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If You Gave LSD to a Computer, It Would Look Like This Music Video

Filmmaker Joshua Rogers fashioned a glitchy, virtual reality-esque computer fantasia.
December 15, 2014, 7:50pm

What exactly would a computer see on LSD? That's the question posed by experimental filmmaker Joshua Rogers in his latest music video for electronic duo Stage Hands' single "The Populating of Empty Space."

Rogers fashioned a glitchy, virtual reality-esque computer fantasia. When combined with Stage Hands' procession of percolating electronic sounds and rhythms, Rogers's warped visuals almost manage to simulate both LSD's synesthesia effect and its blurred, hyper-colored, and pattern-rich visuals.


Rogers typically roots around thrift stores and flea markets for video samples from long lost VHS tapes, 8mm films, and DVDs. The same was true for "The Populating of Empty Space, for which Rogers excavated a variety of found visual material, then edited it for time and content.

"I run the edited video through a daisy chain of 8 VHS players/recorders to give it a real vintage feel, if the footage wasn't already corrupt by that point," Rogers told me. "I then take the 'wonked' video and run it through my Tachyons+ vortex decoder switcher and Tachyons+ fun 21 analog video switching boxes created by Logan Owlbeemoth in order to effect the v-hold, saturation, etc."

After running the visuals through the Tachyons+ video synthesizers, Rogers sent the signal into an old 80s Sima Video Ed/It mixer to "sweeten the signal," then fed the results into his video camera. Next, he dropped the finished video into Final Cut for tweaking to make the visuals feel, as Rogers put it, like "glitchy lost Amiga and Commodore 64 graphics scene-scapes and story lines."

While it's pretty absurd to think of computers doing acid, if artificial intelligence were to become sentient in the future, and able to experience something like Robin Arnott's kaleidoscopic meditation game SoundSelf, then perhaps computers will indeed trip one day. Then again, what is the human mind if not a complex, sentient computer with the ability to fall down the psychedelic rabbit hole?

Stage Hands will release their self-titled debut album on February 10, 205 via the Johnstown, PA art collective My Idea of Fun. See more of Rogers experimental videos on his Vimeo page.