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Synkie’s Grandfather?: The Sandin Image Processor
Categories: Synkie

40 years ago – before I was even born – a lot of guys in the united states already did a lot of experimental stuff with video, and people like Nam June Paik, Bill Etra, Bill Hearn, Dave Jones, among many others, all built their own electronic analog video instruments.

While browsing the archives of the Experimental Television Center I stumbled on an instrument that really got my attention: The Sandin Image Processor

Built in the early seventies by Dan Sandin at the University of Illinois at Chicago, this instrument bears quite some resemblances to what I’m currently trying to do with the Synkie:

  • it’s a modular image processor completely controllable by control voltages
  • it strips the sync signal off from the input signal to be able to freely modify the video
  • every module is quite simple, but the instrument is much more powerful than the sum of its modules
  • and best of all: it’s open source

In fact, long before open source became a term, Dan Sandin wanted that people could freely copy his idea, and share the results, and together with Phil Morton he published all the plans under what he called the “Distribution Religion”

He said something like:

The Image Processor may be copied by individuals and not-for-profit institutions without charge, for-profit institutions will have to negotiate for permission to copy. I view my responsibility to the evolution of new consciousness higher than my responsibility to make profit; I think culture has to learn to use high-tek machines for personal aesthetic, religious, intuitive, comprehensive, exploratory growth. The development of machines like the Image Processor is part of this evolution. I am paid by the state, at least in part, to do and disseminate this information; so I do.

As I am sure you (who are you) understand, a work like developing and expanding the image Processor requires much money and time. The “U” does not have much money for evolutionary work and getting of grants is almost as much work as holding down a job. Therefore, I have the feeling that if considerable monies were to be made with a copy of the Image Processor, I would like some of it.

So, I am asking (not telling) that if considerable money were made by an individual with a copy of the Image Processor, or if a copy of the Image Processor were sold (to an individual or not-for-profit institution), I would like a 20% gross profit…! Things like $100 honorariums should be ignored.

Of course enforcing such a request is too difficult to be bothered with. But let it be known that I consider it to be morally binding.

Much Love.
Daniel J. Sandin

This looks even better on the original documentation, written on a typewriter:

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