it is with great satisfaction that i report the near-finish of my first semester of college with straight A's and an entirely more fulsome (and fascinating) aspiration- to become an electrical engineer.
its a very interesting experience, to be the person that i am, walking into this sort of world. electronics have fascinated me my whole life, but i was always frightened of it. and a scientific pursuit never occurred to me, in a million years. i had studied surveying for a brief time at a tech school, but the only other serious aspiration i ever pursued (that one would need a degree for) was french translation. art and the sheer act of creating always had a higher pull on me and always made it easy for me to just throw the conventional path aside and frankly i PREFERRED learning on my own. i always figured that i would just be an idiot savant for the rest of my life, an autodidact who learned in her own way, who pursued many paths but never strayed too far into the scientific realm.
so it is with great interest that i find out how INTERESTING and BIZARRE the world of technology and especially electronics is. i am delighted to learn that no one really KNOWS what current is, or why a transistor works. all engineers and scientists know is how current behaves. they know that a transistor can amplify. but they don't know why. they can only hypothesize and direct it.
and the fact that current is present everywhere, even within our bodies, can be somewhat tamed and observed reliably, does not diminish the weirdness of harnessing a mysterious force. and of course, the SOUNDS- the sounds are of prime importance. i could very well see focusing on sound exclusively, and the building of both sound and visual instruments has been on my mind for some time now. it is what pushed me into this field.
when i look at the trajectory, i realize that the BBC Radiophonic Workshop and to an even greater degree, Broadcast, had everything to do with this bend in my aesthetics. combining the pastoral, the spooky and the electronic into one really upended much of where i was before then. there was this since of wanting to live in the past that i have completely abandoned. there is this realization that the new does not have to leave behind the past, and can combine with a wholly psychedelic future. that really led to me embracing technology in a way that is almost childlike. the fact that i became married to my laptop since i started making films didn't hurt either. i realized that things were possible that my archaic aesthetics had never considered before. that, while i may have wanted to live in 1966, i couldn't have done nearly what i had accomplished artistically in those days that i could now. all of that led into discovering a treasure trove of electronic (NOT HOUSE, or TECHNO) music, and that led into wanting to build instruments, learning about circuit bending, and then signing up for an electronics certificate, and then really finding out what it means to be an engineer and work with truly mysterious, yet concrete forces.
in our lab one day in school, we made a two tone oscillator. it just brought it all home for me like a ton of bricks. hearing those tones emanating out of all those breadboards delighted me. i heard the silver apples and broadcast and stereolab in those tones. even watching the humble LED's light up when you wire something right makes me reel with delight. HERE is something that you can sink your teeth into. this isn't like parapsychology or the occult or literature or art. it isn't speculative. it isn't abstract. it is a mound of immutable laws wrapped in riddles. it is a toy that you can play with, a color you can paint with. it makes sound and it can make things light up. it can detect and spin and do what you tell it, when you speak its language. and its language is in resistors and ohm's law and potentiometers and schematics. its a SCIENCE, and science can be an art- but art cannot be a science. it can only be informed and shaped by science. art is all variables, all possibilities. if a circuit were purely art, it could not transmit its information. there is an exactitude, a sense of having to work on the Force's terms, which i find intoxicating. i have to be BENT into that shape. i can't just flow around it and "intuit" it. it demands study and everything done correctly. but when you do that, you can create something completely unique, and truly artistic.