Cracked Ray Tube is a collaborative hardware hacking project by artists Kyle Evans and James Connolly. The project creates a synchronized audio/video environment self-generated by the feeding back of communication networks of two obsolete technologies⎯analog televisions with their video transmitters and CRT computer monitors and their VGA video signals. The red, green, and blue video signals of the VGA cable are processed and fed back through a sound mixer simultaneously generating the audio and video information that is received, deciphered and displayed by multiple computer monitors. Additionally, transmitted video is distorted through physical contact with handmade circuitry utilizing the capacitance of the human body as a control interface, and by electromagnetic flexing and folding of high-powered electron beams within modified televisions. The collaborative performance is partially done while crossing systems, sending VGA outputs to television inputs and vice versa (as well as the performers physically switching instruments mid-way through), which increases the plurality of audio/video material and unpredictability of controls and results. Influenced by experimental media artists such as Nam June Paik, the project exploits the materiality of analog audio and video signals pronouncing the technology’s intrinsically hidden yet vastly complex spectrum of sound, image and color.
James Connolly (BFA with Emphasis in Art History, Theory, and Criticism, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) is a video and new media artist, writer, curator, and realtime audio/video performer living and working in Chicago, IL. His videos have been screened at the 2010 GLI.TC/H festival in Chicago, the Floating World Animation Festival in Portland, Oregon, and the Townhouse Gallery in Cairo, Egypt. He has performed at the the Critical Glitch Artware Category at Notacon in Cleveland, the 2010 and 2011 GLI.TC/H festivals in Chicago, the 2011 Version Festival at the Co-Prosperity Sphere in Chicago, and the Guthman Musical Instrument Competition in Atlanta. He is currently the Assistant Curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection, a special collection of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Kyle Evans (MFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago) is a sound designer, computer musician, electronic instrument creator, and realtime video performer. While his educational background was focused toward experimental music and sound art, his collective artistic work ranges from music technology development to multimedia installation. He has invented many electronic musical and video instruments ranging from studio-based synthesizers and performance-based computer interfaces to electronic modifications and augmentations to acoustic instruments. His performances and installations commonly explore the relation between modern and obsolete technologies, breaking and repurposing, and the dialogue between performer and technology. His recent work has focused on utilizing the hidden capabilities and potentials of the now obsolete CRT television and the process of effectively bringing new life to a dead technology. He has performed and presented his work throughout the United States including the 2010 International Computer Music Conference (ICMC) at Columbia University in New York, the Pixilerations New Media Showcase at Brown University in Providence, the 2011 Milwaukee Avenue Arts Festival in Chicago, and the 2011 GLI.TC/H festival in Chicago. His work has been presented in several publications including Popular Science Magazine and Hand Made Electronic Music by Nic Collins.