PXL

PXL (Work in progress)

PXL is a work in progress research project that explores the no-longer produced ‘Pixelvision PXL-2000’ camcorder, originally released in 1987. This video camera is particularly of interest due to it’s unique ability to encode a video signal onto audio cassette tapes, and forms part of our ongoing investigation into obsolete media and technologies.

The conversion between audio and visual signals taking place within this device is central to this enquiry, with sonic inputs used to manipulate the technology, generating fragmented imagery through the 10800 pixels available in the PXL’s video matrix. Here, images become an issue of gesture, with the spectator an editor who explores and composes the artwork through the interface.

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Filmmakers love what they describe as Pixelvisions dithering, a process designed to fill in the information between the pixels but resulting in unpredictable fluctuations in the image quality from frame to frame. Dithering, they say, calls attention to the properties of the recording medium in the same way that Jimi Hendrixs use of feedback called attention to the properties of the electric guitar.

- Henry Jenkins, “Taking Media in Our Own Hands, MIT Technology Review, November 9, 2004.” -