The Wobbulator

16 Nov The Wobbulator

I was finally able to cobble together a video for Nam June Paik’s Wobbulator. It was one of my favorite pieces of equipment during my residency at the Experimental Television Center, and I was confused about why there wasn’t a lot of information out there about it on the web. There are a few grainy youtube videos but they don’t show a lot of the exterior of the device or any of the real time manipulations, so I wanted to make a little educational video. Most of the Wobbulator’s source images in this video were either from a camera pointed out a window, or just from straight video feedback.

For a lot more information, check out the Experimental Television Center’s website in their Video History Project area. There are tons of great articles on early analog video tools and techniques, but in particular there is a very detailed article on the wobbulator. Just to give you some more info, here is the first paragraph of the article on the device:

A raster manipulation unit or ‘wobbulator’ is a prepared television which permits a wide variety of treatments to be performed on video images; this is accomplished by the addition of extra yokes to a conventional black and white receiver and by the application of signals derived from audio or function generators on the yokes. The unit is a receiver modified for monitor capability; all of the distortions can thus be performed either on broadcast signals or, when the unit is used as a monitor, on images from a live or prerecorded source. Although the image manipulations cannot be recorded directly, they can be recorded by using an optical interface. The patterns displayed on the unit are rescanned; a camera is pointed directly at the picture tube surface and scans the display. The video signal from this rescan camera is then input to a videotape recorder for immediate recording or to a processing system for further image treatment. The notion of prepared television has been investigated by a number of video artists and engineers; this particular set of modifications was popularized by Nam June Paik.

I also made a quick music video with the wobbulator as a key component…check it out here

For more on my experience at the experimental television center check out a few of these links
[1] [2] [3] [4]

This video is now featured on Rhizome, Create Digital Motion, Hack a day, Makezine, Wired and Notcot among others

8 Comments
  • Tweets that mention Blair Neal - Visualist -- Topsy.com
    Posted at 01:19h, 17 November Reply

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by honaya, Kyle McDonald. Kyle McDonald said: nam june paik's wobbulator/raster manipulation unit/crt hack finally in hd http://j.mp/ahLXz0 really nice mini-documentary […]

  • CRT art: Wobbulator - Hack a Day
    Posted at 13:31h, 17 November Reply

    […] The Wobbulator is a black and white CRT television that has additional hardware to manipulate the electrons as they bombard the phosphor layer of the screen. It was created by [June Paik] and you can find it at The Experimental Television Center. [Blair Neal] took some time to share the background information and some video on this interesting device. […]

  • Der Wobbulator – Kunst mit der guten alten “Röhre” | Neoblogismus
    Posted at 16:05h, 17 November Reply

    […] Via Hack a Day bin ich auf folgendes cooles Video gestoßen. Es ist ein kurzes Demovideo über den sogenannten “Wobbulator”, zusammengestellt vom amerikanischen Videokünstler Blair Neal. […]

  • Rob in Belfast
    Posted at 21:25h, 17 November Reply

    This is some freaky stuff.

    Very reminiscent of classic 50’s sci-fi.

    Strangely compelling and mesmeric.

    I love it.

    Thank you for raising awareness of this.

    I built an audio wobbulator back in the 90’s for a uni project.

    Loved the music also.

  • Das Kraftfuttermischwerk » Neuauflage eines 40 Jahre alten TV-Hacks: The Wobbulator
    Posted at 16:11h, 18 November Reply

    […] Jahre später einfach noch mal auferlegt. Eine Quasi-Coverversion. Und der Name! Wobbulator. A short demo video on the Wobbulator. […]

  • wsst1000
    Posted at 19:35h, 19 November Reply

    Beautiful images, beautiful music, beautiful explanation, beautiful HD, beautiful experience of watching the video.

  • The Wobbulator | 3rd Project
    Posted at 10:10h, 04 January Reply

    […] [read more here – found here] […]

  • Wobbulator – Nam June Paik « Bite This
    Posted at 02:03h, 24 November Reply

    […] Nam June Paik at Wikipedia Via: Blair Neal […]

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