The News

The News - 6 minutes, stereo © 1984

Background

The News is a cut-up/montage of images of news readers from various television broadcast evening news shows. A companion piece to another early → ↑ → work, Ads, its manipulation of broadcast media content initiates the audiovisual interrogation continued in the Evaporated Music series.

Credits

Editing & sound score - Philip Brophy

1989

ARS ELECTRONICA - Linz

1985

Student Cultural Centre, Belgrade
SCANLIGHT - Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney

1984

FUTURFALL - Bondi Pavilion Theatre, Sydney

1983

Praxis, Fremantle

Overview

The News highlights the mechanics of presenting 'the news' by presenting no actual content. Faces and personae dressed in serious business attire earnest babble, tilting and nodding their heads - but we cannot hear anything they say. The selective editing process puts these ticks and mannerisms under a forensic light, amplifying the things one should be looking through or past in order to concentrate on the delivered 'news'. The work simulates the state of ignoring what is being said but paying obsessive attention to the theatricality of news presentation formats.

Expanses and blocks of pure black occupy much of the screen time. Evoking censorship and redaction, this blackness covers up and blocks out anything from the televisual frame except the presenter his/herself. In place, the isolated and cropped visual fragments highlight humanizing veneer of personality upon which broadcast news hangs its empathetic veracity.

The vocal noisescape of The News (constructed through musique concrète manipulation of the news presenters' recorded voices) is indecipherable, abstract, unintelligible. It returns the crafted editorialization of news content to a wall of babble and guttural expulsion.

Technical

Image

One episode was taped from each of the main commercial networks on Australian TV at the time - channels 7, 9 & 10. The images are of the news presenters themselves and the televisual environments they inhabit. The focus is on these televisual beings, so all text and other props detailing their sets (desks, etc,) are mostly removed. Sections of black replace all of the removed information, leaving the presenters in voids, alone with their visage.

The source material was taped onto U-Matic lo-band video tape and edited in a U-Matic edit suite at Preston Institute of Technology. The chroma levels have been bumped up to increase the video grain and colour of the reporters' flesh, hair and eyes. A basic vision mixer was used to perform live a variety of wipes, crops and repositionings.

Sound

All the audible sounds in The News are sourced from the audio-track of their broadcast reportage. These passages and fragments have then been processed through reel-to-reel tape manipulation, utilizing speed changes, extreme equalization, and spatialization.