“Translation, Translation, Rehearsal” in Conversation

Scott Hunter with Alexandra Macheski

Scott Hunter’s “Translation, Translation, Rehearsal” is a sound piece that explores issues of translation when a tarot deck is used to dictate the fate of each note for a saxophone quartet. Each translation of a tarot card, be it “the fool” or “the hermit,” manifests in a harmonic progression of rehearsals that culminate in an infinite play on what is lost, or not lost, in the act of translation. Accompanying “Translation, Translation, Rehearsal” is a brief interview between Scott Hunter, a PhD student of literature at UC Santa Cruz, and Refract editorial board member Alexandra Macheski about how tarot and music composition and the concept of rehearsal can create new and unforeseen harmonies. This interview, from June 15 to August 4, 2019 started as a face-to-face conversation in Santa Cruz, California, and then moved to written correspondence.

Click this link to access Hunter’s full artist statement.

Scott Hunter is a musician, fiction writer, and student of medieval literature. He lives in Santa Cruz, California.

Alexandra Macheski is an editorial board member of Refract: An Open Access Visual Studies Journal.


Daisy Bell

Ryan Page

In this digital mash-up recording, the artist has recreated the early 20th century song Daisy Bell. The song sits squarely within a history of the digital interfacing with speech synthesis/AI formats to produce new sound experiences; notably, here it references, and starts off from, how the song is used in the movie Space Odyssey 2001 as part of the computer HAL’s database. Through the compilation of various versions and recording instruments the musical piece/artwork here showcases how, symbolically, the translation and transmutation of voice and music across modes can produce the uncanny and force us to question what is essential, what is persistent, and what changes through different formats. It combines the voices of earlier singers and earlier modes of recording with new technologies for sound making as well as “voices that were never alive to begin with.” It explores the ontology of simulation and addresses how the digital engages questions of nostalgia and the uncanny.

Click this link to access Page’s full artist statement.

Ryan Page is a composer, performer, sound artist, engineer and Ph.D. candidate at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His work focuses on the nostalgic, uncanny aspects of digital simulation and exploration of the interstices between analog and digital media. His current research includes the design of hardware systems offering digital state recall and interpolation of chaotic analog systems for audio synthesis, the use of human flesh to convert 8-bit digital audio signals to analog, the design and creation of a modular synthesizer featuring a light-reactive case, photocell mixers, dirt and ash as audio processors, anachronistic methods of signal modulation/demodulation, and digital oscillators with hand-drawn wavetables..


Languages of Violence

Ansel Arnold

Languages of Violence is a gaming/sound performance mediated by the streaming service Twitch. The visual elements represent the active key registrations and inputs being made during a video game, while the sound is of the game as it’s played and mixed through analog pedals and feedback loops. The context of the game and the event that it produces are obscured by this interpretation. What’s left is an impressionistic gesture that mediates a fact of violence. At the outset of this work, I was exploring what I saw left open by realistic digital violence, in that it can be directed beyond its actual origins. Gunfire is made indistinguishable from a real life event, but its context as a video game rescues it or makes it acceptable.

Click this link to access Arnold’s full artist statement.

Ansel Arnold is an artist and writer who is broadly interested in the way that media representations structure knowledge and guide our everyday experience. By re-presenting these media, his work is critical of the knowledge that those representations produce. Through this critique, he rejects monolithic preconceptions of the world by reconstructing narrative space.


Untitled (Speech Poem #2)

Marrok Sedgwick

Closed captions often do not fully convey the meaning, emotion, or even the full dialogue of spoken English to a d/Deaf audience. They are often incomplete, whether due to audist assumptions about the ability of d/Deaf to understand content (such as with captions that present allegedly less lofty language than that spoken by the actors on-screen), or the technological failure whereby caption decoders in televisions and in the devices cinemas use drop a line of dialogue. Other times, the failure of closed captions relates to the more subtle inability of formal written captioning protocols to capture tone of voice, or to really represent what emotional information is portrayed by a soundtrack. What does it mean to have “upbeat music” or to name the instrument itself? My work subverts this obfuscation of meaning, turning the tables to privilege disabled communities over non-disabled communities.

Click this link to access Sedgwick’s full artist statement.

Marrok Sedgwick is a disabled trans educator using artmaking as a tool for challenging society’s injustices. As a creative producer and documentarian, Sedgwick’s work has screened internationally. His film Stim won the PK Walker Innovation Award at the 2018 Superfest International Disability Film Festival. As an educator, Sedgwick has worked in general education and special education classrooms, as well as with a drama program for youth with disabilities.


BLAST RADIUS: No. 4 in a Series of Data Humanization Performances

Adriene Jenik

At around 7:30pm on April 13, 2017 the US government dropped the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (MOAB) bomb near the Moman Dara Village in the Asadkhel area in the Achin district of Nagarhar province in eastern Afghanistan. Nicknamed the “Mother of All Bombs” the weapon is the largest non-nuclear weapon in the US arsenal, with a blast radius, meaning the area in which serious effects on people and structures can be felt, of a mile. While the MOAB was the largest weapon released, it was but one of 4,361 air weapons that targeted Afghanistan during 2017, according to US Air Forces Central Command declassified airpower summaries.

At 7:30am on April 13, 2018, the anniversary of this event, I walked a path equivalent to the blast radius of MOAB on land in Arizona. This walk memorialized the civilians killed, the villages terrorized, the populations forced to migrate, and the lands scarred as a result of the endless wars being carried out in the name of protecting US citizens.

Click this link to access Jenik’s full artist statement.

Adriene Jenik is an artist and educator who resides in the desert. Her computer and media art spans 3 decades, including pioneering work in interactive cinema and live telematic performance.  Jenik’s current creative research projects include “data humanization” performances, immersive learning experiments and street performances reading “climate futures” with her ECOtarot deck. At Arizona State University, she serves as Professor of Intermedia in the School of Art..


“LeWitt Transpositions” and Conceptual Transpositions: Considering the Grammars of Conceptual Art and Parametric Drawing

Marc Miller

  • A dense, interconnected web of colored lines in blue, red, yellow, and black, converging in points throughout a moon shape with closed points

In the 1970s, artists and designers were trying to formalize their respective processes using rules. In the fine arts, there was a long period of reflection that had gained traction within the modern art movement. For designers, it presented an opportunity to formalize design practices and procedures, thus providing a rationale for repetitive processes. In both cases, grammar and syntax were used to frame the process of translating the rules into operations.

Click this link to access the full artist’s statement.

Marc Miller teaches in the Department of Landscape Architecture at Penn State University. He has degrees in fine arts, art history, architecture and landscape architecture. His research
interests revolve around technology and representation methods in design including parametric design and television as design medium.