A long time ago I followed my parents to the 1964 World’s Fair in New York and saw for the first time how a television and a phone (so what, say the teenagers who hang around my house) would eventually converge into a new communications appliance that At&T called a “picturephone.” That was big stuff, though, in those days and it cemented in me a keen curiousity about gadgets and technology. That was the era of space shots and moon landings, the introduction of color television, jet travel, push button phones, daisy wheel electric typewriters, central air conditioning, power windows, and six-lane concrete highways.
The other day Eric Daigh, a young multi-media producer and colleague raised in the new era of cell phones, the Internet, Ipods, and broadband showed me a couple of amazing videos of ballons bursting and a man dancing shot that were shot on a Phantom ultra high-speed, high definition video camera manufactured by Vision Research Inc. in Wayne, New Jersey. The camera was introduced earlier this year. Ultra high speed photography, of course, produces ultra slow motion images that are capable of completely changing how we view ordinary events, like water momentarily retaining the complex liquid structure of the rubber balloon that a fist vaporized.
The scientific applications for such technology are well-understood in materials design, defense, soil erosion research, engine performance, emissions studies — anything that requires careful evaluation of movement over time. But it’s keen to see how the technology is applied to art and other pure entertainments associated with seeing the same-old in extraordinary new dimensions.