Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Institute, a Brief History

The North East Institute for Analog Studies goes into its 18th year.

Our Mission;
 Since the first shadow was cast and traced on the walls of a cave man has been drawn to the experience of projected images. Centuries of invention and experimentation have yielded a species of devices capable of creating magic with just shadows and sound.  It is our mission to ensure that each generation of artists is familiar with the luminous possibilities of these marvelous and beautiful image making machines. We are also committed to the ongoing discussion of the analog in regard to culture and technology. We embrace models for imagining the world that are fluid.  In order to further our mission, the Institute relocated to the basement of the Montserrat College of Art Hardie Building during September 2004. It is our hope that this move will mark the beginning of a new era for the Institute and it's program of sound and image events that exist truly as "Continuous and Ever-Changing".

 The media world has become a largely digital environment.  While The Institute regards this as just another expected development it further highlighted the importance of the work of the North East Institute for Analog Studies to define and interrogate  the realm of the analog. In order to maintain the high standard of resolution for which analog technology is known and to promote the truly open architecture of the beautiful machines themselves, it is more important than ever that the Northeast Institute for Analog Studies continue to move forward.

Some History
Since it's founding in 1990 By Ethan Berry with the help of Blyth Hazen the North East Institute for Analog Studies at Montserrat has been the resource for hundreds of experimental and innovative film, video and audio projects. At our original location the in the basement of Montserrat’s Dunham Road building, the Institute supported the creation of the early work of many well-known New England Artists and musicians. Anders Hagman and Gregg Porter began experimenting with the institutes recording equipment in 1990.  Also in 1990, Ed Dormody created the 6- minute classic video titled "It Was Gonna Be Cool" about a failed video project. This piece spawned the genre later visited by well-known artists Terry Gilliam, and Larz Van Trier, as well as students Peter Mack and Ned Dunn among others. Brian  Roff did his early audio recording there in 1993. Since that time these artists have performed and recorded under a number of names and configurations including Goop, Disappointed, Brian Roff and the Deer, Milkweed and The Estate Collective. Other Artists who have started at the institute are Robin Lore, and Katie Zapalla and the band SWAY Also in the 90's the Institute sponsored the first media events at Montserrat.  With the help of curator Joe Shepherd programs were presented in a variety of media including dance, martial arts, film video and performance art. In 1990 Choreographer Carol Anthony in collaboration with sculptor Beth Galston created a piece called "No Freedom" for the Montserrat Gallery. The super 8 filmmaker Luther Price first showed his film  "Green" at Montserrat. This film was later shown at numerous festivals and galleries including the Museum of Modern Art.

Through the 1990's the instituted grew and relocated to The Hardie building at Montserrat’s campus in Beverly as part of the New Montserrat Media Lab. It was during this time that the institute migrated to a hybrid approach to media creation. Using a combination of analog and digital technology students created long and short form works, which explored the nature of Sound and Image.  It was in our studio that the first broadcasts of Montserrat Radio were heard in 1997 broadcasting at 95.5 on the FM dial. The original DJ went on to do radio at Salem State College and in Portland Oregon. He also founded a Music Zine, which is still in publication

In  1998,1999 and 2000 the Institute produced a number of live video and audio feeds throughout the Hardie building including Montserrat’s Annual Art Auction. During this time students and artists continued to experiment with equipment that the Institute had acquired. From 2003 to the spring of 2005 the performance collective called “Drum Corpse” produced live multi-media events in the Main galley at the Hardie building and the Gallery at 301 Cabot Street.
Most recently the Brooklyn Based trio of artists Jesse Bercowitz, Mat Bua and Ward Shelly created a DVD based multi channel installation for the exhibit titled "Self Sufficient". This exhibit was curated by Barbara O'Brien at the Cambridge Arts Council Gallery in Cambridge Massachusetts.Other Institute fellows have created site-specific works and performance video pieces that have pushed the boundaries of esthetics and technology both forward and backward. Recent Institute projects include animations by Peter Mack, and media-based installations by Anthony Montuori and Tetsuya Kamimura as well as video work by sculptor Lillie Harden and by Alison Hornak
The Institute’s most recent project is a two-hour documentary titled; The First Parish Church: It’s History and Community. Produced at the Institute over a three-year period with Montserrat students serving as crew and editors.  This project received a grant from the Beverly Cultural Council. The final DVD will be completed in December 2008.This film will be shown on the Beverly cable station BevCam in the winter 2009. Other recent Institute Fellows include The Amsterdam Artists Jonas Olsson and Saskia Janssen who in collaboration with choreographer Sarah Slifer produced and exhibit and related events entitled EVERBODY HERE COMES FROM SOMEWHERE In early 2009. Katherine Romansky, Robert Toher, Eben Kling collaborated on this project as Institute Fellows.

The Northeast Institute has also instituted an ongoing project called “SOUNDSPACE” located in the front lobby of the Hardie building at Montserrat. SOUNDSPACE is a location for experiments in sound and the public realm.

Our Facility;
In addition to the state-of-the-art digital video editing suite, and 35 x35’ studio, the Institute has acquired an impressive amount of analog equipment including super 8 and 16 mm cameras and animation equipment, two classic three- gun video projectors, 4- track audio reel to reel and cassette decks, SVHS and three quarter inch video decks.16mm projectors, slide dissolve units and a variety of shadow based projection devices.
The Institute now has six 16mm cameras and seven Super-8 camaras.  This will allow us to offer workshops in both 16 and Super-8 production.

Ethan Berry
North East Institute for Analog Studies
Montserrat College of Art
23 Essex Street Beverly, MA
987-921-4242 x1238

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