James Connolly (@jxconno) is a Chicago-based artist, educator, museum worker, and archivist. His videos, open-source tools, and real-time audio/video performances undermine the interfaces and break through the algorithms of digital and analog systems, examining hidden power structures and liberating latent aesthetic materialities in cathartic and captivating compositions.
In analog broadcast television, video test cards were used to calibrate cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors and ensure the fidelity of the signal being received. These test cards conformed CRT output to the standard visual image being transmitted, disabling the complex chromatic and electromagnetic materiality these devices are capable of emitting.
Similarly, the contemporary consumer electronics we use to access the internet limit what we can produce and how we can communicate. The decentralized network is re-centralized through a small number of apps and platforms embedded with ideologies that algorithmically dictate our interaction and invisibly track and monetize the endless data we unknowingly generate.
“Control Signals” examines ways of breaking the restraints of consumer technologies to subvert expectations and humanize the apparatuses that mediate our interaction with the world. Hacked and cracked analog monitors are driven by custom digital tools that bypass restrictive interfaces. Electronics that were created as proprietary commercial systems of consumption and surveillance capitalism are turned into tools of open aesthetic creation through open-source artware.
CRT Flux Phaser (2022) is a custom hardware modification that adds four hand-wound electromagnets to cathode ray tube monitors. These magnets receive separate, precisely-tuned digitally-generated audio waveforms that work together to enable full manipulation of the CRT’s visual spectrum that is repressed by the limitations of its consumer interface.
RGB.VGA.VOLT (2014-2022) is an instrument driven by a hacked video graphics array (VGA) cable that bends audio into video and bypasses white and black signal clipping. The tool circumvents the restrictions placed on CRT monitors for the sake of photographic representation, provoking the full spectrum of electro-chromatic visuals they are capable of.
The “Control Signals” performance series presents internationally recognized artists who critically engage with analog and digital technologies to create original realtime audio/video compositions using DIY hardware, creative code, custom software, and other experimental processes.
Saturday, August 13
Cracked Ray Tube (James Connolly and Kyle Evans)
Saturday, September 10
A workshop will allow participants to create their own DIY analog audio/video synthesizer using the hack that drives visuals in James Connolly’s RGB.VGA.VOLT system. Hardware and software will be provided, and the full system will be demonstrated in the gallery space with an installation of 19 modified CRT monitors. Safe approaches to working with CRT monitors will be shown.
Performing Artist’s Bios
Angelina Almukhametova (@warmcathode) is a Chicago-based artist whose work interfaces neon sculpture with digital technologies, analog synthesizers, and custom built software to create responsive light and sound installations and performances. She holds a BFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and has exhibited work and performed in New York City, Chicago, Houston, Zürich and Iceland. She has led workshops at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. In 2022, she was a hacker in residence at the Swiss Mechatronic Art Society in Zürich, Switzerland.
Kyle Evans (@kyleellisevans) (MFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) is a new media artist, sound designer, educator, and performer. Focusing on the intersection of art and technology, his work commonly explores concepts of hacking, technological failure, and digital media artifacts. He has produced and presented a wide range of tech-art performance and new media installation work throughout North America and Europe at venues such as MUTEK San Francisco, Transmediale in Berlin, the International Computer Music Conference at Columbia University, the Dallas Video Festival at the Dallas Museum of Art, the Blanton Museum of Art in Austin, Dimanche Rouge in Paris, the Vancouver New Music Festival, the Currents New Media Festival in Santa Fe, and the GLI.TC/H festival in Chicago. He is a founding board member, Managing Director, and instructor at the tech-art educational non-profit dadageek, board member and composer of the sound-art collective Rolling Ryot, co-founder of the immersive art studio dadaLab, and instructor in the Department of Arts and Entertainment Technologies at the University of Texas in Austin. He is actively involved in multiple internationally recognized collaborative and solo new media projects including Cracked Ray Tube and pulseCoder. His writings and artworks have been presented in several academic and popular publications including the Leonardo Music Journal, Computer Music Magazine, Neural Magazine, and Popular Science Magazine.
Maryam Faridani is an Iranian artist currently living in Chicago. By using moving images, installations and performance, she tries to explore how the given technical systems today leads to the creation and maintenance of a particular set of social conditions as the environment of that system.
Nick Briz (@nbriz) makes work with and about our digital ecosystem. He is an active participant in various online communities and conversations including glitch art, net art, remix culture, digital literacy, hacktivism and digital rights. His work has been exhibited internationally, including the Museum of the Moving Image, New York City; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Caracas, Venezuela; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; and Tate Exchange, London, among others. Briz is co-founder of netizen.org, a nonprofit focused on digital literacy and digital culture, associate professor, adj. at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, lecturer at the University of Chicago, and a freelance creative technologist.
Sky Goodman (@sci_fi_mascara) is a multimedia artist, poet, and educator living in Chicago, Illinois. Sky’s formal training is in poetry (MFA from Columbia College) with a background of teaching creative writing and literature to high school and college students. Currently they work full time as an artist, creating music videos for bands and working with virtual reality and 3D software, crafting dream-scapes. Sky regularly collaborates with other artists, musicians and dancers. They are a part of the audio visual duos interference//, ethereal_interface, and Twin Render. They are one half of the New Media collective S H R I N E which puts on live events, exhibitions, and performances in Chicago. Sky is the author of three published poetry books, “Starfish” “Deep Dream” and “Universal Texture.” Their work has been exhibited internationally and in the metaverse.