Herschel's Feedback 

Tim Gruchy and Stephen Jones


1976 & 2023



Live mixed in one continuous studio take in 1976 Brisbane Tim Gruchy & Stephen Jones with Vanessa Black & John Bird Brisbane 1976 Originally to Terry Riley : A Rainbow in Curved Air. New Soundtracks : Tim Gruchy 2022 Full length version 32:05 Plus in four parts 7:02/3:28/8:06/6:21 with different soundtracks






Herschel's Feedback     : Tim Gruchy and Stephen Jones

In 1975 straight out of high school and having just moved to Brisbane I began my now lifelong interest in working creatively with video, especially the live mix. At the time my sister Jane was co-director of the Brisbane Community Video Access Centre. In the Bjelke Peterson police state era most of the activity there was politically focused, but I became very inspired and was fortunate to be mentored by Stephen Jones who introduced me to the video art of the day, contemporary classical music and much else. The student union at QIT where I was studying had a suite of available video hardware as did the architecture/music department at Qld Uni where Stephen was working. Thus across these three axis a nascent practice was born. The EIAJ-1 format was based on a 30 minute reel of 1/2 inch black and white video determining a maximum continuous record time of approx 32 mins. This first generation of video technology allowed for mixing between synced camera sources but not a camera and tape source. The easiest way to introduce an image was to point a camera at a print. In this instance a picture of Sir John Herschel. Regarded as the person who first coined the word photography, invented the cynotype, counting Charles Babbage as a friend, he was a suitable subject. Pointing cameras at monitors creating feedback which was something everyone thought they had discovered, that could be extended into complex hybrid feedback loops and the addition of SEGs (special effects generators) allowed mixing, keying and wipes. This 32 minute mix was done in a studio at Qld Uni by myself and Stephen in 1976 with the help of Vanessa Black and John Bird. Originally live mixed in one take to Terry Riley’s A Rainbow in Curved Air I did a new soundtrack by way of an ode to Riley in 2022 Stephen did the meticulous job of digitising the original material and I have put it through and AI enhancement process to slightly sharpen and up-res the vision. It stands as a testament to some of the early creative experimentation with video in Australia. Seeing it for the first time since it was made in 2022 I was thrilled that it holds the seeds to my deep engagement with live mixing and also the use of hands to conduct, in this instance to seed the feedback.

Photography by Tim Gruchy