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the phone: Hello! I said.—It’s beautiful! Let’s go to Holland!—and he invited me to work on a four-channel video and sound installation. I didn’t even really know what a four-channel video installation was, but I thought, well, he is one of my favourite video artists, it’s okay. He was working on a piece called «Crypt Craft» (1989), it was a room about five by four metres, and I kept trying to make a song for the room. He would say: No, you’ve got to think about the piece itself, which is about toxic histories and haunted memory, haunted rooms, and you’ve got to think about the room as a place, not as a place to put your song. And slowly, slowly, slowly I started to get it. I did four different pieces of music, each with some silence, each with a different speed, each not in perfect key or pitch to each other and suddenly I saw how they came to life in the room with these images; and that it was not about me or my song or him or his images, but it was about what met in the middle. And I continued to work with Tony for several years, among other video artists; I did about a hundred soundtracks for film, video and dance for different artists in the nineties. Tony is most famous for his projection works from the
last 10 years or so, which are often these dolls, and it’s usually a woman’s face projected on to a cloth doll. Many of the famous dolls are my wife, Tracy Leipold. She’s a performer, mostly known for working as an interpreter. Tony videotapes her very tight with her hair pulled back and then projects her back on to these dolls and she’s crying and screaming and simulates orgasms and is going crazy, speaking in tongues or various character voices.
I think it’s critical that the history of video is really connected to sound and in a successful video work, sound and image are very hard to differentiate, or perhaps better: it is hard to imagine the presence of one without the other. The soundtrack is deeply connected to the images, editing and all. When you look back on a lot of work and a lot of the people who created some of the first videos— especially with image processing, not so much the performance or conceptual people—there are a lot of people who are coming from electronic music. Nam June Paik was a musician before he was a video artist, Steina Vasulka