Of Keeping
Brian House and Dwayne Wilson 2007
Glowlab Conflux, Union Docs, New York
2007 September 15
Of Keeping is a series of live performances and resulting audio/video pieces that confront the tension between archival footage of a city and an individual's memory of the same spaces.

Throughout the late 1990s, media artist Dwayne Wilson recorded hundreds of hours of video during dérives on the streets of Denver and New York during a period of radical change in both cities. His videos, raw material for myriad projects, are spontaneous and unpretentious documentation of the immediate city, with an eye for ephemeral detail and juxtaposition. Each video is a narrative experience.

In high school and college, Brian House inhabited these same locations. In Of Keeping, he samples from Wilson's videos in realtime, assembling audio and video loops to create a new piece over the course of a performance. Having never seen the videos before but being intimately familiar with their subject matter, House's selection process is a mixture of aesthetic and nostalgic concerns. Particular elements of the urban landscape shown in the videos, though novel at the time of filming, have subsequently taken on great psychological significance in the intervening years. The result is a highly subjective portrait of space informed by the personal relationship of the two artists.

The use of two generations of video technology is an important undercurrent in Of Keeping. The original footage was captured on a consumer Hi8 camcorders and dubbed, overdubbed, and otherwise assembled onto VHS tapes. Displayed on a video monitor directly from a VCR, the footage is also piped through a digital converter to a custom software patch written in Max/MSP/Jitter. The new piece is displayed with an LCD projector and simultaneously recorded to Quicktime (for archival purposes). The process explicitly explores the nature of the archive as an active medium, a process central to the cultural transformations occurring with internet video sites such as YouTube. These technologies provide a language with which Of Keeping weaves its tapestry of the city, its memory, and its documentation.
Thanks to
Christina Ray,  Katherine Fedde,  Irving Fedde,  David Feinberg,  Jesse Shapins