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Posts by Francis Dougherty

Time Machine: Interstitial Moment, Real News for Time Travelers

With all of my past allusions to time travel, the fictional trope, I thought it was time that I accounted for my flippancy with some hard time travel news.Read More ›

Time Machine: Redacted by Time

One of my colleagues, speaking of our collection of unique recordings at the Library for the Performing Arts, has said that, “all of our recordings are made by professionals, but recording was not their profession.” These recordists are authors, dancers, actors, musicians, vocalists, and choreographers to name a few. What they share is a need to create a record that can document works that take place in time and space.Read More ›

Time Machine: Interstitial Moment, VHS vs. Communism

The return of Daylight Saving Time means that we have all just experienced a temporal displacement. Let’s set Time Machine back by a small increment and briefly revisit the VHS format.Read More ›

Time Machine: Cloverleaf and Helix, The Early Years

My studio is an interchange where I coax content from the past, sometimes, the content itself is looking back to a more distant past, creating a cloverleaf-like feedback loop. The Early Years, *MGZIC 9-950, is one of the current projects that has come to mind in the cloverleaf.Read More ›

Time Machine: Concatenations in Time Travel, VHS a cc: to the Future

I am remembering our old purchase order form, a multi copy (ten copies press firmly) missive to Ruth, our beloved curmudgeon in Purchasing (her voicemail began with a sigh). Each copy was fainter and less readable than its predecessor. I am thinking about VHS, a format that succeeded by virtue of its worst quality, the ability to record at a slower speed (up to six hours on a T-120 cassette). What better way for balletomanes to compile every dance performance ever broadcast on two 

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Time Machine: Problematic Travel with U-matic

U-matic was once the industry's serviceable vehicle. Today it could take you back 40 years or more. If you intend to take a ride, you will have to accept a few compromises, as with any antique vehicle maintenance and parts are always a concern. The most charming artifact of the older black and white recordings is lag or ghosting in the camera imaging tube in which people appear to leave their bodies and follow themselves about, making every solo an eerie duet. 

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Time Machine: Personal 8 mm Film and Video by Jerome Robbins

I have an inordinate love of 8 mm film. Not just because of its familiar 4:3 TV aspect ratio that so many of us were raised on, but because it was the first medium many of us used for time travel. The persistent click of the pull down claw is a rhythm from memory that can lull us into the past. Occasionally, I feel that I have been the subject of an archival Ludovico Technique and have watched so many pas des deux that when ordinary non-dance material offers me 

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Time Machine: Beauty and the Interval Between

Motion pictures are really a form of compressing time. A shutter opens and closes capturing still images. We are complicit in this magical deceit extrapolating what happened in the interval between. This brief hand colored black and white Edison film in which Annabelle Whitford Moore dances a la trilby or barefoot is my favorite moving image in the library's collection; it is both mechanical and handmade. In this simple embellishment of a magical invention the changing colors hover amorphously over their intended areas 

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Time Machine: Pioneering Efforts in Time Shifting

Portable video, the development of machines smaller than a kitchen range and affordable on an institutional if not a personal scale, ignited a revolution in consumer and institutional video. Before the ubiquitous half inch EIAJ open reel VTR, ca.1970, early adopters employed non standard VTRs such as the Sony CV skip field recorder, circa 1965. André

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The Time Machine of Moving Image Collections

Time Machine: if you could see what I have seen with these eyes.

Time travel is possible within the narrow bounds of my studio. It is remarkable that this can be accomplished with such primitive accessories. Wires and cables are sometimes strewn about reminding me of the Chris Marker film La Jetée. I have had the privilege of moving through time with many artists, through their early choreographies and refining rehearsals. I have watched the curtain open on their stage 

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