Tetragammaton

Tetragammaton

23 min
In 1973, sculptor Frank Gillette made a 23-minute videotape called Tetragrammaton at a beach near New York. It is one element of a six-part video installation called Six Matrices, from 1971-73. Gillette's ...
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About

In 1973, sculptor Frank Gillette made a 23-minute videotape called Tetragrammaton at a beach near New York. It is one element of a six-part video installation called Six Matrices, from 1971-73. Gillette's camera focuses on ripples in the sand, driftwood, shells, and feathers and then swings out wildly to a long shot of the sea and the horizon. At one point, Gillette swings the camera 360-degrees, and at other points he stays glued to one small object in the sand, defining with his camerawork the body of the artist as well as his surroundings. While capturing video with my cell phone at Brighton Beach in Brooklyn one day, the blurred and pixelated images began to remind me of Frank Gillette's videotape. His title refers to an archaic Hebrew word formed by the four letters YHWH, representing the name of the god, a name too sacred to be spoken aloud, and a word that only a few people from each generation are taught to pronounce.

I went back to the beach for the next few days with Frank Gillette in mind and edited this piece from cell-phone files that I had emailed to myself and downloaded to edit. Tetragrammaton, is a response to Frank Gillette. In making this video, I began to see the function of the spiritual as separated from the function of the philosophical, as unassociated with belief systems, logic and morality. One channel of the video was processed through the Paik-Abe Raster Scan Device, the wobbulator. This is a modified black and white monitor designed for electromagnetic deflection of the video raster via control voltages. Video effects created at a residency at the Experimental Television Center in upstate New York.

 

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