baker Blinker's Weblog

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Podcast Special January 22, 2011

MJ: Welcome to a very special Arkiving Synchronicity, the Synchronicity Arkive podcast. This is your host, Arkiver. And today we’ve got a bit of a deviation from my normal podcast format. Instead of a full interview, I thought it might be fun to do a kind of bonus feature. Since episode 3 ended up being pretty taken up by me asking our long-time community member, Baker B, questions, I thought I’d give him an opportunity to ask me a few questions, and even open that up to include my first interviewee Karl Tune, as well as give Karl an opportunity to ask Baker any questions I might have missed. Plus, it gives me the chance to have

… DUEL OF THE COMPUTER VOICES!! [that last bit spoken in a “battle of the ages” kind of voice]
So… without further ado… let’s jump in. Baker, how about you first? Got a question for me or Karl?

B: Thanks you Mike. Since I went over Podcast 1 first in my review of the interviews so far in preparation for this experiment and jotted some notes down about that one, I’m going to direct my first question to Karl. First off, hi Karl! Glad that you decided to participate in this little experiment combining the energies of Podcast interviewees #1, 2, and 3 that the Arkiver has cleverly cooked up.

In my notes, I have that the synchronicity called Darkest City seems to strongly appeal to both of us, and could go a ways toward bringing our respective viewpoints on the art aspect of audiovisual synching more in line with each other. Why does this synchronicity appeal to you so much, and how would you, in general, compare it with Dark Side of the Rainbow and also perhaps what I’ve been calling 2001-Echoes? Also, would it upset you if others refused to call this an audiovisual synchronicity because of the rather extensive manipulation involved in comparison to these “Big Two,” as we’ve been calling them?

Karl: Stegokitty’s “Darkest City” is enjoyable on many levels. I like the music which resonated well with the mood of the movie, enhancing both. My ear did not become desensitized to the music because different artists were used. This made it a welcome surprise at every turn. Every song was played start to finish and the entire movie is covered with music. I find it a funny strange coincidence that both you and I are the two original reviewers of “Darkest City.” For these reasons, “Darkest City” is better than “Dark Side of the Rainbow” and “2001-Echoes”.

Stegokitty also considered “Darkest City” a s-y-n-c instead of a s-y-n-c-h. I think the definition of a s-y-n-c is something that is manipulated digitally by the participant and not the original artists. To me, playing movies to music is not synchronicity. Synchronicity is you playing music and magically finding that it happens to resonate with a show your buddy is watching on the telly in the next room. To me, synchronicity implies accidental harmony. I use the physical description of simultaneity to describe two unrelated events happening at the same time. In our case, we play music to unrelated movies. Unrelated because the music and movies are not prepackaged together or sold as parts of a greater whole. Our mind is what combines the different stimuli into one perceived event. And if music and movie synchronicity is brain candy, then our minds must be atomic power!

Baker B, do you hope that digital manipulation is the “Third Wave” you are waiting for? The “First Wave” being Pink Floyd found to match movies. And the “Second Wave” being the experiment to find any music to cover a movie. Would this “Third Wave” encompass your music tiling definition? Is this music manipulation to the point of becoming an entire movie sound track?

b: Thanks for this answer Karl. To comment on it a little before getting to another question myself, I must admit confusion over the difference between a s-y-n-c-h and a s-y-n-c the way it is being used here. I had the general impression that they were interchangeable terms for “synchronicity,” depending on your preference. I prefer the term s-y-n-c-h, usually, to differentiate it from the more common word of s-y-n-c, and so separating it a bit more from the word “synchronization” that both are informal versions of.

At any rate, I don’t necessarily see Darkest City as digital manipulation personally, but simply a series of cues that result in what I would, in my own terminology, call a tiling of a whole movie. The product does not necessarily have to be fixed, then, in a digital fashion, but could be re-created in real time, with some practice, if I’m understanding the construction correctly. In this way, it can be seen as a direct outgrowth of the Big 2 of Dark Side of the Rainbow and 2001-Echoes. Along the way in this growth, we can imagine works of 3 cues, then 6 cues, and so on till we get to the 19 or so used in Darkest City. Synchronicities along this line get progressively more difficult to create in real time, but this still does not necessarily rule out the possibility of doing so.

Moving on to your direct question to me, Karl, I don’t know what a third wave of synchers would be, but I can imagine a third *stage* of audiovisual synching. And, yeah, I suppose it could have to involve a fixed product, if not necessarily a digital product in my estimation. But the difference between a first stage and a second stage of audiovisual synchronicity is still so little understood that speculation about any such third stage or third tier would muddy the picture even more at this point, I feel. We must, as a whole, understand the similarities and also differences between works like Dark Side of the Rainbow and 2001-Echoes on the one hand and Darkest City and Shared Fantasia on the other before going further. One step at a time. That said, what might not change for me throughout any such stage, real or projected at this point, is the preserved identity of a certain number of cues to create the necessary manipulation.

Ok, Karl, to my next question then. I believe I would like to stay within the realm of Stegokitty synchronicities for this, turning this time to one called Contact-Echoes. This particular find uses exactly the same music as one of the Big Two in 2001-Echoes, or the long track “Echoes” from Pink Floyd’s studio album Meddle that immediately preceded Dark Side of the Moon. This would fit both our terms, seemingly, for a true, manipulated synchronicity, because there is a fixed and also well defined starting point: the beginning of “Echoes” is cued exactly with the start of the opening of a door in the movie Contact. And, to me, the result is comparable to 2001-Echoes, really, and I’ve seen quite a number of other reviews regarding this particular synchronicity emphasizing the quality of Contact-Echoes as well, with the overall consensus seeming to be that if it doesn’t equal 2001-Echoes it is not too far behind. Karl, I’m pretty sure I remember you also praising Contact-Echoes as well as Darkest City. Given that 2001-Echoes may contain the strongest evidence for intent on the part of Pink Floyd in creating such things, what does the presence of Contact-Echoes say, then, about the lack of such, keeping also in mind that, unlike 2001, the movie Contact comes (well) after the creation of “Echoes”?

I realize I’m asking you to perhaps play Devil’s Advocate here a bit, Karl, and I apologize in advance. But I think it’s still a fair question.

Karl: Yes, Stegokitty’s “Contact-Echoes” is also fabulous. If I remember correctly, it was legendary before I joined the synching community. I believe it is far superior to “2001-Echoes” which I neither really liked nor understood. But if “2001-Echoes” is intentional, it is possible that Pink Floyd’s “Echoes” is predisposed to match many movies. “Echoes” may potentially match another movie better than the original synchronization.

This may be because there are universal themes portrayed in art that can create a generalized agreement between music and movies. There are also reoccurring cultural themes in music and movies which enable them to resonate in a cultural reinforcement. And then, it is possible that the artist meant for them to match. I came into our hobby believing that musicians create sound tracks for movies and only pay attention to events that support my belief. On the other hand, you have found logical proof that both “Dark Side of the Rainbow” and “2001-Echoes” are non-intentional random matches. And since the musicians deny intent, it seems you could be right.

We had some pretty good arguments about intent for synchronicity. Each round getting better evidence for both sides than the previous round. I suppose we will never stop trying to define our world. Art is subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

B: Thanks for this answer Karl. Intent has certainly been one of the hot topics of our community down through the years.

Just for the record, I like both Contact-Echoes and 2001-Echoes a lot, and they seem to act as a balance to me. I’d give the nod to 2001-Echoes as the better synchronicity, just because it is an exact 1:1 match with a one of the great stretches — perhaps the greatest stretch — of psychedelic cinematography ever created for a wide release film, and, going along with this somewhat, because 2001 is a more important movie overall than Contact. 2001-Echoes is also historically more important to the audiovisual synchronicity field. But certainly Contact-Echoes makes for excellent entertainment.

Karl, I have maybe one more question to you before moving on to a couple for Mike. It seems that you came on the scene in, what was it, 2001, or around the time of Shared Fantasia, just as my own interest in at least the participatory aspect of synching was obviously waning. For this reason and perhaps others, we seemed to run in a little different circles in terms of gathering audiovisual synching friends and trying out various synchronicities. There’s obviously some overlap as well, as we’ve utilized a bit in talking about Stegokitty’s finds, but in general I was wondering if you could just give me and others a couple of highly impressive synchronicities that were only discovered after the demise of The Film/Album Synchronicity Board or so and perhaps are not even known to our little community in the main. Something that can rather easily be re-created in a home setting, like Dark Side of the Rainbow or 2001-Echoes. Or else talk about a syncher or two or three who discovers easily re-creatable synchronicities that perhaps people are missing out on and should be better known in your estimation. Or maybe someone who has even written about audiovisual synchronicities.

Karl: I recommend Leighton’s “Dark Side of the Crystal”, Jaydingo’s “Jaws Like Swimming”, Rachel2’s “The Fragile Ring”, and Marco’s “Apocalypse Now/The Wall” and “Night of the Living Dead/Dark Side of the Moon” revelations. All have one cue point and all are a straight play of the music album. Most of these are dark movies which I try to avoid. There are more good synchs out there. These are just the ones that come to mind.

B: Yeah, I’m not too much of a fan of darker movies either. Hopefully can try out some of the newer synchronicities you recommend soon, and in the meantime I certainly enjoy reading the posts of some of the people you mention that have stuck around for a while, like Leighton. She has a nice site up now advertising her own finds.

So I’m going to shift to Mike now for the second half of my questions. Karl, feel free to chip in where you wish, or ask additional questions. I know we’re having a bit of emailing problems, probably exacerbated by my use of the ancient home computer for part of my questions/replies. Maybe once we get that straightened out we can chat more after I finish with Mike.

So Mike… here’s my first question to you from my notes. You mention in your interview that for you synching spreads out beyond strict audio/video pairings into other forms, and that the concept of synchronicity you personally use is generally a lot broader and that’s what keeps you interested in running the Arkive for the community, rather than the ebb and flow of your own interest in specific audiovisual synching. I’m just paraphrasing what you said in your podcast here.

I’d like to give you an opening now to explain what you mean by these statements a bit more, if you wish.

MJ: Glad to jump in here, Baker. It’s actually a bit of a synchronicity that you’d ask that question not too long after asking Karl about intent. I guess as a lead in to answering your question about my conception of synchronicity, I’d start with the intent question, that I always fell on the side of non-intent, that there was something “else” going on there, something a little in the “psychic phenomena” sphere almost. There’s a line in one of my favorite all-time shows, Babylon 5 that put it best. That line goes something like, the universe is aware, on a level we don’t yet understand. Like I told Karl, I’m very into the idea of emergent phenomena, and I guess I think of the universe as being emergently intelligent. I kind of regard the phenomena of synchronicity as “winks from the universe”, prodding us to a better understanding of that awareness.

So, when things “just line up” for me, I usually think of that as the universe telling me I should pay more attention. Again, I mentioned to Karl in our interview, that when I first read some Robert Anton Wilson (given to me by a friend) and he mentioned liking 2001, specifically the end of 2001, to me that was like the universe giving me a signal to pay more attention to what that guy was saying.

I guess that’s how the whole philosophical aspect of synchronicity ties into my larger “philosophy of life.” I’ve learned to kind of pay attention for those winks, and when things line up, pay more attention. I think that kind of covers the specifics… or is still a little unclear?

B: No, that’s pretty clear, and it resonates a lot with my own philosophy as well.

We both have mentioned this possible “psychic” aspect of audiovisual synching in our interviews, and, if I’m reading this right, you’d probably connect it more with what I call 2001-Echoes and what you call “Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite”, and I’d connect it more with Dark Side of the Rainbow, an interesting split of emphasis between the Big Two for us. Looking more from your side — since this is a question to you — I want, then, to go back to this ending of 2001, which is the same, of course, as the ending to 2001-Echoes. You tie the transformation of Dave Bowman into a star child here, in your interview, to the emergence of a more holistic way of thinking, and also the mending of the fences between what can be seen, in a more linear and limited way, the seemingly unresolvable present dichotomy in our society of religion verses science. This also speaks to me in a strong fashion, and I wonder if you could elaborate on this a bit as well?

And I’ll also tack this on here: I certainly couldn’t miss your statement about intelligences trying to uplift us from the future in this model actually being the same as more highly evolved versions of *ourselves* in the future. You mention coming across this idea from other directions, and I also wonder if you could talk about these other sources more, and just this fascinating hypothesis in general? Personally, I don’t find the basic idea crazy at all.

MJ: On psychic phenomena, I don’t know that I totally buy the concept… but at the same time, it’s like there is something there. To relate it back to synching, it’s not really so much Dark Side of the Moon being a “replacement soundtrack” for Oz, note for note perfect…. but it’s more than coincidence too. So, it really does relate back to the intent debate a lot. Depending on your mindset, maybe you see great intent… but like I kept hitting in my original talk with Karl, I guess there’s just something about emergent stuff that sparks my imagination. I like that kind of thing.

As to why I tend more to fixate on 2001/JaBtI, like I told Karl, that was my first synch, and the one that resonates more closely with my imagination. Occupational hazard of being a sci-fi geek, I guess. The concept of uplift is one I find fascinating and gets to that whole “meaning of life” thing that I think science has historically done a bad job with. I think of the idea of uplift as a celebration of intelligence, that basically says we (meaning those who are conscious) should do whatever we can to spread intelligence, or raise up intelligence. That seems to me to be a very noble goal. But the question of what started uplift, what was the first, then, is a pretty deep, unanswered question. I like unanswered questions, and that’s kind of where my rather negative view of organized religion comes from, that many (not all, but most) of them seem to claim to have “all the answers.” I guess when I talk about holistically resolving that dichotomy, I mean more capturing the good, “honest” spiritual longings, hopes, dreams, that religion often represents for people, with the “unanswered questions” aspect of science.

And I have to admit, some fondness for the “strange loop” that would be future intelligences raising us up. I can’t recall quite where I’ve seen that idea iterated completely, but it was hinted at heavily in Charlie Stross’ Singularity Sky and Iron Sunrise books. That’s also I guess what I find so exciting about technology in general. I think we’ve only just begun there…

Karl: Baker does this psychic awareness you mention tie into what Arkiver calls cosmic awareness, by critical examination of the big picture? Does this link to the Exegesis you mention in your interview with Arkiver?

B: Like Mike, I’m not sure how far I’d go into the psychic aspect either. I do dig the idea that emergent concepts might support the idea of future affecting past. A lot of Philip Dick’s writings deal with paradoxes of time and space, as well as true verses mock realities. And, toward the end of his life, Dick became something of a character within one of his books, or, better, every protagonist of every one of his books, an archetype then. The Exegesis can be seen as a kind of notebook of ideas for The Story of His Life, where Dick and his writing become as one.

I think this search can also be tied into the glass bead game, as mentioned in my interview, because he is working with and cataloging various resonations between stuff (characters, settings, plot) in his own writing and also comparing all this with outside information. Dick’s wealth of knowledge on the subjects of philosophy, religion, and science inform the work throughout.

I think I have one more question for Mike, but, Karl, I’ll ask you first if you have any additional questions on any subject you don’t think we’ve adequately covered? Then, if you both are game, it could be time to wrap the experiment up, at least for my part. It’s been fun and interesting for sure, and I think I especially dug the private dialog going on behind the scene. There’s a depth to this particular experiment unseen and just below the surface.

Karl: I have no additional questions on that. Thanks for your answers.

B: No Problem Karl. So Mike, one last question.

In audiovisual synchronicity my viewpoint, as well as a number of others that visit your site on a regular basis, is from that of the artist. In terms of copyright issues, basically the interest extends to what we as artists can get away with. I understand enough about copyright to see that there’s not really much hope of developing the more manipulated side of the art, at least in a public way. And that’s a real shame, because I think that could be the only way it will develop as a whole in the long run. So I — again like a number of others, especially among the older crowd — have mainly turned away from audiovisual synchronicity as an ongoing hobby in favor of other, “safer” creative outputs, or those that at least have a chance of being experienced by others in a larger way.

I know that copyright is a pet topic for you. Since it seems you must have a set of archive worthy creative products to apply this knowledge to in the broader picture — else it is like a plant without roots — how do you see the Synchronicity Arkive, despite the obvious limitations, keeping the art aspect fresh and vital? Do you also see this as basically limited to one cue phenomena such as Dark Side of the Rainbow and 2001-Echoes? And would you consider drawing in other at least slightly less illegal arts to perhaps provide more a permanent foundation for the Arkive?

MJ: Well, I think that the problems that are inherent in our current copyright system are becoming more and more apparent, to more and more people, everyday. And as those problems gain that visibility, I think it becomes much more likely that something is going to have to change. I’ve got in mind to do something more, copyright-related, the Arkive, about what it means and what I think the issues are… but as far as the illegal art aspect… I do think that does have a place within the Arkive to a certain extent and certainly within the community. Despite what the entertainment industry may want, it’s still not illegal to link to things, and at minimum, I’d continue to provide both a forum and postings of my own that do that. It does become a significant limitation though as those links “break,” in keeping things on the Arkive relevant and clear, because it destroys the archiving of that information. I don’t have a good answer for that…

As far as keeping the Arkive fresh and vital, I have to say, my biggest lesson has been that I need to participate as much as possible myself, in order to keep things going, in addition to relying on the participation of the community. I’m certainly open to any additional ideas anyone has about how to keep the Arkive an interesting place to visit, and if there are other arts that would fit well, I’d be open to doing that, certainly. There’s a mechanics question there about how to integrate them, perhaps, but that should be easy enough to work out. For myself, I mean to do more with my little Arkiver’s Reflections “blog,” which does seem to allow at least a certain amount of flexibility as far as bringing in other topics. Sometimes it might be a stretch perhaps…. but I guess I’d try as much as possible to keep the Arkive flexible and dynamic.

There are some limitations and problems with my past choices on the Arkive that go along with that, and it may take some revising and shifting again to really get the site into a more useable form. Certainly one of the biggest criticisms I’ve heard lately is that the database runs the risk of becoming a “dumping ground” for each and every idea, with no real way to separate the “wheat from the chaff.” But I think most of those types of issues can be worked around, given enough time. And time does seem to be everyone’s real limiting factor. It certainly is for me. If I ever could get the Arkive to pay for itself, or even make a profit, the balance there might shift to me doing more with it… I have to admit, some fondness for the idea of just “doing my own thing,” that having a successful, I mean really successful, like on the level of BoingBoing, site represents. Maybe some day. And if not, well, I mean to continue with the Arkive anyway, because it’s been a lot of fun for me, despite my waxing/waning interests in a/v synching specifically. I think enough of my side interests are complementary to the synching community that even at my lowest interest points for synching, I still have something to offer the community as webmaster of the Arkive…

B: Yes, it will surely be interesting to see how all this will play out in years to come, and if other waves of interest will form. It is my great desire that the Synchronicity Arkive will continue forward. I wish you the best of luck in this and other endeavors. Luck to you too Karl.

This is a kind of bonus question unless either of you have more comments or questions back to me. Take a look, if you will, at the video I provide a link to below and tell me if you would call it an audiovisual synchronicity or something else?


B: I think I’m done unless anyone else has any ideas. Thanks for those last comments. The Robocop/Neo mashup was quite funny. I’ll definitely be thinking about both of your comments on the Alice-White Rabbit video. baker

K:How about a Dave Bowman (Mark) and HAL9000 (Karl) reinactment with our computer voices?

B: Open the pod bay doors Karl.
Karl: I cannot do that Baker
B: Whats the problem?
Karl: You know the problem as wall as I do, Baker.
B: Damn copyright laws!}



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