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Artists engaging in toolmaking, especially in experimental media arts, allows artists to explore new ways of seeing the electronic image that is not based on industry tools. It opens up a dialog for questioning all tools and their relationship to what is possible. Community and sharing these possibilities, along with developing tools that include paradigms of modularity and performativity are key for new images and new ways of thinking to emerge.

Signal Culture Apps

Experimental Real-time Video Processing Software

The Signal Culture Apps give you access to custom professional video and new media software applications for producing real-time experimental media artworks. Great for artists, VJ's, designers, and hobbyists!


I joined the board of Signal Culture in 2016, to help develop these experimental video applications for real-time video processing. From 2016-present, Jason Bernagozzi and I have developed nine experimental media art applications. We work collaboratively on the code behind the main process/functionality of the application, and I develop the user interface and design. The Signal Culture applications have over ten thousand users worldwide and are in more than twenty university media art studios around the United States. Our applications provide a way of sharing the importance of artist-made tools and the principles and pedagogies that emerged from the Experimental Television Center and continues with Signal Cultures studios. These include modularity, performativity, and philosophical processes. Our applications are also a way to give back to our artist community and promote experimental media arts around the world.

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Signal Culture Modular Apps: Input Amplifier


The Input Amplifier is a free, scalable application designed to use the syphon/spout protocols to route multiple live or prerecorded video streams to any syphon/spout integrated application. This is the start of a complete redesign of the signal culture applications you see above. We are migrating to all new gl3 constructing the processes with shaders. We hope to complete the redesign Fall 2022.


Philosophical Tools

Philosophical Tools is a tutorial series that focuses on toolmaking, media art, and the histories/philosophies that entangle them.

My goal is to weave these elements together while I share with you how to create the processes in the node-based programming environment TouchDesigner.


Eric Souther & Laura McGough


Phosphortron is a video instrument that emulates the phosphor trails found in analog cathode ray tube (CRT) oscilloscopes and television monitors. The instrument uses a computer vision technique called frame difference, which compares the current frame versus the previous frame and analyzes change based on a threshold pixel by pixel. The trail duration function controls how long previous information stays on screen before fading away the simulated phosphors. Edge detection is utilized in conjunction with frame difference, to isolate and accentuate the outlines to loosen the raster image towards the simulated aesthetics of vector drawing.


In CRT monitors, a cathode-ray tube that contains one or more electron guns directs electron beams onto a phosphor-coated screen. The phosphors illuminate or glow when excited by the electron particles. In CRT oscilloscopes, like those used for radar or medical imaging, the illumination undergoes a slow decay and continues to glow long after the electrons have excited the phosphor coating. Conversely, in CRT television and videogame screens, the decay rate is much shorter, as images more quickly replace one another.


With Phosphortron, users can emulate a range of different responses. The decay rate can be exaggerated by increasing the trail rate, while the flood and smear that CRT monitors exhibited before the advent of shadow masks can be amplified by decreasing the line threshold. Phosphortron also contains Syphon & Spout integration which allows it to play well with other software including the Signal Culture apps and Lumen.

Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike CC BY-NC-SA

This license lets others remix, tweak, and build upon your work non-commercially, as long as they credit you and license their new creations under identical terms.


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