEIM in Amsterdam, for video processing and Max/MSP for audio processing. One QuickTime movie is used as source material providing a common thread for improvisation. The movie, loaded inside Image/ine, is comprised of about thirty clips from local newscasts and is controlled in real time via a Max patch and a Peavey 1600x. The audio from the QuickTime movie provides the only sonic material and is continually processed through the Max patch. The patch also controls Image/ine’s movie parameters including the playback speed, direction, loop length, loop location, and others.
In 2017, I started reworking this piece using Max/MSP/Jitter. The original video clip with its’ digital artifacts from the turn of century will still be the primary source material for the improvisation. The form of the improvisation will remain the same: moving from completely abstracted sound and video to the end of the performance where the newscasters are revealed and thank each other for a job well done.
The source video taken from recorded newscasts in 2000. The digitized quality reflects the state of video technology back in 2000!
Video of Thanks Sharon from a live performance at Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles in March of 2004
(**caution – audio is quite hot from the original video taped recording of the performance**)