Video Premiere: ‘Transcend II’ by T. Gowdy, on consuming looping experiences
We are premiering a video track by Canadian audiovisual artist and music producer T. Gowdy. The video for the track Transcend II of his recently published album Miracles (Constellation, 2022) explores how future spaces could feel in the way they would magnetize our attention, leaving our desire isolated from itself while leading us towards a sense of euphoric compulsion to consume looping experiences.
Starting his career as a freelance producer and sound engineer, T. Gowdy’s practice interrogates the use of sound feedback to augment interactivity in sound environments, as well as the deconstruction and re-synthesis of urban sonic environments with album productions and also audiovisual shows and installations.
Miracles is his second full-length for Constellation. The album draws on source materials originally performed in 2018 for an unreleased audio/visual project based around surveillance footage—a precursor to video-capped, monitor-based horizons that soon took on new meanings. Re-immersing himself in those recordings, Gowdy disassembles and deploys them as raw source material for further experiments with vactrols, noise gates and analogue-to-digital triggering and aliasing, the original recordings juxtaposed anew amidst their successive textural and rhythmic treatments. Gowdy keeps this re-composition process stripped down, elemental and purposive, guided by an ascetic Aufhebung: synthesis as sublation—subjecting a temporal material/theme to analysis and transformation, reintegrating to form a whole that overcomes what it preserves without erasure, reshaping and intrinsically carrying its origins forward.
The music video uses footage derived from a collaboration in 2019 with T. Gowdy’s late dear friend and light artist, Laura Buckley, a person who Gowdy says has had, has and will have a continued influence on his work. This video is dedicated to Laura. In it, we see some silver glossy drone-like structures that also look from a past aviation era, scouting tv screens where surveillance footage is subtly masked with pale blurry pastel colours. Gowdy, who directed this video himself, shares that aesthetically, he’s drawn to Buckley’s work, particularly Fata Morgana.
Conceptually, Gowdy continues, there is also an influence from Bruce Nauman‘s Mapping the Studio I (Fat Chance John Cage) in its use of chance as part of the creation process. The video material used in Transcend II chose him, he also shares. It was some pre-COVID work that found itself shelved. The material was later subjected to transformation in 2022. This process of creating this video was very similar to the process of creating the album Miracles in that material was subjected to synthesis as sublation—”subjecting a temporal material/theme to analysis and transformation, reintegrating to form a whole that overcomes what it preserves without erasure, reshaping and intrinsically carrying its origins forward”. In this way, the music is connected to the video.
Regarding looping experiences and desire, which the video also points out, Gowdy clarifies that this is meant perhaps more from a consumer point of view in the sense that he, for example, has a desire to be connected through experience. However, at some point, the experience takes over as the main event, and my desire persists unmet, unconsciously, craving for the experience to be repeated in some way. I, therefore, continue to consume an experience and, in the process, become alienated from myself and the experience. Nevertheless, I see a potential for future spaces to construct themselves around this ritual, which is why perhaps I constructed the screens to look omnipresent.