End Scene 1.

 

Audio: The Cosmic Jokers, (1974). Galactic Joke. Kosmische Musik.

Image: Web.mit.edu. (2016). Structure, Practice and Innovation in EE/CS.

Scene one. The Reunion (v1). Published 5/4/16

Cut from black, medium close, JACK DIAMOND is receiving an award.

 

He is a bland man of retirement age; his face is flushed and beautifully lit. He is standing in front of a silver shimmer curtain that sparkles between a pair of lightweight ionic columns. A suited man presents him with a holographic print of a hip joint. They shake hands. JACK DIAMOND steps behind a lectern, moves his mouth to the microphone and in close up announces;

 

 

 

The presentation is taking place in The Hangar, an ex-military hangar, located in a sprawling industrial estate and now used for an ad-hoc mix of educational, social and commercial purposes. The windowless space is immense; the high ceiling, floor and walls are painted black; objects including a roulette table, hot drinks machine (on its side and leaking) and blood pressure monitoring devices litter the edges of the room, largely hidden behind huge, pale, theatrical curtains. Numerous smaller spaces are marked out in the central cavern by gaffa tape and freestanding baffles; in one of them, the reunion at which JACK DIAMOND is receiving his award is taking place.

 

JACK DIAMOND produces a thick stack of prompt cards from his pocket. The medium wide takes in the full length of his body, the pillars and the award giver who is standing and watching in the background.

 

 

 

 

The reverb indicates the size of the room, the applause the size of the audience and the stack of cards the length of the speech.  It is going to be long.

 

 

Although we will neither get to know nor care about JACK DIAMOND, he is the narrator and the only identifiable character in the piece.

 

 

He begins the speech that retells the development of HDTV in the States.

 

 

 

 

 

JACK DIAMOND’s speech continues, he becomes more relaxed; more used to the microphone and enjoys what it does to his voice, which he responds to by exaggerating the intonation and range.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We stop looking at JACK DIAMOND and our focus begins to drift; the speech is dull for those who weren’t involved. Snatches of what he is saying seep in when the audience laugh or murmur their agreement. We amuse ourselves by testing the zoom on the camera, browsing the room for arrangements of light, shape and texture that flatter it.

 

 

We have a couple of drinks and look behind the room divider baffles, behind the curtains, at the stacks of chairs and the heart rate monitoring device. We slot our hand in, one finger under a metal loop and try to feel our pulse by pressing down hard and after a few moments we can feel it and it is out of synch with the music.

 

 

Cut to the Lewisham Shopping Centre Central Square, a bright and airy atrium space, busy with a weekday crowd. It is mute, overwritten by JACK DIAMOND and R. Kelly.  As if being recorded for a television news segment, the full space is shown with shoppers and lingerers passing diagonally, then a closer view of a woman with a buggy and a few shorter, closer looks at people putting cash cards in their pockets, looking at their phones, eating chocolate bars and dropping empty cans of fizzy drinks into the fake flower beds. It is unclear what this news segment would be about; it doesn’t feel very complimentary.

 

 

 

 

 

End scene one.

 

 

Total silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.

 

Feedback, silence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I repeat, if you’re not part of the steamroller, you’re part of the road.

 

Applause, laughter.

 

 

The general sound of the room, clinking cutlery, coughs, moving chairs etc. can now be heard.

 

 

An instrumental version of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R. Kelly begins to play in the background.

 

Stew Bland once wrote that about our lab but it applies to the consumer electronics industry as a whole. People don’t realise they are just part of the road, just gravel and tar, chewing gum and fox carcasses. They imagine modern life is the natural unfolding of potential and their due.

 

 

 

It's true that nobody votes for technology: things like birth control pills, airplanes, hair straighteners, and computers just arrive. But standards are agreements. They are a political process that, so far, has taken place far from the political arena of the public the standards will affect.

 

In the early days, NTSC, not the same colour twice  (audience laughter) was the standard and everybody was happy, nobody looked too close at the screen and all those millions of squirming bugs that made up the picture. If you sit six inches away from a magician you see sleight-of-hand instead of magic.

 

So when in the early 80’s, when Reagan began to deregulate, Mark Fowler, chairman of the Federal Communications Committee told industry, “Your calling is to the market, which is the people, and to the truth”, (loud audience laughter) and the industry didn’t want to listen.

 

But by 85, the industry was under threat. Motorola wanted our bandwidth and the Japanese were demonstrating their HDTV to our government. At the 1986 International Radio Consultative Committee in Dubrovnik making the Japanese system the global standard was seriously discussed! That was their big mistake, the Europeans didn’t want to lose TV manufacturing to the Japanese, and the US could sense convergence on the horizon. Did we really want to vote ourselves out of that future?

 

(Audience) No. Boo. 

 

Hell no.

Brand, S. (1987). The Media Lab. New York, N.Y.: Viking.

Archive.org. (2016). Compute! Magazine Issue 113. [online] Available at: http://archive.org

 

 

Shopping centre atmos.




 




I was a little frightened actually. What struck me at first was when you see pictures of people, it is really as if they are in your own home, actually in your living room. You can see every little hair on a girls face, you can see the little lines, the little crinkles, all of the little spots, that’s a bit frightening.

Although it is not 3D you felt as though you could reach out and touch the people.


 

 


 


… '87, National Association of Broadcasters, NAB, showed Washington the Japanese system, (something), which was so beautiful, so gorgeous, it was intoxicating…bandwidth, (something), law of nature, set up the Advisory Committee on Advanced Television…an open competition for the creation of an American HDTV system, (something) crazies, backyards…

I think it is as perfect a picture as I will ever see. I experienced hues of colour and depth of field and the immediacy that I have never experienced before in the cinema or on television. I normally can’t see the difference but actually I could, I could see that this is connoisseurs’ television, this is real, this is fantastic, I feel as if I have opened the windows at home and I’m looking at the real world, marvellous, connoisseurs’ television.

I think the people that are going to use it for news are going to have to understand that they would have to use that sort of sense of reality in a responsible way, because if you take stuff in Beirut for arguments sake and you show it like this, it could be quite horrific.

 


Hell Week.

1989, we worked through 23 designs for a US system. We called it Hell Week. There was some great engineering work, but the amateur submissions were something else!

 

Laughter.

 

They included four regular screens taped together and smeared with flesh coloured rubberised paint; drawings for a holographic television that could beam different channels to each different eye; a remote control that speeds up the advertisements; and a whole load of magnifying glasses, panels and cushions for sitting nearer the screen.
 

Loud laughter.


 There was one though, one that we never found out if it was amateur or professional. It was a small, sealed black metal unit with just a power cable. When we powered it up it sort of sucked itself in, it’s hard to explain exactly, I don’t have the words, but it became harder, denser. We still don’t know what is inside it, or what the big idea was or is, but the thing itself is so elegant, so beautiful.

The Lewisham Shopping Centre Central Square with full location sound. The general views have given way to following a pair of pink shirted YOUNG MEN as they approach shoppers and try to engage them in conversation. The YOUNG MEN are largely ignored but a few shoppers do engage, and after a couple of minutes are shown into what looks like a vacant shop. The windows are whitewashed with black paint; there is no signage.

A medium wide outside of the vacant shop. SHOPPER ONE exits and talks directly to us. In a sexy voice, SHOPPER ONE says:




He smiles and nods. He walks away and we turn and watch him leave. SHOPPER TWO interrupts with a cough:


SHOPPER TWO picks up her bags and stalks off in the same direction as SHOPPER ONE. We look back at the vacant shop, examining the scratchy black paint on the glass as more shoppers enter. A rectangular glow that cycles through a range of colours and light intensities can be made out, telling us that there is large television screen inside. Over the top, JACK DIAMOND’s voice and his continuing speech drift into audio focus although we can’t make out everything he is saying.





 



SHOPPER THREE exits and tells us:




 


 

 


SHOPPER FOUR, a heavy smoker adds:



 


Cut to The Hangar and up very close to JACK DIAMOND as he gulps back half a glass of white wine.

He downs the rest and addresses the crowd:




 

 



The audeince is enjoying laughing at the amateurs and the ways in which they  misunderstand High Definition, we dissolve between numerous laughing faces as JACK DIAMOND revels in his success.






 

 

 

 

 



JACK DIAMOND holds up a lump of compacted black metal up in front of his now sweating face and gazes at it with wonder.

 

 

 

 

 

Scene two. Gravel and Tar  (v1). Published 10/4/16

Behind the Lines, (1985). [TV programme] ITV.

Brand, S. (1987). The Media Lab. New York, N.Y.: Viking

Compilation of YouTube camera test videos. Various authors.

End scene 2.

 

Scene three. Conference Call (v1). Published 15/4/16

Morning in a tiny room nestled into the eaves of The Hangar, painted black. On one wall is the photograph of a piece of graffiti done inside a shabby institutional building, presumably for young people, it might be an educational facility, or something to do with the law. On the opposite wall an A4 laminated printout reads 'necessity is the mother of invention is the mother of necessity is the mother of invention is the mother of necessity is the mother of...' and so on, filling the enitre page in a block of text that looks like a cage if you squint.

A triangular teleconferencing device is balanced on a pile of old files on the floor, its green light is blinking slowly, indicating that a conference call is in progress. The voices of five students can be heard chattering away on phone lines of varying  quallity. Somewhere in the compressed audio space of the meeting a dog is barking and rain is falling. The students are discussing a seminar presentation they will be delivering about memory and technology.

On a clear line a loud voice takes charge of the chatter, STUDENT ONE:

 

Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off.Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off. Green light on. Green light off.

 

The GROUP OF STUDENTS respond with;

 

STUDENT TWO  then takes charge. The voice has the same  echo and reverberation as the barking dog.
















 

 



 

Chatter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To recap the start of the presentation, the main points are:

 

The normal way of thinking about technology is as a tool, a means to an end, instrumental.

 

This reductive figuring of technology stems from Aristotle who connected instrumentality with the Sophists craft (the technical skill of rhetorical argument) believing it to be unscrupulous as it was concerned with power rather than truth.

 

Technology is the outsourcing of our capacities and knowledge, for Plato that meant we then lost something of those things. On writing, Plato says: ‘Their trust in writing, produced by external characters which are no part of themselves, will discourage the use of their own memory within them. You have invented an elixir not of memory, but of reminding.'

 

Another way of thinking about technology is that the human and technology are co-constitutive. What we understand as human has evolved in conjunction with technology in a way that is impossible to separate; without technology we wouldn’t be human.

 

French palaeontologist Andre Leroi-Gourhan, argued that objects carry the memory of their use. A prehistoric bowl is a witness to the bowls use, even though it was created for holding food rather than remembering.  Therefore there are three sorts of memory: personal memory, genetic memory and the memory held by things.

 

Through the memories attached to things we have access to the experiences and knowledge of others. Contemporary philosopher Bernard Stiegler believes that there are two types of memory holding things. First there are technics, things such as pots and roads which carry memory in addition to their main purpose, and then there are mnemotechnics invented expressly to hold memory and knowledge; things like writing, painting and television.

 

Agreed?

 

Uh-huh, yes, sure, okay.

 

 

Then we go on to the group exercise with the images I sent.

 

First is an easy one; the hard drive. I need to get a better image though because mine is too slick, it doesn't look like anything.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then the dart board, for numbers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there will be the bodybuilder, I thought maybe for genetic memory and personal memory. What is muscle memory anyway? And also maybe technology in the steroids, you can't see them, but there is no way he could get that big naturally.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next up, theatrical ham. My thinking was that theatre is not only access to the experience of other peoples memories in the stories, but the actors are literally memorising things. The ham isn't a play or an actor but a prop, which is sort of of the same thing? It holds the memory of what a ham looks like anyway.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I picked a hologram because it is like photography, but the technical part is even more obvious because you don't see them much anymore except for on bank cards. And this also has a logo, which is another sort of code, maybe they will pick up on that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And the drink because I thought it would be funny to end with invention that makes you forget, and it's easier to remember things that make you laugh. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

End scene 3.

Frabetti, F. (2015.). Software Theory. Rowman & Littlefield International Ltd.

Plato., and Waterfield, R. (2002). Phaedrus. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Scene four. The Grand Alliance (v1). Published 19/4/16

 

From the back of The Hangar we have a good view of the audience. Some are fatigued, some drunk, and some are doing warm-up stretches to pass the time as it starts to drag.

JACK DIAMOND walks to the microphone from the piano. We hear the dying reverberation of a tune, and applause mixed with laughter. It is clear that some time has passed and that JACK DIAMOND is the worse for wear. Back at the microphone he continues, his voice slower but higher pitched than previously;





JACK DIAMOND gestures towards a screen that has just been wheeled in next to him. The screen is displaying The Grand Alliance logo: an arrangement of columns, spheres and electricity spikes.


A visual sequence begins.

Three elements in white on black, ionic columns, gridded globes and electricity spikes, move around the screen slowly drifting in and out of a various formations.

 

 

 

 


Scenes are fleetingly created. A column tumbles, an electricity spike strikes a planet, which becomes a snooker ball as it nudges another planet off the screen, which has become a table.


The features on the ionic columns fade and the gridded globe becomes a plain circle, then a sphere, as the shapes become 3 dimensional and take on primary colours.  

 

 

 


An erotic formation can no longer be avoided as two spheres line-up at the base of the column, from the top of which is an emanation of electricity spikes. From this moment on it is impossible to read the objects as anything other, no matter what the arrangement.

 

 

 

 


The elements multiply until the screen is filled with thousands of squirming organs. The screen becomes immense with the details then flattens out into a smooth, sealed, average brown.

 

 

 

 

 

 

End scene four.

 

Chatter, applause, laughter.




 



I could tell you some stories from the first round of tests; the arguments, the tricks, the secret deals, like charging the MIT guys $75,000 just to borrow a camera for a week! But in 1993, out of all that shit came, The Grand Alliance. AT&T, Bell Labs, GI, MIT, Philips, RCA Sarnoff and Zenith.
 

 

 


A cosmic rock version of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ by R. Kelly begins to play in the background.


You all know our logo. It was made from analysing logos of the companies and the authorities involved because we worked this thing out together, in collaboration, there was structure and process and negotiation and we compartmentalised the workload and black-boxed our contributions.

 

 

Of course there was the MIT-Dolby lawsuit but there was also the Emmy.
 


The logo symbolises our unity. Together we built a system that convinced broadcasters and consumers to spend millions, billions, on a whole new infrastructure.  This wasn’t a technology that supplemented the old one; it totally blew it out the water.

 

 

 

And we held together while we were under attack, from the computer bods and then the film directors had a problem with the aspect ratio, but I told them, 'Our eyes are horizontal, not vertical; we have a widescreen view of the world FOR FUCK'S SAKE…WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?'
 

(pause)


Where was I?
 

Alvarez, S., Chen, J., Lecumberri, D. and Yang, C. (1999). HDTV: The Engineering History. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

YouTube. The 65th Annual Technology & Engineering Emmy Awards.

Brand, S. (1987). The Media Lab. New York, N.Y.: Viking

Buckley, R. (1999). A 16:9 shelf life?  Robbuckley.co.uk.
 

 

 

Scene five. The Demonstration (v1). Published 27/4/16

Dragon Dictate. Speech-to-text software.(2012). Nuance.

Stewartwolpin.com. (2016). Do You Believe in Miracles. Stewart Wolpin. [online] 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Terra 1994 and into the 1995, the PC industry continued to complain about in the next intent facing into into into entire racing racing racing lowlifes in interfacing interlacing. Both classes continued to complain about the costs of built-in need transmission towers wrote Kostas Grote cost this ruled ruled ruled for old board told Pro world throat pain throat pain broad Costa complained. Capel proprietors started to complain cable providers started to complain about must carry rules that might. And to carried by fee, without and I need digital channels at the same time.

 

 

Meanwhile the boys in the white kites continued working. By 95 that had been several successful transmission fields tests in Charlotte and see. In December that Xanax announced that 8 BST was finished don't be announced AC 3 was done and saw not indicated its transport was completed. G.I. had finished it's half of the D Cayuga Decatur Decatur geek who the code decode the, now IT'S half a few months later. In mid-April a TTC began its valuation of the to digital formats now officially adopted as the ATX see digital television standards...

 

 

Hey look, engineers happening on having fun, who knew? Thanks look too close, I mean, you are a hot looking audience but this typo, but this table, the drain, frame, brain is, we keep them locked in a lab reveries and for a reason if you know what time he if you know what I mean!

 

 

Shopping Centre atmos.

 

 

Testing testing, one, two, three…

 

 

 

 

Ladies and Gentlemen, The future is close, and it is within your grasp if you will give me five minutes of your time. Take a seat, please, take a leaflet. Hello darling, sit down for five minutes, tell me what you like to watch on the box…

 

 

 

 

 

off off off off off, volume, volume, off off  

 

 

 

Drunken chatter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To get the full effect of the quality I am introducing you to you will need to be prepared, in the industry we call this calibration. Just a few simple exercises will make it possible to appreciate the quality that a less refined eye might miss; I can tell you are all connoisseurs so this won’t take long.

 

 

 

Count how many times the dog catches the ball.

 

Count the hairs on her chin. Anyone spot anything else?

 

I thought not, you have inattentional blindness.

 

 

Which do you prefer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I believe I can fly I believe I comply up and leave comply Open the foot comply I believe I can fly I believe I can fly up in the I believe I can fly.

 

 

No music. Some concerned shouting, some laughter. 

 

 

 

Silence.

In The Hangar the industry event is nearing its end. The speeches are over and some people have left. We are sat at a table near the front following an awkward conversation and thinking about how we might get home.

 

In medium close, JACK DIAMOND is now very drunk.  He has returned to the front and is trying to turn the microphone back on. He succeeds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JACK DIAMOND’s voice is too loud, the echo in the large space is confusing him but he perseveres.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Someone falls backwards off their chair, drinks fly and a table laughs. This catches JACK DIAMOND's attention:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Lewisham Shopping Centre, in the central atrium a woman is demonstrating a plastic spirialiser and peeler set, £5. It is 11am. The bowls of spiralised courgette and peeled sweet potato are turning watery, brown, and are beginning to smell.

 

A short distance away, THE DEMONSTRATOR (a middle aged man in a suit and tie), is setting up a large monitor on a trolley. He has a voice-over headset on. He yawns loudly and burps, he does not notice that he is amplified. He finishes the set-up, fiddles with the headset and pans the atrium before beginning his patter.

 

 

 

 

THE DEMONSTRATOR slowly builds a small crowd of daytime shoppers with his chat and chairs. A couple of times he is interrupted by a digital touch-screen solicitor kiosk to the left of his monitor which asks no one in particular if they have been in an accident that was not their fault, or if they needed free advice on probate. He examines the device, turns down the volume but can not find an off switch. He throws a fleece over the top, covering the screen, which now just glows meekly beneath.

 

 

Cut to back in The Hangar. JACK DIAMOND is now out of sight and the monitor that had shown the industry logo animation has gone into sleep mode, a blank blue screen.  A crashing, scraping, and then a loud tearing can be heard coming from the darkness behind the baffles and curtains. The top of a set of wheelie steps comes into view over the top of the cordon, getting closer.

 

 

Cut to Lewisham Shopping Centre and THE DEMONSTRATOR is in full swing.

 

 

 

 

 

He plays a video clip of a severely simplified animated dog jumping to catch a dot that moves at a steady pace across the screen. The bottom half of the screen is green, the top blue; grass and sky.

 

An extreme close up of a woman crying.

 

The children raise their hands excitedly.

 

Some people wander off, more are drawn in. An image of a blown up street somewhere hot is followed by the same image at lower resolution.

 

A montage of perception tests cut with smiling faces, faces looking confused, some nodding, THE DEMONSTRATOR working hard, images on screen, animations of severely simplified animals and people, grids, circles and flashing colours.

 

The sequence is a failure. There are not enough images of attractive people responding to use as cut aways and so the few that there are, are repeated with a crop, or flipped horizontally.  In other shots people are either not paying attention or their faces are slack as they give in to THE DEMONSTRATORS instructions. The midi version of R.Kelly’s ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ is too slow to save it.

 

 

Cut to The Hangar. JACK DIAMOND drags the wheelie steps into full view. He grabs the microphone and his hologram as he goes by. Ignoring the event organiser who is desperately but politely trying to dissuade him, JACK DIAMOND begins to ascend the stairs.

 

 

 

The microphone no longer reaches, he drops it, the sound causing those still left to look as he continues to the top step and onto the platform.  

 

JACK DIAMOND believes he can fly.

 

Cut to black.


End scene five.

 

 

 

THE END.