A/V Modular Synthesizer Artist
Femme Decks Presents: DIE/ASPORA & Liara Kaylee Tsai
Friday, Nov. 5 at 10:00 PM
Gabe’s Iowa City
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Phosphenes is the moniker of Iowa City-based video artist and electronic musician Ian MacMillan. A long-time fan of the 1970s Berlin School of electronic music, Ian bought his first hardware modular audio synthesizer in 2010, in some cases buying modules that cloned the functionality of the original Moog modular systems used by his favorite Berlin-based musicians Klaus Schulze and Tangerine Dream.
A few years later, Ian discovered the world of hardware modular video synthesis. It promised the same exciting level of depth, possibility, and control within the video world as he found in the audio world.
In 2019, Ian contributed live video synthesis to the Carrier Waves performance at Witching Hour, projecting video feedback loops of Angelia Mahaney and Bennett Cullen’s dance performance alongside Iowa City electronic musician Brendan Hanks’ original compositions.
“While it’s straightforward to create repetitive video sequences with a modular synthesizer, the real beauty of such a device lies in its ability to generate flowing, organic video signals from a similarly-complex set of modulation sources,” Ian says. The best natural manifestation of this visual feeling is water. To that end, in 2020 Ian recorded slow-motion footage of the water flowing in the myriad creeks and streams of Iowa City’s Hickory Hill park. He used this footage as a modulation source for the commissioned video piece Stasisphere, slated for release on a VHS compilation of contemporary video artists.
For Witching Hour 2021, Ian will use the hardware modular video synthesizer Hypno to accompany DJs DIE/ASPORA and Liara Kaylee Tsai at the FemmeDecks-curated event Friday night at Gabe’s.